Saturday, 20 October 2012

Quick Update

Okay, so first off I'm sorry that there wasn't a MinecraftEdu lesson blog post this week; I had a short day and a dentist appointment so for convenience my mum ran the whole lesson. I don't have any screenshots, however from what my mum said, everything went better than the first week, but not as good as the second week.

Now I have a few weeks break from lessons. This week is our school's autumn break and after that grade 1 will have two weeks were they won't be using MinecraftEdu in their Tuesday morning maths lessons. When they do get back to using it, our new topic will be sorting. I have a few brief plans for these lessons involving different coloured wool blocks and chests where the students must work together to break down the blocks and put the different colours into specific chests. More information will be out nearer the time.

I also have a bit of good news to share. At the end of the school year there is a project fair where all grade 9 students get to show off their projects that they have done throughout the year. At this fair, I was hoping to make a video of what has happened over the course of the year's lessons but I was having some trouble recording. I know that I will buy a professional recording software called 'Fraps' but I didn't know how to get the resolution correct for a video. I have now downloaded a free program called 'Sizer' where you can set up different resolutions and when you have it open in the background, you right-click on the window you want to resize in the bottom left corner and it opens up a menu with the different resolutions you have set in Sizer. I have now set a 1296x758 resolution for Minecraft so that in-game, Minecraft can be recorded at a resolution of 1290x720 (the excess pixels is for the window outlining which I don't want recorded).

Then, another problem I had with this is that when I wanted to record, I set my 'Record/Stop' hotkey to F8. Unfortunately, this made the game go into some kind of smoooooooooth play style which wasn't normal. What I didn't know was that in Minecraft, F8 already is a hotkey, which puts the game into this state. If you want to know what I am talking about just go into Minecraft and press F8 (you'll see what I am talking about). Thankfully, I have now changed my 'Record/Stop' hotkey to F9, which doesn't correspond with any hotkey in Minecraft so I can now record as I want to.

Now all I have to do is sort out voice recording. I talked to another teacher who uses MinecraftEdu - Stephen Elford (Twitter: & Youtube: - and he said that I should try using an Ipod or a phone and just place it in the middle of the class however our students are too spread out and our computer lab is too big for this to work. We could try a skype call (or some other voice call service) but then to record everyone's voices, everyone would need to have skype open and be in the call (which might interfere with in-game FPS) and need to have a microphone (which is slightly inconvenient but also - as 1st graders - might distract them as they would probably meddle with it). I guess I could try this for one lesson to see how much lag the students get and to see just how inconvenient it is.

Other than all of that, everything has been going fine! I am waiting for the new MinecraftEdu update to come out so that I can have 'Quiz Blocks'. This will make building the arenas much easier and will also help with taking the students to the next area. Before, when each student had finished their task, my mum and I would have had to teleport the students into the next area. Now, we can use these Quiz Blocks to trigger a redstone pulse, then I can hook up some 'AND-gates' (will be shown in a video later) and then pistons which will open up the next area automatically when the students get the answers right.


  1. Great post, keep them coming! Stop by the MinecraftEdu IRC channel if you want more help with recording... there are many ways to skin that particular cat.

    And sadly, Quiz Blocks are NOT going to be in the upcoming version. There were a few too many problem with them and we decided not to delay the new version any more. :(

    1. Thanks for reading! I will check out the MinecraftEdu Channel soon to find out more about that. Sucks about the quiz blocks though! Will they be out in the next version?