Happy Birthday, Dog!

Happy Birthday CogDog from GumbyBlockhead

“Happy Birthday, Cogdog” animated GIF by GumbyBlockhead

Today is the birthday of my good buddy, Cogdog. He and I hang out in a number of different spaces, but we spent some time in Minecraft way back in 2012, when he was one of the camp counsellors at my summer camp.

“Cog Dog In The (Monkey) House” on Flickr

The Monkey HouseI truly enjoyed my summer camp visit to Camp Magic Macguffin during the summer of 2012, and learning with all of my bunkmates at The Monkey House.  Alan (@cogdog) and Martha (@mburtis) were amazing counsellors, and you may remember when they vanished for a time when that bizarre Zonestone mining accident occurred. We sent out search parties. After the server died, I spent my time in the world of Gumby Isolation before finding my way to GamingEDUs. I have often dreamed of somehow returning to Camp Magic Macguffin, but that return one day may come to exist only in my imagination …

Anyway, on this day, I send my best out to my buddy, Alan (@cogdog) !!

Some More Sounds from April Fool’s Day

Well! I was going through my boom blocks recordings and I found this great tune! It is the “Mice on Venus” original piano song, with a wonderful sung accompaniment from April 1st, 2014.

Next up, I identified the epic tune that I enjoyed so much on April 1st. It is, of course, the theme song from the hit show, “Game of Thrones.”  What a wonderful complement to MineCraft. I’ll have to watch more than the first episode of season 1 some day!

Today My World Was Different

On April First, 2014, when I was exploring my world, it sounded different. I wanted to remember this special day, so I recorded the sounds using my boom blocks.

Here is what it sounded like!

I hope that you enjoyed your time in your MineCraft world today, and that you have some nice memories of your April Fool, 2014 day.


Gumby Discovers a Massive, Majestic Mesa Biome

“Gumby’s Mesa Continent: January 19th, 2013” CC licensed BY-NC-SA, shared by Gumby Blockhead on Flickr.

Although some significant changes to the MineCraft world took place over the holidays, I was pretty much hanging out at HorsieField Castle, what with the Open House and all, and didn’t see much of them. And then, following the New Year’s Eve 2014 Sign of the Times event, I undertook to demark the current boundaries of the developed area surrounding HorsieField Castle, electing to build The Great Wall of Gumby. The Great Wall is no small construction, and so it took up a chunk of the first part of January. (More on that later)

However, the call of the wilds has been strong, and so it was that the time came to set out from HorsieField Castle in search of new species of flora and new lands. Planning to travel by horse, and then by boat, I set off with Jack, heading essentially West from the castle grounds.

After a couple days travel (discovering some bizarre evidence of odd world joins, a huge gravel mountain (“Gumbys Gravel Pit”), and Gumby’s Acacia Forest, it was late last night that I came upon a new, as-yet-undiscovered Mesa. (Scanning the map, it appears to be the first uncovered in the GamingEDUs Survival world.)

Mesa stands for A-Meza-ing! Check out these majestic colours!

“Beautiful Strata” CC licensed BY-NC-SA, shared by Gumby Blockhead on Flickr.

Having arrived on what turned out to be a huge Mesa continent, my first construction was a standard-issue Gumby tower of Orange-Stained Clay (“GumbysOrangeTowerOnMesaContinent”) — complete with a small pool.

“The Orange Tower on Mesa Continent” CC licensed BY-NC-SA, shared by Gumby Blockhead on Flickr.

The colours in the Mesa biome are striking.

After a rest, I continued to explore, travelling by boat to map out the boundaries of the Mesa Continent, and discovering that the biome extended to a number of large islands in the ocean. Man, that mapping expedition took a long time! Check out this image of the biome, noticing  the footprint of The Great Wall of Gumby that is animated into the upper left corner for a size comparison.

"Mesa Continent, with The Great Wall animation for comparison"

“Mesa Continent, with The Great Wall animation for comparison”

As the exploration progressed, other towers sprang up.

As with other Gumby quests (The Quest for Carrots, The Quest for Mushrooms, The Quest for Horses), it was necessary to journey to new lands to find the new elements — and so travel far and wide is a necessity — and so much fun!

Although the Mesa biome still presents an opportunity for continued investigation, and my journeys have resulted in the opportunity to collect a wide variety of new flora, it is unlikely that I will be spending much time at HorsieField Castle in the near future, as there is still so much of the new world to explore.

Watch for future back-posts on The Great Wall, The Acacia Forest, and some other events of recent interest.

In the meantime, dig and learn!


See all of my Flickr Photos …

Holiday Open House at HorsieFieldCastle


I invite you to visit my new MineCraft digs at HorsieFieldCastle for some holiday cheer on Saturday, December 28th.

It was a little less than two months ago today, on October 28th, 2013, when I discovered Horses for the first time in the Survival World on the GamingEDUs Professional Play server. Although the 1.6 Horse update had occurred much earlier (see, “I Was on a Horse” from July 5th), it took a good deal of far-ranging exploration to locate horses in the wild. However, I must say that exploration in the Wild is one of the greatest joys in MineCraft — and finding horses in the wild was truly satisfying!

Since that time, a good deal of construction, gardening, mining, and landscaping has been underway at the Horsie Field, such that HorsieFieldCastle will be officially open for visitors on Saturday, December 28th, during the GamingEDUs online Holiday Celebration LAN party.

