Monday, April 25, 2016

Students Crafting Their Learning

I finally found the time to reflect about the excitement and learning with the students on MinecraftEdu. The Ottawa Catholic School Board Learning Technology is piloting few licences of MinecraftEdu for next year and thanks for giving me the chance to to be part of the pilot project and it has been a learning journey with the students. Thanks to Learning Technology technician Matthew Murphy for his guidance with the set up.

In the past the students applied Minecraft to Social Studies on a classroom Minecraft account that I have purchased. They built a museum of  aboriginal peoples' adaptations to the environment.

It  has been a learning process that the students have embraced from the Integrative Thinking model to the Designing Thinking process for the mission to Mars.

Our inquiry began with the Integrative Thinking process from I-Think Rotman School of the opposing models of colonizing or not colonizing Mars and Venus. This year the students embraced the Integrative Thinking process, the causal model and the Prop Pro models that enabled them to dive into complex issues and tensions that enriched and embraced the students learning skills. Through the Integrative Thinking process, the students interact to become creators of their own thoughts by collectively building ways of understanding.

The students were provoked with so many current events about space from NASA daily news, SpaceX achievements to Ted Talks about colonizing planets, Learning from Chris Hadfield videos and of course the ISS missions.

Throughout the process the students unpacked self lead inquiries about the planets and space as well as looking at multiple stakeholders for colonizing from citizens, scientists and governments.

The students began by defining the compositions of the planet through the Pro Pro Model of colonizing or not colonizing Mars and Venus:

The students continued to persevere, problem solve and build knowledge by creating new ideas and articulating the models by focusing on the perspectives of citizens scientists and governments. Many students continued during recess by further thinking and problem solving their inquiries. 

This video is from a Periscope live broadcasting

The Students reflected on the models by thinking about the benefits that are connected to colonizing and not colonizing the planets and described those connections. 

The students came to the understanding that economic growth and natural resources are always key for decision making in  colonising both worlds. Beginning a new world on the planets, where all countries agreed on the growth and development with no historical confrontations. The students proceeded by designing and imagining what the colonies would resemble on Venus and Mars.


During the process the students continued reflecting on the competencies and certain dimensions.



Critical Thinking

From the Integrative Thinking we moved on to the Design Thinking process on MinecraftEdu  imagining and creating the structures of Mars by keeping in mind the conditions on the planet.

Again throughout the designing, creating  and planning process of Minecraft the students reflected on the skills that were being applied and acquired during the process.

We used free trial of Camtasia for students to capture their learning to explain how and the choice of blocks that they have used. This is an English version of a house structure on Mars.

Learning is not about teaching, it is about acquiring skills while students are experiencing and constructing their process of building knowledge, problem solving, creating and iterating ideas to design models in which they take full ownership of thinking and creating.

When students are crafting their learning it is not the learning of facts it is training each other to think through tensions of cognitive complexity.

Some questions to reflect on when students are crafting their learning:

How, as an educator am I giving them the chance to interact and develop skills and become the expertize of their own learning?

We are still looking for a professional feedback about our structures. I am hoping to contact CSA for feedback or if you know of anyone please let us know.

We found an astronomer through Virtual Research On Call to meet with students on-line and give feedback about the structures on Mars. Thanks to Ms. Pauline Barmby for taking the time and meeting with most of the groups. Each group was able to share, explain and take advice regarding the structures for colonisations in relation to Mars conditions.

A student's reflection about the feedback of the structure on Mars.