Tuesday, 2 April 2013

My Creative Piece!

Today I handed in the full creative piece for my personal project. It turned out to be about 20 minutes long and the file was 890MB, which compared to the original 400 - 500 odd GB that I had is pretty amazing in my opinion. I was very happy with it, and not only do I think it showed the whole outline of the project well, I think it highlighted the aspects of MinecraftEdu quite well. Every time something from MinecraftEdu was shown for the first time, I had some text to say what it is and how it works.

I put it on a memory stick instead of on a disk because the file size of the final video was smaller than expected. Also, I won't delete all of the footage from my computer yet just in case something happens and I have to re-render something.

Now all that is left for this project is the report and the project fair in May. I will work on the report some more on Thursday as we are using the English lesson at school for project work. Then the rest should be easy enough to work on at home. Until then, bye bye!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Cut and Compression!

All of this weekend and beginning of this week has been dedicated to doing basic cuts and then full compression of all the video footage captured over the duration of the whole project. To get into the stats, there were four units where I recorded the creation process and all of the files together for that totaled 486GB, which is about half of my 1TB hard drive! To break that down per unit, the sizes are:

  • Data Handling - 81GB
  • Add & Sub 1 - 155GB
  • Place Value - 191GB
  • Add & Sub 2 - 59GB
After all the cuts and compression, the total size of all footage that will be used in the final cut is 3.2304GB! To break that down per unit, the sizes are:

  • Data Handling - 1.7GB
  • Add & Sub 1 - 1.15GB
  • Place Value - 95MB
  • Add & Sub 2 - 289MB
It makes me so happy that, because of the way I made the map, the unit that gave me the most amount of video footage to go through, gave me the smallest amount to finish with.

I will probably start the full video tomorrow but that will be a very long process, meaning that it will probably take the rest of the creation time to finish it. I do also have some other footage to record for the video about the game and the mod (MinecraftEdu). In that I will talk about the features and show examples of how they are beneficial to teaching and learning.

Unfortunately, I can't delete all of the original footage yet, as something could still go wrong and I may still need some of the original footage for the video later on. However, I absolutely can't wait until I can delete some stuff and my computer can feel free for a bit. When the final video is ready, I will put the file on a DVD so then ALL of the footage can be deleted.

Anyway, until I make some more progress on the video, bye for now! :D

Thursday, 28 February 2013

An Era Gone By... :(

So if you can remember from my last update, the lesson on Tuesday was my last ever MinecraftEdu lesson for this project. It was the same map as before but just for the rest of the class and it went well. There seemed to be a lot of following others around but more people got to the free area at the end and seemed to understand what it was about.

Throughout this part of the project I have learned a lot, both about using the game and about teaching a class (i.e. methods for discipline etc.). I have enjoyed it so much and from the feedback that I got from the kids, they loved it too! Definitely a good thing to take away from this.

During March, I will be working on the video that I will present at the project fair, and then continuing with the report. There is lots of footage to go through - as said in my last update - however it does help that tomorrow my winter holiday starts. Lots to do so I will, of course, be using lots of that time for editing and other project work. I am very sad that all the Minecraft stuff is over, but I do enjoy video editing so the next part of the project should be really fun too!

I will get the results from my mum soon about how my six anonymous students have progressed and will include that somehow in my video. I guess though, until the weekend when I start work on my video, this is all. An era has passed and a new one begins, but for now, see you later! :D

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

A Great Lesson!

Okay, so based on last unit's lessons, I adapted a few things. Once again I decided to go with the maze idea, as it seemed to be popular with the kids and it turned out to be very efficient. However, I also decided to combine the Addition and Subtraction unit that this new map was designed for, with the same number statues as in the Place Value map so that the kids could revise what they'd learned during that unit.

In this week's maze, they would go through the tunnels like last time, but in the rooms there were two separate statues with a sign in between. On this sign, the was either a '+' or '-' sign. They then had to work out the two numbers shown by the statues and work out the answer to the question shown.

Some changes to the maze were made to make the lesson go better. I made it a lot longer. Last week's was five questions long and this week's was 12.

This picture was taken after I was about half way done, so imagine this about two times bigger and that's about how big the whole thing was. Also, there were no traps in this maze. Whilst they were a bit fun, they proved to be more trouble than beneficial to the exercises last week, as the kids don't yet have amazing coordination with the game. Moving forward and turning is sort of the limit for them. This made the lesson go smoother, and less people were unhappy. But, so as to have something inconvenient for them (which encourages thinking about the question properly), I made it so that when you get a question wrong, you go all the way back to the beginning. This meant that no one wanted to just guess answers. I did feel a bit bad for one kid who got to the last question in about five minutes and then got it wrong and had to do it all again, but I guess that's just the way it goes.

Just like last time, there was a free area at the end for those that finished quickly, but only about four people made it there this time.

In terms of how the lesson went, I feel that this week was amazing! Probably the best yet! Everyone was concentrating so much and trying really hard. I think it helped that this time they had been taught about the topic in mind before today's lesson so many were very confident to begin with. It may have also helped that we had a lot of student teachers from the university with us; more man-power made things a lot easier!

