Both Minecraft and OneNote have been revered for their capabilities to make education easier for students, parents, teachers, administration, and beyond. In most cases, the tools enabled more individualized learning and helped adjust students to become more independent. In the case written by Wilj Dekkers in an Office blog post today, students at St. Andrews College learned to collaborate easier and became more involved with each other’s projects through the use of these two programs.
Asa Year 5 teacher, Dekkers was hesitant to bring more technology into the classroom. But while using the custom designed Inquiry Pathway for projects, students became excited about working on their homework after school. The tool allowed the students to research and combine information no matter where they were.
During an assignment Dekkers had given their student to think of ways tourism could be improved through New Zealand, the idea of using Minecraft was introduced. Students were able to connect through the school’s realm server and introduce virtual representations of their ideas. The class became a “buzzing hub of self-directed learning” with groups writing presentation speeches to showcase their ideas.
With the use of Surface Pro 3s, Dekkers discovered the ease of writing notes and annotations on students’ works. It wasn’t long until their class followed suit, bringing in Windows 10 tablets to incorporate into their classroom work. With such a high success rate in the morale of the students, more of them returned into Year 6 with devices of their own.
St. Andrews College gradually became more involved with the use of OneNote and Minecraft as learning tools. One such example is the use of creative writing. Students depicted their fictional world through adventure stories written in OneNote, allowing readers to make their decisions and representing that through a virtual tour in the video game. Many of them felt that a whole new perspective of writing and reading had opened to them through the use of the tools together.
Another struggling set of students found that they actually could be good at math if they only enjoyed it a little more. Through the use of Minecraft, students were exposed to learning area, scale, and proportion many times throughout the year. From exploring real house plans to developing and planning their own designs, students began to understand the concepts they once hated.
With the Minecraft: Education Edition going into early access, rest assured this will not be the last story of its kind. It’s thanks to creative teachers like Dekkers that many classrooms will be able to make strides in ways that connect with students on more intimate and innovative levels. Every day, more and more educators embrace the impact that technology has on the world. All of it begins in the classroom where bright minds think up ideas and learn how to make them come to life.
If you would like to read more of Dekker’s guest blog post for Microsoft Office, visit the Office blog post. Also, take the time to read the Innovative and Engaging e-Learning blog post from St. Andrew’s College a more personal look into the process of involving Minecraft and One Note in the classroom.