PLP Project- Minecrafting Education

Five teachers from Miller Comprehensive High School from Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada completed a PLP project facilitated by Regina Catholic Schools consultant Leanne Forest.  Each teacher chose a technology focus; my (Tyler Wright’s) focus was introducing Minecraft into the Social Studies 10 curriculum.  Please follow along.  If you simply want to watch student examples please scroll down to the end of each of the four assignments.  Thanks for viewing.

An international technology project through the organization PLP.

Completed by teachers and staff of RCSD.

Leanne Forest

Dave Hambleton

Angie Harding

Mike Wolf

Jodi Wilton

Tyler Wright

Watch our sweet teaser!

Major Project

Introduction

Studies indicate that student engagement in the classroom is decreasing as a result of antiquated educational practices and a lack of contextually relevant content (MacGonigal, 2011).  While the world is driven by engaging technologies and entertaining multimedia productions, education systems continue to procrastinate the implementation of crucial technological improvements.  The shifting pedagogical paradigm from the factory model to a constructivist pedagogy rooted in technology integration is emerging at a pace that fails to match the rapidly evolving learning styles of 21st century students.  As a result students are tuning-out.  They would rather focus their energies on immersive technological experiences that challenge and engage their minds than the learning environment they are presently exposed to.  Consequently many education stakeholders stereotype 21st century students as unmotivated and apathetic however this is a fallacy.  Students are excited to learn however they require an environment conditioned to fit their learning styles.

Communication is a fundamental facet of technology integration and subsequently, the focus for the present PLP project.  As displayed in figure 1, communication is addressed in three distinct categories; (1) relationships, (2) communication for learning, and (3) communication of learning.  Each category is divided into three progressions; (1) beginning, (2) developing, and (3) transforming.  The relationships category emphasizes how technology integration can improve the student-teacher relationship.  Communication for learning addresses how curriculum applicable objectives and timely feedback improve student success.  Lastly, the communication of learning category focuses on enhancing collaborative learning and critical thinking through the employment of various technologies.  Figure 1 is an effective pedagogical tool that corresponds well with the RCSD Tech Doctors PLP project.

Figure 1:  CommunicationReflectionRubric

The general purpose for the present PLP project is to transition current teaching practices concerning communication from beginning to transforming.  Ultimately, the over-arching goal is to augment student engagement through the use of technology.  On the basis of the aforementioned general purpose and over-arching goal, my PLP project encompasses one distinct mini-project: (1) incorporate the software Minecraft into unit one of Social Studies 10.  The “Minecraft” project (see figure 2) will be completed at the end of unit one in social studies 10.  Students are required to create a society using the software Minecraft.  The assignment includes ten requirements pertaining to key curriculum concepts.  The Minecraft project will be transformative in each of the three communication categories: (1) regular communication is provided by the teacher during the creation of the society, (2) the project is tailored to facilitate regular and timely feedback during the design process, and (3) collaboration and critical thinking are entrenched in daily group work.  I hypothesize that the Minecraft project will enhance student-teacher communication subsequently improving student engagement and success.

Figure 2- Assignment #1

Social Organizations

Minecraft Society

Social Studies 10

100 Marks

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

  • understand that humans establish various kinds of organizations as a means of systematically meeting their needs and wants
  • understand that individuals within organizations must have some way of resolving differences and making and enforcing conclusions so that a collective source of action can be carried out
  • understand that whenever groups, societies, or nations interact, they do so according to patterns of beliefs and values which are both implicitly and explicitly accepted by the members of the group
  • understand the need for social organizations to govern democratically by employing majority accepted social contracts
  • understand the necessity for interdependence within human relationships

 Premise:

 In a maximum group of four it is your duty to create a functioning society complete with a governing social organization, social contracts, hierarchical power structure, resource base, and wealth opportunities.  You will be required to apply the concepts of interdependence, values, conflict, change, and paradigm to the societal components previously mentioned.  This is your opportunity to use your critical and creative thinking skills to create a society that embodies the characteristics you feel are fundamental to a strong and vibrant community.

 Requirements:

  1. Create your society:  Choose a name, governing philosophy, location, population, language, and brief history.
  2. Go to http://mashable.com/2007/09/12/avatars/ or use Minecraft modifications to create an Avatar that resembles a member of your society.
  3. Establish the governing social organization: choose a name, hierarchy (who is in power?), and establish a basic structure for passing laws (how are decisions made?).
  4. Establish 3 social contracts: (1) a list of 10 laws, (2) a list of 5 rights and freedoms, and (3) a list of 3 rules for military/peace involvement (i.e., conscription act).
  5. What are 5 resources that makes your society viable?  Explain.
  6. Provide 5 methods for attaining wealth.
  7. Explain 3 interdependences that are vital to the survival of your society.  Don’t just settle for the obvious, your society may rely on a neighbouring society for assistance.
  8. Provide a list of 5 collective values your society holds.
  9. What is your societies reaction to conflict?  Does war play a role?
  10. Change is inevitable.  Include three paradigm shifts.

