“Mrs. Scannell, are you coming to computers today?”
“Please, please, come with us!”
“You can join our group again!”
“Will you please!”
Something very exciting is going on in computers and yours truly is invited.
Yup, Minecraft. And if you have spent any time at all with kids in the last few years, you understand their excitement. What you may not understand is Minecraft EDU. Educators can set up worlds for kids to build in, together! I attended a training day but it’s really the kids who are teaching me. I join them on Tuesdays in their computer class whenever I can, and there is a lot going on!
“So, what are we doing today?” I asked. Last time I was here we were creating the Hogwarts Express. Other teams were building Diagon Alley and the castle. Yes, my class had chosen to create Harry Potter’s world. They have a special affinity for everything Harry because, well, I have a special affinity for everything Harry! It’s the book I begin the year with, literally on the first day of school, and Harry, his friends, and his foes, remain important members of my class for the whole year. Actually, I would venture to say that Harry just stays with the children, the same way he stays with me. Anyway on this particular day,
“We finished the Hogwarts Express, now we are making the Quidditch field,” my group told me.
“Oh good, so I don’t have to light any more lamps,” I teased them.
“No, and be careful not to blow up anything we already built!” they reminded me.
“Ok,” I said, “I’ll check with you before I do anything.”
Well, I caught on quickly thanks to their excellent tutelage, and the Quidditch field slowly but surely began to look like…something pretty awesome. But the other awesome thing was what was going on all around the room. I could hear each small group planning, checking in with each other, helping each other, “Mike, what are you doing in that hole, here let me help you!” Pretty funny and really cool.
But the coolest thing was, they wanted ME there. It reminded me of being a very little girl and going to my grandparents’ house with my parents so they could play bridge. My brother and I had tons of fun things to do while we were there but the one thing we waited for was for our mom to be the ‘dummy’ in the game which meant she could play with us. Now, my mom was always with us, it wasn’t like we were deprived of her attention, but there was something different about those evenings. Perhaps it was because we could actually lure her out of her adult world and into our world. Whatever it was, I think it is the same thing here during computer class. I am with my students all day long but during computer class, during Minecraft, they can lure me into their world, on their terms, and it is