Tag Archives: GamingEDUs

Minecraft Education Edition #MinecraftEE – Part 2: A Tutorial World

MinecraftEE_Part2

NOTE: If you’ve not yet read Minecraft Educaton Edition #MinecraftEE – Part 1: A First Look, you might like to visit that post and then return here for Part 2.

Sunday Morning: A Tutorial World

Sunday morning I came across a tweet linking to a Tutorial world for use with Minecraft: Education Edition, and the file shed some bright lights¬†ūüôā on the as-yet-to-be-seen¬†education features.

The file was easy to download (obtain Tutorial World.mcworld here) and super easy to import with the new Import/Export interface. (NOTE: This one feature for sure beats rooting around (pun) in the Library/Application Support/Minecraft/Saves for a folder of data to share, as is currently the case with vanilla Minecraft!)

#MinecraftEE includes a very easy-to-use Import button for bring in shared world files.

#MinecraftEE includes a very easy-to-use Import button for bring in shared world files.

NPCs: Upon launching the file, I was greeted with an NPC (non-player character) “Tour Guide” who welcomed me to the tutorial. The NPC is a previously-available-via-mod Minecraft feature which has now been built natively into¬†M:EE. Clicking on the “Tour Guide” provided a large space to provide text-based information to learners, as well as an active link to a video on youtube, Welcome to Stage 1. Nice.

It's an NPC Tour Guide! A Minecraft:Education Edition feature has appeared!

It’s an NPC Tour Guide! Hooray! The NPCs dialogue button “Learn More” links out to Youtube. Very cool.

The tutorial world provides a brief introduction to movement, crafting, and an “open world” exploration before introducing the specific #MInecraftEE education¬†features.¬†The tutorial sequence was not unlike that experience found in the MinecraftEDU tutorial world (or the Teacher Training Zone #TTZ) on the GamingEDUs Professional Play server, but it moved quickly through three stages:

Stage One: Movement  (WASD, space) for navigation, mouse-look, lever to open door, breaking blocks, swimming, breaking and placing blocks, climbing ladders.

Stage Two: Crafting (harvesting (punching) wood, inventory, planks and sticks, crafting a Crafting Table, recipe for crafting a pick), and breaking through stone,

Stage¬†Three: Open World (exploring a stone pick, making torches, mining coal and iron ore, building a door, harvesting and replanting carrots and wheat, making bread, and finally making a furnace and smelting some iron — I added those last two.)

Here’s a little video of my adventures through Stages One, Two, and Three.

After working my way through Stages One, Two, and Three, I arrived at the hoped-for Stage Four: Education Edition Features They do exist in this release! Hooray! You just need to know how to find them.

The Camera

New in #MInecraftEE is a camera block, which allows you to easily capture an image of a scene or take a selfie. You can either place the camera on the ground to capture an image, or simply right click while holding the camera in your hand. Note that the ability to take full-screen captures exists¬†in vanilla #Minecraft through the F2 key — the only challenge is (again) rooting through and digging the images out of the Library/Application Support/Minecraft/screenshots folder. #MInecraftEE makes this a bit easier for learners and teachers alike, although I would like a full-screen option as well as the “polaroid” form factor image. You can see me holding the camera block in each of the “polaroid” images below.

Hooray! We've struck #MinecraftEE teacher features!

Hooray! We’ve struck #MinecraftEE teacher features! I’ve taken a picture with the built-in camera!

The Portfolio

The Portfolio provides a two-page-at-a-glance book interface, with a captioning option.

The Portfolio provides a two-page-at-a-glance book interface, with a captioning option. The Portfolio can be exported.

The Portfolio collects images taken with the Camera, and provides a captioning facility to allow learners and teachers to provide a brief annotation. The text is styled in the blocky-Minecraft script. It’s a bit hard to read, both on-screen and when the images are exported via the Portfolio’s export function. (The portfolio creates a .zip file, which contains one file for each “photo” taken — any added caption is included as part of the image.) But again, this is a step-up from the vanilla F2 screen capture.

Allow and Deny Blocks

Allow and Deny Blocks allow and deny changes above or below them.

