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!
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.