Minecraft: Education edition

In case you’ve been living under a very square pixelated rock, Minecraft is a super popular game amongst the young ones.

Many libraries have utilised this game in their makerspaces, and now the company has announced the Minecraft Education edition.

The game that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem-solving is pretty awesome, and I am a keen supporter of gamification in schools and libraries, so I am very excited to see this expanded version.

The classroom version will include a camera that allows students to create portfolios, chalkboards for instructions, starer worlds, and in-game characters who exist only to help players out. They’ll also offer teachers lessons in how to get the most out of Minecraft’s teaching opportunities. [states Vocativ]

I wish I was still a student so I could learn by play using Minecraft, instead of the big heavy old textbooks I had!!

If you would like to know more about gamification in libraries and education, a division of the American Library Association has a nice summary article to read.

More specifically, the American Association of Law Libraries has published an article about the rewards and risks of gamification.

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George D. Kuh – ‘What matters to student success: the promise of high impact practices’

George D. Kuh – ‘What matters to student success: the promise of high impact practices’

This was a spectacular and inspirational talk. Dr Kuh was engaging and very entertaining, an expert in this field – it was a fabulous opportunity to learn from him.

He began by outlining that we want students to do/our major tasks as educators:

  • reflect (think about their thinking)
  • apply (transfer and use what they have learned in novel situations) and
  • integrate (connect relevance of their courses, with activities outside of class, their life etc).

The idea of ‘high impact learning’ was discussed in the context of the United States of America’s university system, however it is considerably parallel to our own here in Australia. As a basis, there are increased numbers of students, as well as a diversity in their backgrounds and levels of preparation. There is an increase in fees and a strain on resources.

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My Youth Programs & Ideas (Engaging Youth in Libraries Part 2)

One of my favourite things about working in a high school library is using my creativity to engage the students to come in and enjoy our collections and events. I want them to view the library as a safe haven, and a fun place to spend their time. I want them to know they can come to the library whenever they want to relax, read, play, or need help with school stuff. This post will discuss the programs I have run, and some ideas I have for the future to continue to engage youth in the library.

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The Power of Choice by Cynthia Lord

I remember that magical feeling of choosing books from the scholastic catalogue in primary school! Cynthia makes a great point in her article about reading choice, beautifully illustrated by her story about Crystal. I still love the smell of books too. Whatever it is that inspires a child to choose a book, it’s wonderful to see that spark of excitement. I will have to try using the ‘good choice’ mantra at my school.

Nerdy Book Club

When I was a child, my mother gave me two of the greatest gifts a reader can receive: access to books and choice.

Though not a reader herself, my mother always let me buy three books from the Scholastic Book Club flyers when my teacher sent them home. I would pour over those whispery pages, agonizing how to whittle my choices down to three.

My mother never put any restriction or judgement on the books I picked, so I was free to try new things, to take risks. I was also free to find comfort in something familiar. I was even free to fail, to experience making a choice that I later regretted.

I bought great literature, like The Witch of Blackbird Pond and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I also bought (and still have!) The Peanuts Lunch Bag Cookbook. No one would classify…

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Library @ The Dock Youth Unconference – ‘Outside the Lines’ (and Part 1 on Engaging Youth in Libraries)

The ‘Outside the Lines’ Youth Unconference at the Library at the Dock (unconference – “a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants, rather than following a conventionally structured programme of events”) was an amazing experience. It was totally free and even provided morning and afternoon tea. The presenters were all young and had interesting insights. It was held in a beautiful location on a wonderful sunny day. I had a blast!

Their unconference description:“It is your chance to gain insight into what young adults are interested in, how libraries can support and collaborate with them and how we can broaden our thinking about young people into a more creative, flexible and innovative framework that will take libraries outside the lines. By participating you will have the opportunity to: Hear first-hand from young people and their experiences with the library and community organisations.”

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