29 september 2014

Economics with World of Warcraft?

Some students asked me why I'm so much into Minecraft when you easy could learn Economics with World of Warcraft. 

First I thought, as most other teacher would do spontaneously: "no no no, NO WAY!" but then, over the night, I had a second thought and asked them again. And after check here and there, I changed my mind and I also do believe it's possible,

As I'm deadly tired of track down every student to participate when it comes to work and deadlines I've now put together a contract. I explain all the conditions and why they have to attend all the lectures, when we have agreed we both sign the contract.

And no, I'm not getting any extra in my wallet doing this but as my students I'm playing anyway. I can take time against time and I will have one more experience and probably some Economics skill as well.

Project idea 
Is it possible to learn economics by getting the principles and bases of lectures and practice them in the game World of Warcraft, a game that already has a functioning economy? 

On a selected server, Frostmane EU (PvP) Alliance, we will set up a company (a guild) in the form of a limited company. The project participants create at least one bank that operates from character Enterprises Ltd and participating in the activities you decide to happen. The people who invest in foreign exchange, belongs to the companys board of directors and have thus also shares in the company. 

Before the project seriously start all the participants doing a level test, the same test is done after the project to see if any learning has taken place. Principles and general grounds in Economics will be arranged by contracted lecturer (teachers from "Bachelor of Commerce" will help us).

The undersigned parties agree that it is a freely chosen course which requires personal interest and commitment, the individual student is responsible for all costs himself (playing time at Blizzard and any transfers of character to the project server)

The student understands that the he/she must attend lectures, show respect and embrace the knowledge the lecturer tries to give (listen). Absence must be supported by a medical certificate, otherwise you are no longer with the project. 

Time in the game is based on their own interest, when the project is finished it shows the manager how much time you put through /played. The more time, the better chance for more credits. 

Suggestions for implementation 

  • Project participants gather in a company (a guild) on the server Frostmane-EU 
  • The company has limited liability company form in which those who can invest offered shares in the company. 
  • Placement Test 
    • All participants are doing a placement test in economics before the project. 
    • All participants are doing the same level test after project 
    • Did anyone learning? 
  • Compulsory lectures in the following areas 
    • Limited liability companies, investment, shares, dividends, etc.. 
    • Bank deposits and loans 
    • Goods and services, investment, buy low, sell high? 
    • Market research, planning and sales 
    • Profit and loss account, profit? loss? 
  • Practice the theory inside the game during period 2, 3 and 4. 
  • Summarize and evaluate the project in the middle / end of the period of the fourth 


  • There will be a new expansion Nov. 13, 2014, what does it? 
  • The market is communist because Blizzard (the game company) controls the market through patches and expansions. 


  • Is it possible to check and control the market? 
  • Is it possible to manipulate the market? 
  • With the upcoming expansion, if you invest right, we can double our capital? 
  • Compare the game with reality 
    • What happens in the game when a patch or expansion? 
    • What happens in reality when it imposed sanctions on another country (eg. Russia) 
  • Can we get a guild to reflect a company with financial officer, president, vice president, shareholders, directors, responsibilities, stock market coverage? 


  • A high populated server (world) means better data, more consumers and more stable prices. 
  • With a good initial capital can control the market by simply buying off cheap resources and sell them more expensive for everyone will need an incredibly large amount of resources at the beginning (of the next expansion) to develop their characters. 
  • It can produce services that can be sold before expensive. 
  • New expansion involving the opportunity to own settlements are likely to affect the economy, uncertain.

19 september 2014

Games are here to stay: accept it!

Oh God, another day, same discussion, same topic.
We have to ban the games from the lessons. To ban games, it's the only way of proper learning (yeah right). The war goes on, those teachers have and will always have problems with games during class. Even though they try to prevent the gaming with software as netsupport the students will try to reach the games anyways. And please, that discussion, all that negative could you all use to something positive!

Who has the biggest issue with the gaming?

You: the teacher!

  • We know they play and will play games during class.
  • What happens if you control the game they play?
  • What happens if you allow them to play one only game that you decide?
According to my colleague T the only way to control the gaming is that you forbid them to play. Sorry, not working. The only option you have, as a teacher, is to make your course, class, lesson so interesting that your students don't want to play. But to forbid the games won't work.

The discussion we had this morning, of course I am nuts that allows games. Because my colleagues can't accept the fact they can't understand you actually can trigger more learning connected to the subject with a game.

Stop teaching 21st century kids the 19th century way! They deserve to be taught the 21st century way even if you was taught another old fashion way. Fail and accept it. As you can see, a never ending war :D

So how can I be so sure there's learning going on with games?
I run the same course (different group) as my colleague T and he doesn't accept games. Everytime I talk with him he's frustrated and angry over the students not taking his knowledge seriously. Me, on the other hand, challenge the students within a game and have them to solve problems.

