14 maj 2014

Minecraft: Hack the math

A working mate convinced me to see this TEDx clip on YouTube with 13yo Logan Lapante and hackschooling.

He isn't talking about geeky nerds sitting in their parents basement, creating and spreading data viruses. Not at all. Among other things he explain the hackschooling mindset with this picture.

And I can't help thinking of Gabe Zichermann when he talks about what increasing fluid intelligence, what you gain with playing games, gamification.

The hacker Mindset.
Back to Logan LaPlante and he explains. Hackers are innovators, hackers are people who challenges and changes the systems to make them more differently, to make them better, it's how they see it. It's a mindset. And according to Lapante, Everything could, and should, be hacked: skiing, education...

You could take shortcuts or hacks to get a better, and faster, result. Flexible, opportunist, and never loose the sight of healthy, happy and creativity the 8 TLC (look at the video!). But, here's the thing, doing this usually freaks people out. Especially teachers...

But hey!?
Where have I heard that before? 
And where have I seen results as that?
Well, after listen to Lapante I realized:
I've hacked the math! 
With Minecraft and Gamification (yep, again: Nobel price, here I am).

As most teachers who uses Minecraft we see increasing math skills. But it doesn't stop there, we also have the interesting point: What unintentional learning occurred? 

The 'hard data' and my evaluation
My school wanted the "hard data" to be shown. Because whatever results I gain, they need figures, something "on paper" to see it actually worked. So I had to come up with some sort of evaluation, and thanks to master Stephen Elford I got some ideas what questions to ask. 

This is definitely not any science, six students had the chance to use Minecraft as an option with geometry, three of them have answered my evaluation. At least one of them has dyscalculia. My scale is 1-6, where 1 is nothing and 6 very much, and there's no middle - either they are a bit weaker (3) or a bit better (4), I force them to think.

Knowledge before the Minecraft experience?

How fun I believe Math is?

Motivation during our classes and by the way, I got the same result when use Minecraft to learn math...

Your activity during class?
The activity was a fun thing. All of my participants are students that usually stays focus for 15 minutes. Now they where all sitting, without a break, for two hours. The only time they used their smartphone was when they needed the calculator. One of my students also participated in class when he was home and sick.

I have them to choose the best and worse lesson and put on a scale how fun it was, how much help they got from that class. They had to give an answer to the worst one but as you can see, it's still a very good lesson. They can't explain why, they had to pick one. 

Best lesson on a scale

Worst lesson on a scale

Knowledge afterwards
And I believe this is an important one and please compare it to the first graph. Do you experience you have better knowledge about math and geometry now? 

How much have you enjoyed using Minecraft during this math experience?

What have you learned (including the unintentional learning)? 
Scale, geometry, to be creative, solve problems, convert 2D to 3D, technical drawings, planning and foresight. 

And of course: 
They couldn't believe math could be funny!

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