Category Archives: Creative Mode

Welcome to the New Year! 2019 Sign of the Times Update

“LiraGrim checks out the fishies in the SOTT2019 Aquarium” animated GIF by @GumbyBlockhead

Members of the @GamingEDUs gang gathered on New Year’s Eve for the Seventh Annual Sign of the Times party. This year our festivities took place on the GumbyCraft server on an island in the middle of a newly-located Aquatic Update coral reef.

In addition to Jack’s Snack Shack, this year’s event featured a Trident Toss with prismarine prizes, a Battle with the Drowned arena, a Dolphin & Squid Aquarium (later populated with tropical fish), carnies, numerous shipwrecks, and for the kiddies, a Fish Pond. We also enjoyed a wonderfully exciting Dophin Jump Sea Steeplechase race, A recently restored Good Ship Blockhead was also available onsite for tours.

Mojang Releases New Official Minecraft Books!

Minecraft: Guide to Exploration (May 30), Creative (May 30), The Nether and The End (Sept 5) and Redstone (Oct 10)

Yesterday, just after school ended, I checked my email and discovered that Minecraft creator Mojang AB had released some new official Minecraft books! Although the email came from another online reseller, I checked the website and discovered that the May 30th releases were already available in my local store, just a short drive away! It took only a few minutes to stop by and snag a couple of copies of the first two hardcover titles, Minecraft: Guide to Exploration and Minecraft: Guide to Creative.

Last night, I checked again online and was surprised to see two other titles listed under the “Purchasers also bought” section of the website. As it turns out, Mojang is also preparing to release two additional titles, Minecraft: Guide to The Nether and The End and Minecraft: Guide to RedstoneAlthough they are only available now as pre-order, they have release dates of September 5th, 2017 and October 10th, 2017 respectively.

As with the previous The Complete Minecraft Handbook Collection (updated edition, 2015), the books are published by Egmont. In checking their website, there is additional news that the four books will be available as a box set, The Minecraft Guide Collection, around the release of the fourth in the series,  listed at October 5th.

The Minecraft Guide Collection (available October 5th, 2017)

Also listed as coming this fall are the following:

Minecraft Survival Tin (Oct 5th), Minecraft Mobestiary (Oct 5th), and Minecraft Annual 2018 (Nov 16th).

  • Minecraft Survival Tin (October 5th), containing the Survivor’s Book of Secrets (2016), a doodle book, a hostile mob identification poster, and stickers;
  • The Minecraft Mobestiary, (October 5th), described as “the definitive guide to every mob in the game;
  • Minecraft Annual 2017, (November 16th)

Read on, Minecrafters! Read on!

  • Minecraft: Guide to Exploration (ISBN 978-0399182013)
  • Minecraft: Guide to Creative (ISBN 978-0399182020)
  • Minecraft: Guide to The Nether and The End (ISBN 978-1524797232)
  • Minecraft: Guide to Redstone (ISBN 978-1524797225)
  • The Minecraft Guide Collection (ISBN 978-1405288576)
  • Minecraft Survival Tin (ISBN 978-1405288200)
  • Minecraft Mobestiary (ISBN 978-1524797164)
  • Minecraft Annual 2018 (ISBN 978-1405287586)

5th Annual Sign of the Times 2017 New Year’s Party

Please drop by on New Year’s Eve for the 5th Annual Sign of the Times event. The 2017 sign has been built, and plans are underway to celebrate the coming year with friends, fun, and fireworks! The event will begin at 7pm and run to 9pm. This year the event will be hosted on the Gumbycraft server, which now also hosts the  Creative and Survival worlds from the GamingEDUs Professional Play Server. If you were whitelisted on the Professional Play server, you should be able to easily join us! Login and simply take the portal from the Gumbycraft spawn direct to the Sign of the Times 2017 site.

#BIT15 Minecraft LAN Party at


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

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) !!

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