MineCraft: What I’ve learned and how I’d apply to my students

Believe me, I don’t condone very many games in my classroom unless they are visibly educational. I didn’t think that MineCraft was very educationally relevant until I started doing the research around the subject matter. It requires strategy, spacial reasoning, and math skills.

I had my 9 year old daughter show me what she likes to play on MineCraft so she set up a world for me in the creative section on her IPad. She showed me how to build a house, and while she was, she built a 28 by 28 foot home for me by 6 stacks high using a pattern. While she did this, she was multiplying, using spacial reasoning, and figuring out a quick pattern while she talked me through the measurements. In my observation, I saw that I might assign some measurement skills in building homes with rooms, and even building city blocks with exact perimeters and areas as math extensions. She said that people can people could work together as well, so that also brought me to the conclusion that I can use this creative section to have students collaborate with each other to build a community infrastructure in math as homework since they consider building homes fun and building their worlds.

She said her personal world has a house that she’s built with rooms and much bigger than mine. This might be fun homework!

I didn’t get a chance to see the survival mode because our internet service went down for a few days, and the signal strength comes and goes. I’m not having much luck with internet access from home this summer which is  a bummer and a hindrance to any kind of work lately.

In my research, I learned about the way MineCraft uses tools to survive and build an alternate universe where a person must sustain themselves to live. I think I would limit my time with MineCraft to math in the study of measurement, area, perimeter, multiplication, and patterns for homework and after school extension activities.


week 7: 3D Printing and Reflection all in one

Okay guys, 3D printing is officially awesome in my opinion. I did some interesting reading about what 3D printing can do, and I was blown away by the thought of printing off a piece of my finger after cutting it pretty badly. Just think if the technology was present, the recent cut I had to the emergency room could have replace the nerves that were cut on my hand which are numb. I didn’t think that would ever be possible, like how people in the past thought that we wouldn’t ever be able to hold cell phones, hold personal computers, or have wearable devices with sensors on clothing!

Okay, so 3D printing in schools! I’m blown away by the video I watched where a machine was printing a plastic model in a classroom. I am convinced that these devices would help build motivation and excitement. Students building actual models for projects connects learning from texts and print to projects they can build and make to extend learning. The way that the programming works might also work well with the coding project I was skeptical about last week, as well. We can connect the learning and making plastic replicas related to the subject matter! How exciting to have a replica of a terrain we are studying, with the animals and the plants, lifestyles in a certain time period for social studies! We can model molecular elements in science! We can build a character and setting for a language arts project. The ideas are endless! In cultural relevance, we can use the 3D printer to build tools, kinds of shelters, and how to survive in winter elements. I think it will help the kids who need to see, feel, and touch to learn. It is also an extension for our accelerated students. I believe this would be an excellent classroom tool.

I have to admit that I may be I’m old fashioned. The thoughts in my imagination are wondering what is applicable to my students. I’m fighting the thoughts of what is amazingly tangible learning, to what I’m required to teach now. With teaching my English Language Learners, I have to find ways to make learning concrete, so this might be a way for my rural school to have concrete materials for subjects.

If only we had this technology in schools.

week 6 reflection

Coding? I learned about coding, read some interesting arguments for it and how it is so beneficial in the technology age. Thanks for educating me on coding guys. I’m just hard to convince at this point. There is just so many other requirements and mandates that teachers are expected to follow with “fidelity to the curriculum”. Teacher’s have so much to teach and I personally believe that I am a teacher to young students with a responsibility to character development including the responsibility to teach social skills they might be lacking.
Maybe coding will become a class my school district required some day, but for now coding will in the category for me to have learned about to think of some day. I appreciate the way coding teaches people to think critically, and to use specific structure. I also understand that my students have many needs and I have a list of required tasks at my job.

(I finally got internet access!)

Pros and Cons of Computer Coding in School

I looked in the section for elementary coding pros and cons. I have to agree with some opinions that students should learn social skills, fine motor, and gross motor skills( NY times roundtable). I can also say that as an educator, it’s getting so hard to fit in all the demands of different curricular requirements in my own experience. Should teaching computer sciences compete for the minimal  time I have for other content area instruction like science, social studies, health, and PE? Should I teach how children how to program a computer instead of how to communicate with people over the phone, or in person? When would we practice this when a lot of technology in our schools isn’t up to date in most cases. I don’t know if I wasn’t looking in the right research, but I didn’t find anything really to support the reasons to be against coding.

Phipps( 2014) says that it’s never too late to learn to program and her article spoke about kinds of ways to reach children across a spectrum of ages. I wasn’t saying that optimal learning of vocabulary was between the ages of 4 and 6. She also said that people in high school and college have learned about computer sciences with success. A contradictory article said that CS should be taught in elementary (Zamora, 2014). She states that kids should learn the language acquisition of CS alongside the instruction for language arts so that students can learn the high tech language in high school since they are predisposed to the vocabulary.

I leave you with this  quote, “In the 21st century, every student should learn to program, for three reasons. Computational thinking is an essential capability for just about everyone. Programming is an incredibly useful skill: fields from anthropology to zoology are becoming information fields, and those who can bend the power of the computer to their will have an advantage over those who can’t. Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) during the next decade will be in computer science” ( Strauss, 2014)

I am leaving my personal opinion out of this component of computer coding and I’m going to be open in reading and responding to others’ insights.


Phipps, 2014. Should kids learn to code?. Georgia Assembly. Retrieved on June 25 from https://blog.generalassemb.ly/should-kids-learn-to-code/

Strauss. Valerie. 2014. All students should learn to code. right? not so fast. Washington Post. May 29, 2014. Retrieved on June 25, 2015 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/29/all-students-should-learn-to-code-right-not-so-fast/

Zamora, W. 2014. Why coding should be taught in elementary school. Education technology blog. Evan Moor. Retrieved on June 25, 2015 from http://techblog.evan-moor.com/2014/04/01/coding-taught-elementary-school/

My Reflection of the IoT: How much is too much and are we becoming too dependent?

