Survive the Night

Minecraft Survival mode really means survival. I am always a little surprised about the heart rush that I get playing in survival mode. I know that it’s just a game, but when a zombie or skeleton is coming after you, it’s a little unnerving to know that those things can kill you. I am torn between playing with the sound on or off. Is it better to hear them coming or is ignorance really bliss? I haven’t decided, yet.

I didn’t struggle too much to survive through the night cycle. I spent most of the daylight collecting wood to build a little shelter up on the top of a hill. I didn’t build a roof which made me a little nervous. But the walls were high enough that none of the monsters could jump in… or maybe they just didn’t try to jump in.

As I was trying to survive the night, it felt like the night cycle was way longer than the day. It seemed like the day just went by quickly and then it was night forever. Really they were the same length of time, but when you’re a little nervous about zombies and creepers getting you, time feels longer in the dark.

Survived_the_nightWhile I was waiting for the sun to come back up, I decided to dig out a basement to look for coal and iron. I wasn’t brave enough to go into a cave looking for resources without torches. Without peaceful mode on, I was afraid to run into mobs in caves. I really don’t look forward to those moments of panic when you hear the monsters coming. I’m someone who can do spook alleys and come out laughing, but the thought of my character dying in Minecraft gets my heart racing.

Overall, I realized that I was more conscientious of my actions and surroundings when I played in real survival mode than when I play peaceful or creative. I can see how you could get caught up in the game and realized that hours had passed. Now, I need to figure out strategies to help me find resources I will need to survive better. I made it through the night! On to surviving longer!

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Minecraft Server Exploration

Minecraft has a lot of different options when it comes to gameplay. Players can choose to play in a world with unlimited resources and limitless possibilities. Or they can choose to play in a world where resources must be collected and enemies roam around. Both types of gameplay allow players to build and create whatever they can imagine.

But that’s just the beginning. Outside of individual games, players can join multiplayer servers where they can play games, create, or survive with other players. Servers

When I checked out some servers, I was impressed by what I saw. All of them were themed with elaborate buildings and games. I was impressed by the amount of time and effort the creators had put into the design of these worlds. All of them had areas for different types of gameplay. I didn’t understand what most of the games were aside from the Hunger Games. After talking to my brother who knows more about Minecraft than I do, I found out that games on servers can range from something as simple as hide and seek to something as complex as Hunger Games.

One of the servers I checked out was really great for someone new to servers. When you picked an area to start exploring, you were first taken to a tutorial area where you had to read through some of the rules of the world. For me, I liked that they had a place like that where I could learn how to play and what was expected of me so that I didn’t get banned from the server. I felt a lot more comfortable on the server with the clear instruction area than on the others that just sort of left you to figure out what to do.

While I don’t see myself spending a significant amount of time on servers in the future, I can see how they can be a positive aspect of Minecraft. In the BSU EDTECH server, we have the ability to meet and participate in activities as a group without too much hassle. The worlds follow the limits of whatever the teacher wants. For players playing on servers they find online, they can find opportunities to push themselves in Minecraft. For example, my brother told me about how he started a carrot farm on a server to earn money for himself. He also talked about checking out others’ creations that use red stone. He uses servers to see what others are doing and help him elevate his skills. I think that is awesome.

Servers are a great aspect of Minecraft and really help players get immersed in a virtual world.

Second Life

Second Life is a virtual world where you can push the limits of what you thought was possible. If you can imagine a world or simulation, it probably exists in Second Life. When you start thinking about using Second Life in education, there are almost limitless possibilities.

Virtual classrooms with avatars could change the way that online education is delivered. As an online student, I have felt disconnected from my classmates because they are some other place in the world. We rarely have had to communicate in real time. I think that Second Life has great potential for digital learning. When I was first introduced to Second Life, I thought of a teenage girl in my community who has crippling anxiety to the point she feels she cannot attend regular high school. It would provide students like her opportunities to participate in a high school community in a way that might be comfortable for them.

As a teacher, I think it would be amazing to use Second Life in my elementary classroom to show some science simulations. Usually, I end up showing videos about different science topics, but being able to interact with the different simulations might help my students see just how awesome science can be.

