Flooding? No problem! Hold virtual class in Minecraft

It was an experiment. Thanks to ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald, the University was closed for a second (unprecedented) day due to storm damage, flooding and risks to students and staff. So I posted a notice on our class learning management system web site that we should use the opportunity for a “Mineclass.”

At 10am, everyone started logging in and, although it was clearly not as immediate and focussed as F2F, t worked! I reviewed my slides and asked a lot of questions about the readings. The students were awesome (as usual), especially when I started handing out XP for participation! Hint for Ops /xp <number> <gamertag>.

Our avatars were all present in the virtual lab that models our actual classroom. For a serious Minecrafter, it would have been lame, but we were just there in another IM Chat environment except that we had a proximal model of our real-world room and the affordances of gestures and the occasional brandishing of TNT. After 1:39 minutes without a break, we wrapped up class, having gone through the lesson and covering all the points in my Prezi. We ran out of the building and set off fireworks! Participatory culture in the “classroom.”

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