Allow and Deny Blocks allow and deny changes above or below them.

#MinecraftEDU provided¬†a number of options for ensuring that areas of an instructional world file remain unchanged by visitors. Essentially a binary pair of blocks (placed below ground level) either permit or deny changes to the blocks above. The #MinecraftEE Tutorial World has the Allow and Deny Block on display, but they are really not implemented in the tutorial so as to demonstrate how they might be used. Rather, the educator¬†is prompted to “think about how you can use Allow and Deny Blocks in your worlds.” This is something likely to be remedied in an updated Tutorial World file in the near future, I’d guess.

Slates, Posters, and Boards

"Slates, and Posters, and Boards. Oh my!"

“Slates, and Posters, and Boards. Oh my!”

Upon seeing the Slates, Posters, and Boards,¬†¬†my¬†second¬†thought (after asking “Why can’t I break or edit these?”) was, “Why aren’t these iPads or electronic display boards?” I find it odd that we revert to the blackboard metaphor in this day and age. Granted, they are a step up from wooden signs, but only just. ¬†(The answer to “Why can’t I break or edit these?” appears in Part 3. You’ll notice I was able to detach them from their placements …

Boundary Blocks

Fancy-looking, fiery-red animated Boundary Blocks. You shall not pass.

Fancy-looking, fiery-red animated Boundary Blocks. You shall not pass!

Another feature that has made it through from #MinecraftEDU is the boundary block. ¬†In the TeacherGaming version, the boundary blocks have no animation, and my application has always been to bury them under ground (with deny blocks beneath). The effect is that a player reaches an impassable boundary, and receives a message to that effect. In the #MinecraftEE implementation, the Boundary Blocks have a red, fiery animation. The effect is the same — the player cannot cross or fly over the boundary — or dig under. Again, my inclination would be to continue to bury them — thus adding a sense of magic to the play. These boundary blocks do not appear to provide a message to the user.

NPCs (Non-Player Characters)

The DemoNPCs speak of great potential, but it is hidden in the tutorial.

The DemoNPCs speak of great potential, but it is hidden in the tutorial.

Mr. and Mrs. NPC appear at the end of new Education Edition features. They are standing there, with their names displayed above them. ¬†Aside from that, they don’t really say or do anything. It appears that NPCs as implemented in #MinecraftEE do not move. They are essentially interactive signs, with the option to provide an active web link. They track to face you as you move about them.

In closing, The Tutorial World was not immediately forthcoming as to how to use the Slates, Posters, Boards, or NPCs.

But as I wound down my second (Sunday morning) session with #MinecraftEE, I poked around a bit and came across a key to what will form the bulk of the next part in this series:

Minecraft Education Edition #MinecraftEE – Part 3: Digging Even Deeper

HEY! It's Gumby's Dad! And a slate, saying "meet Gumby's Dad!"

HEY! It’s Gumby’s Dad! And a slate, saying “meet GUMBY’s Dad!”

That key allowed me¬†post a sign slate, and find Gumby’s Dad! And he even knows the link to GumbyBlockhead.com!!

The story continues ….

 

 

Our Very Best Wishes to You as you Explore and Create in 2016

GamingEDUs_BestWishes2016_1200

Hey! It’s Phisagrim, Emily606, Technascribe, Jack1225, GumbyBlockhead, Terragrim, PraxisMaxis, and Liragrim!

We had a great get-together on the GamingEDUs Professional Play server to celebrate 2015 and welcome in 2016. Full details, with pictures and even some video to follow after a few hours of sleep to recuperate!

2016 Sign of the Times Party

2016-Sign-of-the-Times-INVITE

The 2016 Sign has been installed, and preparations are underway for the 2016¬†Sign of the Times celebration, scheduled for New Year’s Eve. This year, members of our community¬†will be meeting in the Northeastern¬†Reaches of the GamingEDUs Professional Play Server (in Survival) at Gumby’s newest build, The Red Castle. ¬†You can join us by logging on and using /warp 2016Sign to get straight to the party. Things will be well underway by 8 PM Eastern Time.