Another interesting fact.
When it comes to traditional learning in school it don't have to be harder than a 50% chance to learn. Every second time you have to succeed in your learning process, otherwise you give up. When it comes to games it can be as hard and difficult that you know there's only a 20% chance to win. With other words, four times of five you can fail if there's still a chance to conquest and reach your epic win.

Does this actually work?
Sure does.
Got proof on this yesterday.
In my class I have nine students, six of them have some kind of challenge (dyslexia, dyscalculia and more). They give up with school issues way too easy, but what comes to problem solve in Minecraft, the are determinated to succeed and overcome the problem (I give them).

When you confirm their interest of games actually can be useful, they also use this new insight in school tasks. If you affirm this skill, illuminate the unintentionally learning and encourage them to use it you have created problemsolving, creative, motivated students.

They are not only learning computers but also language, math, technical engineering, problem solving, be creative, technology, collaborate and much more, and those skills are just the bonus of my actually purpose!

Skills they see they have gained in games they also has a better chance to use in school work. With a 19th century way of learning (2014) many of my students would not pass the course and also be socially excluded. Now they are average students like anyone else, or better, or actually one of the best in the class.

The key?
I started to teach the 21st century kids in a 21st century way.

One of my students has turned from being the best to be the worst, to actually be the best of the best. He does all the school work without giving up and he does all the Minecraft quest and taking them one step further.

Even though he use YouTube tutorials he problem solve. One quest was to make one digit clock, he made it work with two digits. He also constructed a redstone calculator. Yesterday I told him I had so much faith in him I +op him at our school server and the next step is to make a working calculator with command blocks.

See the light!
My colleague M, which I work close with, finally took some time looking at Minecraft and what the students have done. He saw the logic gates, and the logic - i mean - what you actually can use it to. And he also understood what I've come to understand: you don't have to master the game as long as you steering the ship, where you want your students to go (and learn).

If you allow one game and that game only, challenge your students in that game, would that result in positive learning?

18 september 2014

Parental meeting with gamification and kahoot

Yesterday we, our school, had a parental meeting. Some of my colleagues had prepared their parts (in their classrooms) with PowerPoints, the one I saw had tons of information in it. Others hadn't done a thing.

Because we have started this 1:1 pedagogy, where each student has a laptop, I thought I should show the parents literally what this new pedagogy could be. And the best way, in my mind, was to use Gamification and flip my information with a Kahoot quiz.

When I listen to my colleagues I also realized it wasn't any idea to even think about talk about my solution, I'm so much more into the future that it probably only would scare them :P ...except some of the female teachers in the practical nurse training area, they were a bit jealous they hadn't thought about doing the same!

Using Kahoot! on a parental meeting was a huge success! 
The parents review of the meeting was 5 stars.

I started to tell the parents that I'm convinced youth of today learn in a complete different way than we did (back in the days) and this way (Kahoot!) is one of the better ways to flip the theoretical parts into a learning process. Also, I'm sure they learn lots of things while they play games, for example Minecraft.

How did I do?
Well, before I started I made some preparations:
I had make sure I would have my class/parents in a computer classroom.
I logged in to the computers and set them up (kahoot.it)

When the meeting started.
Some of the parents wasn't used with computers, but it was easy to click with mouse on one of four very large buttons. The first questions wasn't any important, they were about me and I took the chance to talk about me, presentation.

I thought maybe 3-4 parents would participiate but all of them (15) joined me. There were no competition as I usually have in classes, but after 5-6 questions and when approx 10 of them had answered the left overs started to feel the pressure ;)

When we was talking about the length of the education, how many points they need and more I could inform the parents I had them to do some math during the meeting, the unintentional learning during the parental meeting :)

I got the whole bunch of parents both active and involved in the meeting. There was no chance to fall asleep or not listen. There was no room to misunderstand the important parts as grades, courses, attendance and so on.

I also got the parents on my side to use games, like Minecraft, in education.

12 september 2014


So finally I have it but unfortunately I had no chance to test it before yesterdays class. But why wait? It's like Christmas, if you have a chance to open the present you do it, right?

I'm so happy and thankful to be a part of the MinecraftEDU beta cloud server test I can't describe it. It has already helped me a lot and also make me concentrate on the important things: the learning. And there's a lot of learning going on...

The only "problem" I have with using Minecraft is that I'm not fast enough to come up with new challenges. On the other hand my students are not that good with documentation so next week they will practice that part, video documentation of some subject (or previous Minecraft quest).

According to my Masterplan I'm also in line with the goal of the course qualification requirements. 

