Wow! Did I learn a lot from the kids today. I had 6 middle school boys eager to try out minecraft on the school machines and test our server. They had lots of questions, most of which they answered on their own. I brought the students into the computer lab and explained that they were going to test minecraft edu on our school machines. I was afraid once I mentioned edu, they would lose interest, but they did not. Not knowing how much experience they had, I started them out on Tutorial World. They didn't need it. They were crafting and building without much help and they were eagerly helping each other. At the end of our time, I asked them what we should do with minecraft that would be educational and require them to work together. They immediately mentioned the mods. There were several ideas, but one seemed to create a lot of conversation. They want to create a sort of storm chaser minecraft using the tornado mod and the car mod. Oh yes, and they can teach others about tornadoes while they are at it. Even though I am not sure how they are going to do this, I feel certain, they will bring me up to speed.
The computers worked great. The kids were running around the tutorial world as fast as they could and the computer kept up. The computers did not freeze up and when I teleported all of them back to build, it was fast. I don't think we will have any trouble with the computers.
So, now I need to get up to speed on the tornado mod as well as other mods and see what the kids can do. I think these kids will do a great job. Next week we will include a few more students and so we will have a discussion about the mods to see if the other student are in agreement creating a storm chasing minecraft. We may even have time to create other worlds. Since there will be more students, we will begin with a Minecraft Charter, our social contract for behavior in minecraft.
My greatest fear starting out today was that students would be more interested in doing their own thing in minecraft and would not be helpful to each other. My other fear was that I wasn't going to like this. I am having as much fun as the kids are. I can't wait to meet again next week. Next week I will have about fifteen students. We will see how that goes.