Jack and Emma and CosmicDragon and Joop have all been lending a hand with getting things ready. Jack’s Snack Shack is back again, with the menu already posted. Emily has opened Emily’s Art Gallery right next door. We have a wonderful Viewing Area set up again this year, and Cosmic has started work laying out the wiring for the fireworks. Our Selfie-Station is in place in front of the sign, and we will be taking a group photo¬†just¬†before 8 pm, so be sure to be online a bit early!

New arrivals to The Red Castle may also be interested in undertaking a self-guided tour of the structure, which features a prototype sorting facility in the basement and an XP/ZombieDrop Farm just across the front yard. The recently-installed Pyramid Chickenatorium is housed beneath a nearby Desert Temple a short walk away.

As with our previous New Year’s celebrations in 2013, 2014, and 2015, the Sign of the Times: 2016 get-together promises to be a great event! Be sure to drop by! Party hats provided!

SPECIAL NOTE: ¬†In addition to the Sign of the Times party at 8 pm, we are also hosting the first annual Great Wall of Gumby Marathon Run Event, commencing at 7 PM Eastern Time, one hour before the New Year’s event. To join the run, meet at the Circle Garden at Gumby’s HorsieField Castle. You can get their directly by joining us at /warp GumbyMarathon — arrive shortly before 7 pm so that you have time to get fed and hydrated before we head out. We’ll be running the complete perimeter of the Gumbian Empire atop The Great Wall. We’ll conclude by travelling back by boats from the far end of the wall via¬†the ocean portion as demarked by The Sea Towers.

#BIT15 Minecraft LAN Party at bringITtogether.ca

BIT15_MinecraftLANparty

Conference attendees at the annual ECOO conference, Bring IT, Together! are in for a treat on the evening of Thursday, November 5th, 2015, as Gumby and other members of the GamingEDUs community will host their third annual Minecraft LAN Party in Niagara Falls.

The event get started at 8:30 pm and runs until midnight! Stop by Peller Estates Ballroom B at the Scotiabank Convention Centre in Niagara Falls on November 5th, 2015 for some crazy Minecraft fun! Details in Lanyrd.com

So Nice to See Mi

"It's So Nice to See Mi!"

“It’s So Nice to See Mi!”

Taking Care of Your Skin

Despite the fact that I usually play Minecraft in the first person view, it is always reassuring to see yourself and know that your skin is representing your Minecraft self.

gumby_skin¬†It’s really quite amazing that the entire external appearance of a Minecraft characters is captured in¬†a¬†tiny (231 byte) .png file. ¬†I’ve not adjusted my skin since I initially designed it back in June 2012, but I’m looking forward to seeing if there are any tweaks that can be made with the newer Alex skin that is now available.¬†¬†At least some headphones or sunglasses might be cool to try out once in a while.

The Original Television Gumby

Of course, the Gumby of my childhood was an animated clay television character. With the recent cold and wind chills, we’ve had a good number of indoor recesses, and on a few occasions I’ve fired up YouTube during our nutrition breaks and my students and I have enjoyed a few of Gumby’s early adventures.

Re-emerging into the First World

"Gumby on a Bucket" by @GumbyBlockhead

“Gumby on a Bucket”

In recent weeks I’ve been enjoying my custom personal GumbyBlockhead figure from EnderToys.com. Following the simple¬†acts of filling in¬†my Minecraft name,¬†forwarding a small sum ($9.99 for the simple, or $14.99 for bendable legs) and waiting for a couple of weeks, my 3D plastic self arrived. ¬†My First Life incarnation of my Minecraft self has taken up residence in my classroom, commanding a view from a bucket perched high atop one of the shelves at the front of the room.

Descent into Overworld

"Gumby Gets into Descent into Overworld"

“Gumby Gets into Descent into Overworld”

Earlier this week, my¬†physical copy of Liam O’Donnell‘s first Battle of the Blocks Minecraft novel arrived, and the First Life Gumby figure followed in the footsteps of his progenitor by going into Liam’s Descent into Overworld book to get a first hand look. We read the¬†electronic eBook release in my classroom¬†on the iPad earlier this year, and we are now anxiously awaiting the second in the series, Nether Nightmare, due out for beta readers in the coming month! In the meantime, the students are waiting in line to read the paper copy of the first book! Talk about motivation for reading!