I'm also damn sure I've chosen the right way of learning method because today I'm the replacement for my colleague T (the one course I hijacked) and dear Lord it's boring. 51 (!) steps in a lab environment (virtual box). The students are sleeping, yawn and doing else stuff but goes away to the tasks when I remind them of they have to pass my colleagues course, not mine.

So, what have we been doing on my course?
Well, the course name is "PCs and Peripherals" so that's what we been doing. We've taken computers apart and together again. When you know that step the students have gotten the next challenge: install a OS that is working with the generation of that computer and some problems occurs with the new generations of keyboard/mouses that doesn't work with the old ones. Problem solving! They have been installing WinXP, Ubuntu and Edubuntu and are not allowed to leave the machine until the problem is solved!

We have also been solving quests and missions inside Minecraft, digital working redstone clocks and more. Yesterday we started to try out the MinecraftEDU and what a nice experience!

Sooner or later my students will face the programming wall (Python, Java, PHP/MySql, Javascript) so I thought why not test "the land of turtles" world, an already made map in MinecraftEDU which includes ComputerCraft and in a funny way test programming (with turtles, robots).

In the forenoon and the real deal (computers) there was three strong students as my helpers, they did everything fast and also helped their classmates. In the afternoon the roles were reversed, the weaker students (who according to other teachers will fail and drop off the education) ruled! They problem solved, improvised, were creative and also shared their knowledge with the others. 

So, when learning is fun (and learning is multiplayer), you can move mountains!

I also use mindmaps to engage and awareness the students what they are learning. And as important, make them understand they are learning more than just the subject (computers). In fact, we're practicing the the key competences for lifelong learning which was the unintentional learning that occurred in my first project using Minecraft.

The best part yesterday was my colleague M who have been a bit suspicious about Minecraft suddenly saw the potential and was thrilled over the fact we could use, learn and understand logic gates within Minecraft. They are waking up slowly but better that way than never :)

The best part today, I realized I also catch the weaker students with my way of learning. In my colleague's class there's a couple of students who doesn't understand the text (dyslexia) and the way to save that student is to pick him out of this course and put him in mine :P


This is not, repeat not, the way we should teach our kids in the 21st century!

When I saw my daughters classroom in her pre-school I got flashbacks to my own pre-school 1975. That's 40 years ago!!!

Have you been sleeping in a closet for the last decay? Computers and Internet are important and natural things in our kids every day life. They are the Generation Global! And no, even though they play lots of videogames they don't breath it, but you should be aware it is an important thing in their lifes.

They breath Internet.

AquaVera has used iPad since 2yo, computers since 3yo and she has since that age been doing three things with Internet: learn (children sites has lots of info of space, enviroment, ecology and more), search (youtube) and game.

I was at least expecting a computer for the teacher and a video canon, maybe some cameras (or better iPads) but not only papers. I was expecting a mix, best of two worlds...

And dear Lord have mercy... Girls of today are as much skilled in computers and games than boys. Accept it.

Dear readers, as you can see I'm a bit frustrated. And refer AquaVera to 'the small blonde' will never happen again, that was just a try to get you understand times has changed, whatever you like it or not :P

10 september 2014

The small blonde

My daughter, the small blonde, the 6 year old gamer Aquavera as you might heard me talking about have run into a challenge. Her teachers in pre-school have no idea, and what so ever, about a game called Minecraft...

Should I be surprised?
Well, probably not... :P

Here's the thing, last week when she had the flu I was working from home and I thought there might be a chance my students will be online on our project Minecraft server. If so, I can have the class from home. A bit too high expectations because my replacement can not understand the point of involving the game in teaching. But still, we were there and had to to something so we started to build her school...

And that was fun.
It triggered a lot of learning and questions and thoughts. For example, we had this map which we tried to follow as much as we could:

The following days we discussed a lot of what the school looked like in real and we both took lots of pictures. I was allowed to take some of them on the outside (she pointed what to take pictures of) but when it came to the inside she wanted to do all the photo documentation by herself.

When we started to analyzed and reflect over how it looked in real life she came up with following changes we have to do:
  • Changing the roof
  • Raising the walls with a block so we get the order of the windows
  • The area around the playground must look right 

And as you could see from above, it's so much learning going on and it's a truly goldmine to use in education. She doing lots of stuff I only could have dreamed about myself in her age.

The small blonde also talked with her teachers about this little project but they didn't understand a word. And please, if this 6 year old girl does all that stuff, and you have all those old fashion thoughts about boys and girls and videogames, wouldn't that at least give you some warning signals where the world is going?

OK, so next thing, also about Minecraft.
The small blonde, again, had done some information search and has been jibbering, babbling about set up a My Little Pony minecraft server since May. I've tried to explain it's too complicated and expensive, takes too much time and she's been telling me the opposite.

