Updated: Sep 7, 2021
Over the past few months, we have had the opportunity to connect, train and exchange ideas with a great number of teachers around the world. During these talks, the most recurring topics of conversation have always been the problems and needs that their students had in this new reality and what kind of solutions we could offer as teachers.
After many conversations, we identified that most educators had asked themselves the same questions during this pandemic What is the best type of activity for my students? How should I evaluate these activities? How can I prevent my students from searching for the answers online or copying them?
The answer is simple: we need to create activities where it does not matter if our students copy or search for information. These activities should focus on applying the knowledge learned in a meaningful way and not just on content memorization.
These types of activities are so-called authentic activities defined by Jon Mueller as
"A form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills."
Fortunately, the use of these authentic activities by educators is on the rise, thanks to the new technology and new tools that arise every day, and that allows us to create real educational experiences that we could not even dream of before.
Of all the educational tools and experiences we have developed in our classroom, today we are going to focus on using Minecraft EDU as a tool and on the ancient civilizations of history as content.
Minecraft EDU as a tool to create authentic activities
A few years ago, we realized that our way of teaching history and that our tests did not have a real impact on our students' learning. They studied different civilizations, wrote everything they had learned about them on a piece of paper, teachers graded it, and we moved on to the next civilization. They gobbled up the information, vomited it on test day, and the next day they had forgotten what they had studied.
For this reason, we decided to change the way we taught and evaluated history. We removed paper exams and started using Minecraft EDU as a tool to evaluate their learning.
How do we use Minecraft to evaluate their knowledge?
For this, we asked our students to build a Minecraft world based on the civilization we are studying. To build this world they must apply everything they have learned during the unit. From the appearance of houses to replicating their daily lives or even recreating the great wars these civilizations had.
The creation process begins with the planning of the world. This part of the process is done in a written manner and students must organize and plan all the stages that make up the project. We will talk about these stages in the next blog post.
We also created working groups to enhance communication and collaboration during this process. In this way, we are not only evaluating and developing knowledge, but we are also giving opportunities for our students to develop other skills such as collaboration, communication, problem-solving, technology management, etc.
Another of the most important features of this way of evaluating is that it is a formative assessment, students learn during the evaluation process. For example, if they do not know what material the houses were built in Mesopotamia, they should search for it and use this information during the construction of their world.
Paper test vs Test in Minecraft
Did you like this blog? Do not miss the next blog post in which we will explain the detailed process that we follow in the realization of projects with Minecraft. Including materials and strategies to make your projects a success.