I am wondering, is the IoT more invasive than productive? We have the IoT everywhere. I read blogs that remind me that your website searches are tracked, so you see specific ads to the pages we search. My alaska airlines website remembers that I was going to buy tickets, and sends an email to my computer. Amazon has a list of all the things we buy, and has suggestions for us, and then the Prime website also keeps track of the movies was watch, and does the same thing.

Traffic lights, smart cars, smart cities, smart phones. All these things that have sensors? What is the world going to do with all this data? How useful is it to know and keep track of this?

I love the technology in the health field I read because innovations are making data collection of the sick more available.

My school keeps digital records of grades, attendance, and mandated testing scores required by the district and the state. We have to input so many numbers every week, and I do see the advantage of the IoT to keep attendance and breakfast/lunch counts, but can these technologies can go overboard?

Would it become so stressful for a student to be in school if they knew they were monitored 100 percent of the time they’re in school? It makes me nervous when it comes to this because I have had my own rough moments, and needed a break while I was at work to take a small breather. How would that work with kids, when they needed a break?

I don’t know how I feel about IoT in the classroom because we have to monitor the products that sell themselves as things that might make our lives a little easier. I think we should teach people to be able to have face to face communications with each other, and be able to collaborate well together to get their voices heard, but maybe monitoring all the little details could stay out of my realm.

I liked the out of school aspect, like my idea to connect to the fish that swim in the rivers, because that is interactive science and math. There’s even studies being done with the permafrost in our area with some sites helping log information about the level of where the permafrost lies from the surface to the point the tube reaches ice. That is viable scientific data which could teach kids how to track and triangulate data. I liked one of the other blogs idea of having a helper in reading. I’ve seen that accommodation in computer programs where the kids read online, so having that would be good, I think.

You can say that I’m not sure about this one, just yet anyway.

My dream IoT

It uses students to build technologies that will help in every day situations. I especially liked the example of reminding people when to take their medications because even if I’m not an elderly person, I would gladly use that device since I don’t have the best memory and being a mother of almost 5, full time teacher, and working toward my reading specialist degree, I need it. 🙂 That idea made me think that when we problem solve, and integrate a technological aspect, it will make life seem easier, therefore making it an IoT, Internet of Things (the internet of things)

Face it, we all have some device that helps us in our day to day, and I’ve come to depend on my cell phone’s self timer, alarm clock, and easy storage of memory for me where I don’t have to remember any phone numbers. My son even showed me an app that he put on his phone that will take a picture of a person who tries to unlock his phone!

The way health care collects data is pretty interesting! I never knew that a product called AliveCore can monitor a heart disease patient. You know even the small cameras being used for surgical procedures, or monitoring the contents of a refrigerator is insane (What is the Internet of Things and Why does it Matter?)

Okay, now it’s my turn to invent something that is beneficial to my students and our area. I have been wondering how salmon are counted in our rivers. Our rivers have been heavily restricted for subsistence fishing and I think this affects more than just my classroom of learners. I would approach this IoT under the guise that fish are counted using weirs and a formula by Cappiello(1998) used people to count with the following formula: “20 min per hour from 1200 to 0600 hours. Twenty-minute counts were conducted for 24 hrs per day at least once per week. Missing hourly counts were estimated using the hourly proportions from days with 24-h counts. Daily salmon passage by species was estimated by multiplying the daily sum of the 20-min counts by 3.” In a math class we can multiply mock numbers of fish and assess how this would benefit our fish counts. We would list how this is beneficial. Pros and cons would be weighed.

I think I would approach this IoT in a way that the students would help build a multi sensor device that comes across different depths because salmon swim in patterns and they also swim in different depths. If we develop a sensor on a rod that crosses at different intersections and measures where they swim and it logs with a video and collects data of how many fish pass a certain area in different locations that send these signals to a computer for analysis, it would show where the salmon go, where their patterns of swimming go, and we can assess what the benefit of this over a human counting on a weir would accomplish or a modern sonar that is only in one shallow spot in the Kuskokwim Bay.

This IoT would not only be useful in math, but also in science and cultural relavent content to promote how we can either conserve or learn the migration patterns of salmon who swim up the Kuskokwim to spawn. (This is my deepest wish.)


Capiello, Thomas. 1998. Kwethluk River Counting Tower Salmon Assessment Project, 1996-1997. Retrieved on June 16 from http://www.sf.adfg.state.ak.us/FedAidpdfs/RIR.3A.1998.34.pdf

The Internet of Things 101

What is the Internet of Things and Why does it Matter?

Reflection for Maker Space

Maker Space and the ideas you guys all put on twitter was amazing! Reading for the insight on the blogs was very insightful and I gleaned that all of us have at some point had extension projects in our classrooms that enabled students to use materials for building and creating models of what we were learning in text books.

I was most amazed when I realized without knowing that I use some low-tech semblance of a maker space. I am not working out how I can use materials from home and around school to have students openly build and tinker with materials as extension activities in our classroom this coming school year. That will be fun!

So I am understanding that when we incorporate technology to do research on how something is run and we build a simulation, this can be  a makerspace room. And just imagine adding things like writing extensions to explain, or the scientific method to run an experiment using the material we create as a follow up to a lesson! We can build topography and use maps off the internet to scale our elevations! These are such amazing ideas! Thank you for showing me how I can extend learning and differentiate for the students who use their hands and models to learn! This is awesome, so now I might start collecting materials before school starts. 🙂