Some of the events planned for the open house include:

  • tours of the Castle and Gardens
  • swimming in the indoor glass-floor pool
  • pig-powered-cart demolition derby
  • pig-powered-cart dragster races
  • horse rides and the Amazing Steeplechase Horse Race
  • GIANT waterslide
  • a selection of amazing foods
  • and great company !!! 🙂 

I look forward to seeing you at the Castle! Until then, may I wish you the very best for this holiday season!

Yours in MineCraft,


I Was on a Horse

Tonight, I was on a Horse. MineCraft 1.6 has arrived with the long awaited Horse Upgrade, and tonight we figured out how to tame and ride horses.

“Gumby’s On a Horse at GamingEDUs” by gamingedus, on Flickr

After riding my horse like a madman around and over everything possible — you can go really fast and jump really high — I found myself climbing up a rainforest tree, without my trusty steed. For some reason, the horse and I had parted company at the base of the tree, and upon descending, I found that I some how had a rope in one hand with the horsie at the other. So I walked and led him out to some nice flat grassland, and then conjured up a fence post (we were in Creative with the other EDUgamers) and hitched him up for safekeeping. I then stood back a couple blocks and took some photos.

"My Little Pony" animated GIF, by GumbyBlockhead

“My Little Pony” animated GIF, by GumbyBlockhead

Of course, I spend 99.9% of my MineCraft life in Survival Mode, where there is no easy conjuring up of resources — every single seed, shard of coal, carrot, stick, chicken feather, or ingot of iron has to be painstakingly collected, grown, refined, or crafted from scratch. So that is where I will find my first, true horse. There, he will be wild, randomly generated, found and tamed by long searching or blind luck. And there, my horse will be given a name, will have a stable with straw, apples, and sugar treats. And there, my horse will carry me Thorughout the World.

A New MineCrafter Joins the Guild!

A colleague of mine showed up on the GamingEDUs Professional Play MineCraft server this evening, and PraxisMaxis and Liragrim and I had an opportunity to show her around and interact via text chat as she learned in the space. I’m sure she will have her own take on the adventure, and I know she must have had fun, and I trust that she also left the experience with a lot of questions!

One of the most enjoyable moments with MineCraft comes when you have one of those “aha” moments — and those moments, together with the opportunity to have a virtual (!) free reign in exploring and creating, makes for a very rewarding learning opportunity.   There is nothing in the world that you can break (break in a truly permanent sense — you can always re-construct something), and yet the opportunity to try, and test, and hypothesize, and evaluate is always there.

Gee, that sounds like fun!

Basic Movements
Making use of the left hand movements (A-left, W-forward, S-back, D-right) together with the space bar for jump (fly up) and the shift key (fly down) may or may not be familiar when you are first starting out, but looking around with the mouse (pan left-right, look up, look down) becomes natural very quickly, and combining the two hands comes with just a bit of practice. The number keys give you quick access to your tool belt, and the left mouse button to break blocks and the right mouse button to place/activate blocks also comes quickly with a bit of practice.

You can check out this video for a nice overview.

Make a Shelter
A nice beginning task, once you find a nice spot, it to build yourself a little house. Dirt works nicely, or wood. Or stone. Or bricks. (In Survival Mode, you’ll start with dirt or wood, until you gather some more robust supplies.)

In your house, consider placing the following:

  • a crafting block (made from four planks)
  • a bed (made from three wool sitting on three planks in the crafting block)
  • a chest (to hold your possessions) made from eight planks around a centre space in the crafting block

Set up your house with an inside torch, and a couple outside torches, and then, as finishing touches, add a wooden door and a glass block or two for windows.  Think LEGO as you go, and you’ll be on your way before you know it!   (Once you have a bed, you can sleep at night — a very good practice in Survival Mode until you get some other necessities of survival, like a sword for fending off those nasty mobs.)

There are some great getting started videos that will be very helpful early on in your play. You can check those out on the MineCraft: How to Play page — and once you start to have specific questions, the MineCraft Wiki is the go-to source for all the details and recipes you might want.

That, or YouTube! (Or, if you have a child near by, consider asking them! They may just have the MineCraft experience you need, and together you can move your learning forward!).

And once you’ve gone somewhere, or built something, or had an adventure, consider telling the story. There’s the story of what happened to you in world, and the story of what happened to you as a learner in the outside world. MineCraft is a great mill with which to generate learning grist.  We can all learn from both!

I will see you in MineCraft.


“Looking into The Small, Deep Pool” by GumbyBlockhead, on Flickr

“High Diving Platform with a Small Deep Pool” by GumbyBlockhead, on Flickr

“Building a First House” by GumbyBlockhead, on Flickr

Welcome to Mine Craft

Welcome to my blog. It is here that I hope to document some of my adventures, and my learning, and mine craft.  Mine craft of MineCraft. 

Although I say that I was once a little green ball of clay, in fact, I am a real person, an educator, who enjoys playing and learning with others in the world of MineCraft. I spend most of my MineCraft time either playing with my own children, or with other educators and learners on the GamingEDUs Professional Play server.  I also do other things, just not as Gumby_Blockhead.  

  • If you are new to MineCraft, you may enjoy learning some things about MineCraft along with me.
  • If you are an educator, you may enjoy learning some things about Learning with MineCraft, again, along with me. I hope we can have conversations here in this space, and come to a better understanding within this context about larger broader ideas like creativity, motivation, community, collaboration, character, and other important stuff.
In case you run into me in world, this is what I look like.

In case you run into me in a MineCraft world, right now I look like this.

In case you run into me in a MineCraft world, right now I look like this. If I am in Survival play (my natural learning habitat) I will likely be wearing iron armour, like this.  In real life, however, I look  like neither of these, nor am I green.