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Welcome to my personal blog. I’m currently researching how game mechanics can be used for learning in Singapore.

All views and information presented herein are my own and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State.

Lessons Learned: Pirate Base Alpha

I'm fortunate this year to have an elective class called Minecraft Academy to end my day. I always look forward to it because we get to really dive in and uncover what it is about Minecraft that we find interesting. One of the projects we do is based around the idea of a large-scale collaborative team build. We watched an incredible time-lapsed video of a build called Land of Akane. It was  created by a team of master builders in the UK and demonstrates what can be accomplished if everyone works together as a team. My students were speechless at the conclusion.

Our challenge was to build what we called Pirate Base Alpha in a lagoon area I discovered in a random Minecraft world. I was determined to stay out of the planning and construction of this build as I wanted to see what my students could accomplish on their own.

We watched the video five or six times, stopping often to see how the FyreUK community were able to accomplish what they did. My students discovered and then implemented numerous strategies to complete their build.

  • Assign specific duties and responsibilities to individual builders.

  • Work through several iterations in design before choosing one everyone likes.

  • Separate build areas clearly.

  • Work to your strengths and build something that challenges you.

  • Communicate with your partners and work closely together.

  • Limit the blocks in your toolbar to avoid confusion.

  • Be prepared to cover for someone in their absence.

  • Everyone is important.

I provided very little structure, other than a flexible timeframe. They decided to practice building in a flat world before "starting the clock" in the lagoon.

It was an extraordinary experience for me as I focussed on watching, listening to and learning from my 32 students working together as a team. This video represents five class periods of work in creative mode, done in time-lapsed fashion. The pirate ships were schematics,  placed in the lagoon my me to add a bit of color and in keeping with the theme.

Student teams built:

  • Pirate "condos"

  • Defensive walls and a jetty

  • Commercial center and warehouses

  • Dry dock

  • Wharfs

  • Lighthouse

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