I guess that's all for now until next week. This was the last map and next week will be the last lesson that I teach. Then all of March and the end of this month will be dedicated to making the video for the project fair using all the video footage I have recorded. I realised at the weekend that over half of my 1 terabyte hard-drive has been taken up with footage for this project. As soon as I have the video I'll definitely be deleting all the raw footage. Anyway, until next week, see ya later! :D

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Best One Yet!

Today's lesson was just amazing! I could tell when I was making it that it would be a good lesson but today just proved it. The idea was a maze with different rooms that had a statue in them. These statues were made of diamond and iron blocks, which represented tens and units. Then, based on the statue, the students had to find the correct answer and continue through the maze. However, there were booby traps along the way which mostly killed the students and sent them back to the beginning.

You can see that it looks quite complicated but from the inside it was quite simple and the kids definitely seemed to enjoy it. Let's hope that next week's group feels the same way.

Also, my supervisor came to today's lesson and seemed very happy with the game, the way it is used and the lesson so I'm very happy about that too.

I think for the next unit, I will also use the same kind of idea. I feel that last unit's method didn't really work well and this way seemed to work a lot better. I will probably make the whole thing a lot bigger as many today finished within ten minutes but I think the maze idea works best.

My project seems to be going very well at the moment; I don't feel too stressed by the whole thing. Soon I will probably be working on my report a bit more but that isn't due for a long time! I hope that all keeps going well as I'm coming up to the end of the practical side of my project. Other than that, bye for now!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Bit Better...

Okay, I had my other Addition and Subtraction (bridging 20) lesson today and I have to say it did go quite a bit better than last time! The lesson went a lot smoother and it did help to have another assistant teacher to help the Special Ed. students. I wouldn't exactly say that they ALL understood what to do better than last week's group but there was a noticeable difference compared to last week. Also, I think it helped that my mum went over everything in more detail last week in class, so the students this week already had a better understanding of what to do. The classroom discipline was better (except for a few kids) and I think that helped too - last week's group were quite restless for some reason.

From what I can tell, this week's group understood how to lay out the answer to the addition questions better and they were a lot quicker to grasp the idea as well.

This was supposed to be the general idea to show the answer in tens. This child made this first time from what I remember, which shows that he understood the concept very well.

I have a one week break now before the last two sets of lessons and then after that there will be no more MinecraftEdu lessons. This is because I will be using March to work more on the report and then the video of all the recorded stuff for this project, which I will present at the fair in May.

Until I start making the world for those lessons, that will be about it... See y'all soon!!!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Just a Short Update...

So as I stated in my previous blog post, I had a MinecraftEdu lesson today. Unfortunately, and I don't know if this was just me, but, I don't feel like the lesson went all that well. People were very restless but also I don't feel that the kids got as much out of the lesson as some previous lessons. I hope next week's lesson will be better.

I had the meeting with my supervisor today and he said that all is going okay and that I should keep up the good work, so I am happy with that. He will also be attending my lesson next week where he will hopefully get a better understanding of my project and see what I am using the game and its features for.

As the title says, this is only a small update so this will be it for now. I will see how the lesson goes next week so I can decide whether it was just a bad day today or whether something I did could be changed for the next unit to make things go smoother. Anyway, bye for now!

Friday, 11 January 2013

The New Year Has Brought Work!

Okay, so I set Wednesday aside to work on my Personal Project and I'm happy to say that I got a lot done. I got home at around 14:15 and finished working at around 20:30. I have another MinecraftEdu lesson on Tuesday and I have the world fully ready for that lesson. The new unit is Addition and Subtraction (bridging 10 and 20). The groups will be the same as last time and I will try to keep it this way until the end of the project, so that the groups are familiar to the kids and they will start to build relationships with different people in their class - which is always important at this stage in school.

Now, usually to get to the areas where the kids do their tasks, they use teleporters, however, this time to try something fun and new, they will be going there by minecart.

They will go into these small tunnels according to which one has their name on it from the spawn-area and then see this. I will teach them how to use the minecarts (i.e. right-clicking to get in it and pressing the buttons etc.) and then, as you can just see in the distance, they will be taken to the place where the magic happens!

From the outside, this area looks like this: 

I think it looks pretty cool actually with all the different tracks coming out and I hope the kids will enjoy it too.

Once they get to the next area, the first task is pretty easy. There will be a simple addition question depending on their mathematical ability like so:

... and all they have to do is walk through the right door to answer the question. If they get the answer right, they will be taken to the next area, where the whole group will be together again and in that area they will have to solve an addition problem by placing blocks in tens. When they have finished all five problems in that area, we will teleport the group to the next area where they will have to do the same kind of thing, but in reverse for subtraction. The groups that found the secret diamond in the last lesson, will get diamond pickaxes and those that didn't, will get iron.

If someone gets the first question wrong, they will sadly be taken to the "detention centre" to try again.

When they get the very easy question from this area correct, we will teleport them back to their group. 

As for other news on my project, I have just submitted the first draft of the first section of my Personal Project Report, which is about "The Goal". My supervisor and I will meet on Tuesday - in the break after the lesson - to discuss this and, hopefully, he will have some nice suggestions on how to make that better.

Other than that, not much has happened. Things are definitely getting more serious with this project but at least I have a definite plan ready for the upcoming months. I'll probably update this more on Tuesday/Wednesday evening after both the lesson and the meeting, to get some more news in this journal. Besides that, bye for now!