So yesterday, after one of my students had explained some and helped me with a tutorial, we could start get the MLP up on her game/computer. We had a delay of one day because I wasn't allowed to do this by myself: she wanted to be apart of it. She couldn't wait to test it and please have a look and a second thought about what she looks like, what she is doing.

  • Focus: long and short distance.
  • Control: WASD + mouse.
  • Creative: have already a building plan.
  • Problemsolving: flying because of the monsters but took the opportunity to skill up her aiming with bows instead of be afraid.
And later that evening, when she was asleep, my student also told me the mod is client based, I don't need a server, I just need a server that could work with the 1.6.4 version of Minecraft.

So, in the end, yes she was right.
It was simple, easy and took no time to fix.

This morning the small blonde summarized it with three little words:
"I told you."

If I'm old, stupid and think my way is the best I would end there. 
But isn't there something for myself there to learn? 
Yeps, sure is:
  • Youth of today learn in a complete different way than we expect, think or believe.
  • You (yourself) are never too old to learn.
  • Have a little faith in our kids. 
  • Key competences for lifelong learning
  • We have to seriously start to think how we teach the youth of today, becasue they are our future!

So fellow teachers and colleagues, please open your eyes!

Six year year old girl - and you better believe she's not alone - doing all those things because she thinks it's fun

Take advantage of it! 

Use it when you teach our kids! 
You don't have to master the tech or the games, you only have to use it. And to do that you have to leave your comfort zone and dare

And guess what? 
It's worth the risk...

1 september 2014

I hijacked a colleague's lesson

One colleague of mine also has this "PCs and Peripherals" course, he's actually the one who usually has them but this year both classes of IBT-students have the course at the same time and you can't clone him. Therefor I got the other one, the one he didn't want (another town), and the one he do teach is the class I'm the classteacher of.

Many of my colleagues tell me I'm doing wrong when I'm stick to my Masterplan so last Friday I started to doubt on myself: am I nuts or am I brilliant?
Anyhow, I also needed inspiration what to teach and besides, as a classteacher I also wanted to be sure my class was doing alright.
So I attended his class. 

I sat there and enjoyed, listened and took notes. 
Listened, questioned, took notes on and on.

Suddenly when I looked around me I realized I'm the only one taking notes and probably the only one listening (!). One student was sleeping at his desk and sleeping so hard you couldn't woke him up. The other ones were doing something else: Facebook, newspapers, comic sites and you name it. 

This teacher has lots and lots of knowledge and experience but man, his lessons are boring. After 30 min I was very frustrated over the situation, students without interest and a teacher who continue without changing his didactics.

I had to wake them up!
I mean, really?
It was an EPIC FAIL!

So I asked my colleague if I could borrow like 10 min to give them a wake up call, and he gave me green light. I'm not an expert, not even a 'real' teacher, but at least my students stay awake...

And now dear readers, now we're coming to the part I don't know if I'd be proud of or if I'd feel ashamed of.
I f**king hijacked his course!

I took one of my Kahoot! quizzes and that's always an excellent option to trigger the learning process. And what an excellent tool Kahoot! really is! Man, you should have been there... All in a sudden they were

  • Learning
  • Discussion
  • Active
  • Problemsolving

The result was all beyond my expectations! In two (2) minutes the whole class attention was focused on me, I was in the spotlight and I had all chances in the world to bring out the message, the learning, the education. 

One quiz of 22 questions became a second quiz with 20 questions. The class wanted more and more. They didn't want to have breaks, all they wanted was to play and learn more.

And now when I looked into my colleagues eyes, which was all black, I understood: I hijacked not even the lesson but the whole course. Man, he's pissed :P ...but I gave him something to think about, I sure did. I couldn't talk with him on Friday but today he came to me with two things:
  1. He has started with some Kahoot! quizzes
  2. I'm not allowed to attend his classes anymore...

My own course?
Well according to my Masterplan I'm doing great! Especially after I've attended my colleagues lessons... What my other colleagues think about the problem of gaming during class I don't have that problem. 

No, they are allowed to play one game and do challenges inside that one only game. During my lessons there's something happens all the time, if we have nothing to do we just don't sit still and practice waiting, we have Minecraft.

This week in my course we've had lots of discussions, talked much about what skills they already have, what we should focus on. They had a mission to think about what a PC is and how it works, write it down on approx three A4 (with pictures and writing rules). 

My theory lessons all starts with the quiz gaming plattform Kahoot! and usually ends in massive discussions and some googling to prove I'm wrong :D What came to Minecraft logic gates was easy peasy so I had to improvise a harder quest: make a digital clock with redstones!

The guys in my course didn't want to leave class because they was sooo close to a breakthrou with the redstones. They've realized two important things 

  • Learning is fun.
  • Learning is multiplayer.

...and you have no time (or need) to sleep on my lessons...