Immortalized in Green Wool!

"A Giant GumbyBlockhead, built by Raj"

“A Giant GumbyBlockhead, built by Raj”

And then, this afternoon, at the end of the day, I was more than overjoyed when some of my students called me over to an iPad to show me the result of their efforts. Having finished their assigned work, they had taken a few free moments in the last period to collaborate on the creation of a giant, scale copy of GumbyBlockhead in their Minecraft PE world.  How wonderful! They really have done a excellent job, getting the scaling done very accurately, and even getting the slope of my Gumby head looking just right!

What a nice gift to end the week!

The Tower of Pi (with Pie!)

Tower of Pi distant

“Tower of Pi (distant),” by @GumbyBlockhead

While exploring the far reaches of the new GamingEDUs Multi-School MinecraftEDU server, I have so far encountered a huge ocean with only a few dots of grassy islands and two or three mushroom biomes (certainly a statistical anomaly).

However, on one of the islands in the far west is a most amazing construction, The Tower of Pi. Gumby’s Tower of Pi is fashioned in the shape of the figure of pi, built using the MinecraftEDU-specific blue pi-blocks, and is decorated in an appropriate fashion. To enhance¬†the visitors’ positive experience, the top of the Tower observation deck also features a goodly number of double-wide chests FILLED WITH PIE!

"Tower of Pi (closeup)," by @GumbyBlockhead

“Tower of Pi (closeup),” by @GumbyBlockhead

Be sure to stop in and take in the beautiful ocean panoramic view, and enjoy the tasty pie treats that are waiting, just for you! ¬†(And don’t forget, teachers new to Minecraft are welcome to join us for our weekly Tuesday Evening Build ‘n’ Learn Nights,¬†starting at 7 PM ET).

Explore far! Explore wide!

Your pal in Minecraft,

Gumby

Tuesday Evening Play ‘N’ Learn Events on GamingEDUs

TuesdayEveningPlayNLearn600

Teachers!

  • Would you like to have a supportive place to poke around in Minecraft?
  • Are you looking for a safe place to lay down some creative blocks?
  • Do you want to get¬†up to speed in how you can use Minecraft to support learning?
  • Are you keen to n00b It Up with your peers?
  • Do you want to have a better understanding about what all these kids are talking about?

GamingEDUs Professional Play Server is just the place! And Tuesday evenings (starting at 7pm) is just the time!

First introduced in¬†mid-October 2014, our¬†Tuesday Evening Play ‘n’ Learn Nights¬†are an ideal opportunity for you to hop onto the¬†GamingEDUs Professional Play server and hang out with me (GumbyBlockhead) and PraxisMaxis and the other Elders. Master your keyboard and mouse in our Teacher Training Zone, stake your claim on some land, and build up¬†an inventory of materials and skills so that you are ready to sally forth (or fifth) into the¬†World Of Teaching with Minecraft. Yes, indeed, there is such a land!

The hardest part in joining us is¬†making the decision to join us! Once you’ve done that, the rest is easy peasy!

  1. Get yourself a Minecraft account (pick a cool username!) and download and install Minecraft ($26.95 USD).
  2. Let us know your username so we can add you to our server.
  3. Log on to our server Tuesday evenings starting at 7 pm (eastern time) and join in the fun!

You can always drop me a line at gumby [at] gumbyblockhead [dot] com, or connect with me on twitter (@GumbyBlockhead) so we can prepare a fine welcome for you. Or just drop in spontaneously starting at 7 pm, and join us for some delicious Minecraft cake!

Remember, everything you do for the first time is a great opportunity to learn — and learning new things is what we’re all about!¬†n00b It Up¬†with us¬†and get your learning on!

Put Tuesday evenings on your calendar now, and we look forward to seeing you in the near future!

Your Friend-in-Gaming,

Gumby

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!

Gumby

See all of my Flickr Photos …

Holiday Open House at HorsieFieldCastle

GUMBYsHORSIEFIELDCASTLE_BRIEF_600

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 !!! ūüôā¬†

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,

Gumby