PBS Idea Channel – Is Minecraft The Ultimate Educational Tool!

This is an awesome video! I really love the creativity of Idea Channel and all the pop culture references make it really cool!

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World Challenge cooking

This week, four World Challenge participants, including myself, from the Think Big, with the help of Ms Batty, cooked a Cambodian curry to help get a sense of the sort of food we could expect while away as well as to see how our version of Cambodian food and flavours compared to the real thing. We got the recipe here: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/28680/cambodian+chicken+curry+samlaa+khaeng+phet

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We after cooking and trying our food, as well trying some of the ingredients (I got tricked into trying some very strong fish sauce) we recorded some notes about the smell, taste, prominent flavours, how spicy it was etc, then got some of the other students from our class to try it. Every one really liked it and it was not as spicy as some were worried it would be, despite the large amount of chilli added. We also tried it both with and without the basil garnish. I found it gave the curry a “fresh” taste, for lack of better words. Next week we will be making Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls (http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/29075/hoisin+chicken+rice+paper+rolls) and then, when we get back, we will be writing and reflecting a bit on the differences between what we made and what we ate in country

Project M.I.S.T Gamification System

This year we have added a new system to our server. No, it’s not Tekkit, but it is awesome all the same, and something we have been thinking about since starting the subject over a year ago. It’s leveling!
Leveling/ranking was something we considered when designing the subject but looking back we didn’t really have the knowledge or experience initially to put such a system in place.
The system solves two of the main problems I decided were important to address. The first of which is motivating the students to do meaningful work in-game. This is where the work I did for the online coursera on gamification (https://www.coursera.org/course/gamification) was really helpful in figuring out what would motivate the students. It was a little easier after a year of running the minecraft subject to know what students wanted and what they saw as important withing a system that would motivate them. As I constantly heard students wanting more perms (permissions, basically what mechanics they can use in-game). So I created a set of ranks with points and permissions corresponding to each.
The next problem was that last year we generally had a lack of things to present and had trouble keeping track of what students were working on. I decided that students would get points for handing in work and reporting their achievements and learning. After handing their work in students can have it put up on our group blog (http://projectmistrhs.wordpress.com/) so that they can receive feedback from the wider community which we believe to be extremely important in building the students digital identities.

This is the list of the ranks and points:

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Wood Beginner/Starting point
Stone 30
Iron 60
Gold 120
Diamond Complete first big project and present to class
Emerald At group discussion
10 points = 1/2 (250 words) Page of writing = 10 pics (can’t be all the same) = 30 seconds of video Limit 20 points a week
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Students can gain 10 points at a time with a limit of 20 per week. They hand in pictures, pages of writing or video and if it meets the above requirements they earn points towards leveling up. After leveling up a few ranks they need to present a project to the class to level up to Diamond and to get to Emerald (our mod/admin rank) they must prove themselves worthy and put themselves forward to become a junior mod.
One of the hardest things about making this system was deciding at which level people got certain permissions. There had to be a least one big upgrade for each rank so people felt they were achieving at a steady rate and that a reward wasn’t too far away, another thing I learnt during the coursera gamification course.

Opportunities this year (already!)

This year is off to quite a bang! World challenge is almost here and I’ve already gone to a causal business-ish catch up dinner with a bunch of lovely people from the HITlab including, James Riggall, who I spent time with at the HITlab last year. (https://natbott97.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/hitlab-au/)
During this night I got to spend time with some really awesome and nice people as well as try some cool Indian food. James also talked about some of his future projects which are very exciting! I’m very thankful that I got to go and I’m hoping to work with James, and maybe some of other people I met, later in the year through my learning through internship.

Maths

This year I have two maths classes. I have my regular compulsory maths, as well as maths methods. Maths methods is basically an extension to normal maths and a lead up to higher maths in college. I’m finding the work load of two maths classes to be a little over whelming, especially with my world challenge trip fast approaching. It’s not that I can’t do the work itself, but its a little confusing doing two separate maths projects in the same period of time. This level of maths is going to require a lot of my spare time, especially when we get our first assignments, though I’m hoping that things will be a bit better when I return from my trip overseas.

School is back!

Hey everyone. Back at school now and it’s time to get back into updating my blog. This year it feels a bit slower starting off then most other years, though that’s probably just because I don’t really remember the start of last year. School (although slow) has been really great. I’m really happy that I considered my learning plan at the end of last year as it has meant that I can get right into things this year. In other news, only 52 days till my overseas trip with World Challenge! I’m really excited about it but I worry a little about how a month away will impact my preparations for my mid-year exhibition. The new four term system also makes things a little difficult. All the teachers say this year will go faster than any other year of highschool. I’m a little worried as there is so much to get done but all I can say is, Challenge accepted!