Thinking about the demographics of my school, I can see that incorporating Second Life into my classroom might not be positively received. The community that I teach in is very conservative and in favor of traditional learning experiences for students. And if it wasn’t a battle with parents getting on board with students using Second Life, I would expect resistance from the district administration.

I’m still trying to figure out what I really think about Second Life. I see a lot of awesome things that I would love to check out. Hopefully, I can learn more about it to find ways to use it in the classroom.

Minecraft Acropolis

Building the Acropolis started out as an intimidating project. I told my brother (who is an avid Minecrafter) about my project, and he was kind to give me some building tips for it. He watched me playing and building one block at a time. *click, click, click* I am positive he was cringing the entire time. That’s when he taught me some speed building techniques. Once I found out that I could hold down the build button and fly through the air to build in a straight line, everything went SO MUCH FASTER. As it took shape, I was pretty impressed with how realistic it looked.  (You know, aside from the light blocks.) Now I feel like I need to plan a trip to Greece to check out the Acropolis in real life.

I felt like this would be a great project for students in a unit on Greek history. I know that I would have loved doing something like this in my middle school world history class. It would have been more exciting to show everyone a tour of an Acropolis that I built than just showing pictures in a PowerPoint.

Overall, this build was a lot easier than my previous builds because I learned how to build faster. Now I don’t feel as intimidated when it comes to building some of the bigger projects.

Let’s Be Creative

I got a little carried away in my creative mode build. I built a watchtower at the top of a mountain that overlooked my spawn point. Then I decided to build a house that ended up being a lot bigger than I anticipated. I had fun making the house on the top of a mountain. While building the house, I tried using a bunch of different kinds of blocks. One challenge I had was getting the fireplace to have a fire that doesn’t go out. I found out that there is a block from the Nether that you can light up and it will burn until you put it out. That was neat.

Creative mode was a lot of fun because I was able to do so much that you can’t do when you’re playing in survival. I didn’t have to worry about things killing me when they showed up in my house. (I found out that I needed to put more light in my house to keep zombies and creepers from spawning. Who knew?!) In survival, I doubt that I would have been able to build a house that’s pretty much floating off the top of a mountain. With the number of times I accidentally fell out of the sky, my computer would have purposely been thrown out the window if I had been playing in survival mode. 🙂

While building I definitely felt some of that flow because I spent way more time building than I anticipated. I don’t regret it, though. I had a lot of fun.

This link shows a screencast tour of my creation.

Jing Screencast Minecraft Let’s Be Creative

Second Life Building Basics

If you’re looking for a virtual world where you can build realistic structures, Second Life is a great place to start. Unlike Minecraft, Second Life allows you a significant amount of control over shape, size, and texture. With all of this freedom comes the complexity of controlling your designs.

Figuring out how the prims moved and changed was a challenge. It took me a bit of time to get used to the controls. I found it easier to move things around on one axis at a time rather than freely moving things. I appreciated the ability to link prims together and move them around in the building area. Sometimes you start building something in Minecraft and realize that it’s not really the best place. In Second Life, if you don’t like the placement, you can pick it up and move it. I thought that was great.

I found out that I was able to build things easier than I imagined it would be. I really liked that I had the freedom to build without fear of messing things up. I was able to experiment with building and try to build some other things I had seen. I decided to try making a door that opened. I used some videos and wiki pages to help me give the door prim code so it could move. I have no idea how to write the programming on my own, but I found that someone else as created code for almost anything I will want to do.

second_life_building_.png

Minecraft In Schools

Teachers of every grade level know that students like Minecraft. There’s something appealing about being able to control your own world and build whatever you can imagine. Students tell each other about their creations and brag about some of their accomplishments in the game.

As a teacher, I feel like I have to stay up to date on the world of Minecraft because it’s such a high-interest topic for my students. I use it as a way to make connections with students–even if it means talking video games at recess.

The way Pender County Schools use Minecraft is pretty cool! They have a club where the students get to create in Minecraft. The students are free to build whatever they want when they are online. Their creations range from simple houses to intricate pixel art. It’s amazing. As I watched the videos showing their creations and the club, I started to think about how many students at my school would love a Minecraft club. I think that there are a ton of things that students can learn and explore while in Minecraft. If I ever get the means to have access to Minecraft with my students, I will definitely take it.

 

The Minecraft videos of Pender County Schools are below.