The Role of Technology:

We will be employing Minecraft as the vehicle to display our society.  Not all of you have the background in Minecraft so it is vital that you dedicate some of your spare time to learning the game.

Your presentation of the game can be simply a video that includes a fly-through of your Minecraft society and a voice over describing how you met the requirements or you can simply present in class while taking u through your society.

There are no limits to how you organize your society.  This is your virtual world to create.

13.5 Rubric- Unit 1 Project

The Product

John

Ranil, Brydon, and Calvin

PLP Summary Via Prezi

http://prezi.com/69iwwpw3qoby/technology-integration-project/

Assignment #2

Economic Decision Making

Social Studies 10

The Final Act

100 Marks

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

▪ understand that economics is a study in which societies make decisions about the goods and services they will produce to meet the wants of their citizens.

▪ understand that industrial societies are based on a complex system of economic and political organizations known as infrastructure.

▪ understand that beliefs and values of a society shape their economic and political ideologies.

▪ understand that humans establish various kinds of organizations as a means of systematically meeting their needs and wants.

▪ understand that individuals within organizations must have some way of resolving differences and making and enforcing conclusions so that a collective source of action can be carried out.

▪ understand that whenever groups, societies, or nations interact, they do so according to patterns of beliefs and values which are both implicitly and explicitly accepted by the members of the group.

▪  understand the need for social organizations to govern democratically by employing majority accepted social contracts.

▪  understand the necessity for interdependence within human relationships.

 Premise

During our sojourn through Unit 2- Economic Decision Making- we have organized our economy based on a political-economic ideology.  We have theoretically established six vital components of our economy that will ultimately foster (hopefully) a thriving economic environment.  However, we must also be aware that significant watershed events may cause economic paradigm shifts.  Remember: No society is a pure utopia therefore change will occur.  The question is:  How will your society adapt?

Review  

Political-Economic Ideology– the fundamental ideas shaping your society at the political and economic level (i.e., communism, capitalism)

Six Primary Lessons:

  1. Bartering System– an organized hierarchy valuing goods and services
  2. Standard of Living– the minimal requirements for citizens to live.
  3. Resource System– the impact raw materials have on society
  4. Economic Paradigms– three ideas, beliefs, and values that shape economic systems: (1) economic growth, (2) exchange,                  (3) investment
  5. Types of economies– two types of economies: (1) subsistence and (2) mixed
  6. Components of an Economy– seven vital components of an economy: (1) political stability, (2) transportation, (3) capital, (4) resources, (5) climate, (6) entrepreneurship, (7) labor

Requirements:

The following assignment will determine your level of comprehension concerning the primary lessons addressed in unit 2.  Although the lessons above are listed chronologically feel free to reorganize and compartmentalize.

Your job is to tell the economic story of your society using the program Minecraft. The concepts from each lesson included above must be included.  After you have addressed the current economic state of your society you must fabricate a catastrophic event (i.e., Nuclear War or Zombie Apocalypse).  Subsequently, you will conclude your presentation by presenting the new economic state that resulted from this catastrophe.  There should be an apparent economic-ideology shift as a result of the catastrophe. Be creative!

 13.5 Rubric- Unit 1 Project

The Product

John

Ranil, Brydon & Calvin

Assignment #3

Ideologies

Social Studies 10

The Final Act

100 Marks

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

  • understand that a pluralistic society is one in which diverse cultural traditions, with different norms and values are accepted
  • understand that individuals and society accept certain claims to power as being legitimate and disregard illegitimate claims
  • understand that society is made up of competing interest groups each with a power base and each desiring decisions that will satisfy their needs/wants
  • understand that society has to deal with conflicting desires and ideologies
  • understand that the political process is necessary to resolve differences
  • understand that humans establish various kinds of organizations as a means of systematically meeting their needs and wants.
  • understand that individuals within organizations must have some way of resolving differences and making and enforcing conclusions so that a collective source of action can be carried out.
  • understand that whenever groups, societies, or nations interact, they do so according to patterns of beliefs and values which are both implicitly and explicitly accepted by the members of the group.
  • understand the need for social organizations to govern democratically by employing majority accepted social contracts.
  • understand the necessity for interdependence within human relationships.

 Premise

You have been working to understand the key concepts and over-arching ideologies related to political-decision making.  It is paramount that you thoroughly understand the general framework and conceptual workings of the political spectrum.  Comprehension of vital information as provided in the review section below will assist you in creating a complete and quality project.

Review

Society requires three essential decision making components to flourish:

  1. 1.    Social contract
  2. 2.    A decision making process
  3. 3.    Law enforcement

Freedoms are essential for a society to effectively function.

Law and order are essential for a society to effectively function.

Change– when society undergoes fundamental change another set of social relationships must be developed.

Pluralism– a society that holds multiple worldviews concerning various ideas.  This often results in heated exchanges concerning political ideas.

Political Spectrum

Political-Spectrum_MM

Socialism– a society that emphasizes citizens collectively work together to help society flourish.  Equality of all citizens, no matter their occupation, is the essential focus of socialism.  Government owns all companies.

Liberalism– a society in which individual freedoms is emphasized.   The emphasis is on personal prosperity due to hard work. (“The American Dream”).  Government doesn’t own or regulate any companies.

Conservatism– a society that allows for individual prosperity however they emphasize the need to maintain government control over certain aspects of society such as power and energy. Government owns a few companies.  

Freedom, Hierarchy, Progress, Equality

– Essential components located within the definition of each ideology.

 Individuals living in a democratic society must:

–  decide which of the many different special interest groups who all believe their choice is best for society is worthy of support.

– must select a few from the many different individuals who want to be given the  power to govern society.

– understand many different issues and decide which of the various solutions available to these issues is the best one to choose.

 Political parties have three important functions to perform in the electoral process:

– the organization of propaganda;

– the selection of candidates; and,

– the financing of campaigns.

 There are many ways special interest groups go about influencing decision-making:

  1. Gaining the support of large numbers of people
  2. Organizing the groups of people into movements
  3. Raising money to support their interests
  4. Finding sources of wealth who are prepared to support the cause
  5. Finding and distributing information which either supports the cause or denigrates the contrary view

Totalitarianism- a state where the government holds total authority over the citizenry and controls all aspects of life.

Requirements

  1. Establish three political parties within your regime and provide an overview of the ideology they follow.  One must be totalitarian.
  2. For each party:
    1. Explain the role of Freedom, Hierarchy (political party power structure), Progress, Equality
    2. Establish a location or isolated commune.  The location should reflect the ideology.
    3. Establish 4 laws the party follows.  Must reflect the ideology.
    4. Discuss police and military service structure.
    5. What role, if any, does pluralism play?
    6. What role, if any, does democracy play?
    7. Create a school appropriate PROPAGANDA poster promoting each party.  They will celebrate lies.
    8. Explain the role lobbying plays.
    9. Theorize what society would look like if each party had full control.
    10. The project must be completed using Minecraft

13.5 Rubric- Unit 1 Project 

Product

John

Ranil, Brydon & Calvin

Final Project

Social Studies 10

The Final Act

100 Marks

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

  • understand that humans establish various kinds of organizations as a means of systematically meeting their needs and wants.
  • understand that individuals within organizations must have some way of resolving differences and making and enforcing conclusions so that a collective source of action can be carried out.
  • understand that whenever groups, societies, or nations interact, they do so according to patterns of beliefs and values which are both implicitly and explicitly accepted by the members of the group.
  • understand the need for social organizations to govern democratically by employing majority accepted social contracts.
  • understand the necessity for interdependence within human relationships.

Premise 

To complete Social 10 you are expected to create a final project that includes the following ten requirements below.  As we have throughout the semester, employ the software Minecraft for your presentation.

Requirements

  1. Create a society:  Choose a name, location, population and language.
  2. Create an Avatar that resembles a member of your society.
  3. Establish a political ideology and discuss.  (i.e., liberalism, totalitarianism)
  4. Establish the governing hierarchy (who is in power), and a basic structure for passing laws.
  5. Establish three social contracts: (1) a list of 10 laws, (2) a list of 5 rights and freedoms, and (3) a list of 5 societal norms.
  6. Discuss the role of each economic component below:
    1. Bartering System– an organized hierarchy valuing goods and services.
    2. Standard of Living– the minimal requirements for citizens to live.
    3. Resource System– the impact raw materials have on society
    4. Economic Paradigms– three ideas, beliefs, and values that shape economic systems: (1) economic growth, (2) exchange & (3) investment.
    5. Types of economies– there are two types of economies: (1) subsistence and (2) mixed.
    6. Components of an Economy– there are seven vital components of an economy: (1) political stability, (2) transportation, (3) capital, (4) resources, (5) climate, (6) entrepreneurship, (7) labor
    7. Explain three interdependences that are vital to the survival of your society.
    8. What role does political pluralism play in your society?
    9. What is your societies reaction to conflict?  Does war play a role?

10. Change is inevitable.  Include three paradigm shifts currently occurring (i.e., move from fossil fuels to renewable fuels)

Final Project

13.5 Rubric- Unit 1 Project

Product 

 John

Ranil, Brydon, & Calvin

“waiting on link” 

 

 

 

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