Minecraft is a Virtual Reality game platform for Authentic, Collaborative & Cognitive learning experiences.
Between 2011 and 2022 I used Minecraft in class to teach Computer Science & Programming at Alfriston College.
I created minecraft.school.nz.
In 2013 I organised a group of my Year 9+10 students to create Alfriston College in Minecraft, we put a video of it on YouTube. Auckland Museum saw our video and invited us to collaborate on their Gallipoli project.
In 2014 Auckland War Memorial Museum commissioned Alfriston College students to recreate the landscape of 1915 Gallipoli in Minecraft for the 100 year anniversary of World War One ANZAC 2015 exhibition. 35 of my students built an authentic version of the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey where the military campaign happened. This Gallipoli Minecraft world was shared with every school in New Zealand for students to learn about Gallipoli and is still available for worldwide download.
I was responsible for developing the Alfriston College Computer Science curriculum. Students learnt Java, Python and other programming languages to develop projects for NZQA L1 to L3 Computer Science assessments.
Between 2011 and 2016 we ran our own school Minecraft server and developed a world for students to learn to the principles of Computer Science by coding in a fun game based environment.
Students used Lua (the programming language Minecraft is based on) to program Minecraft Turtles to do tasks using Loops, While Loops, If Statements, Variables, Functions and Array commands.
These videos show examples of student programmed turtles navigating the world maze, digging, building and breaking blocks activities using the six coding commands.
We created a NZQA AS91883 Computer Programming assessment which the Year 11 students code within Minecraft, these two videos show examples of the students assessment projects.
Learn about Computer Science and Programming by doing the Hour of Code tutorials code.org/minecraft
Learn about Artificial Intelligence by doing the these five AI Minecraft activities.
Learn principles of Computer Science by coding a data set of images for predictive analysis, using large volumes of live data & coding Agents for AI using reinforcement Machine Learning algorithms in Minecraft.
To do these AI tutorials you need to know how to code + mod in Minecraft.
You will use Algorithms, Block-based programming, CamelCase convention, Commenting code, Commenting out, Compound logical operator, Control structure, Functions, Loops, Pseudocode & Variables in your coding + modding.
These Minecraft projects are part of Microsoft's 'AI for Earth' initiative for environmental innovation.
AI#1 - Who is that Ocelot? Take part in a biodiversity study using real time AI animal movement tracking & Machine Learning to recognise patterns in animal fur. education.minecraft.net/lessons/ai-1-who-is-that-ocelot
AI#2 - Mapping terrain. Be part of a team of researchers, engineers & scientists that use AI to observe deforestation, tree disease & animal migration in a remote forest so that conservation efforts can be directed there to help the delicate ecological system. education.minecraft.net/lessons/ai-2-mapping-terrain
AI#3 - Sustainable farming. Help the local population of a farm be more effective, to make sure there’s not a shortage of food, optimize farming & create a more sustainable food source using AI predictive analysis.
AI#4 - Ocean observations. Help ocean researchers gather data and maintain equipment. This research is part of a scientific investigation that studies the impact of climate change, because coral reefs are a good indication of the state of our climate and its overall impact on ocean life. The Agent needs to be coded so that it can reach research equipment on the ocean floor & repair it when necessary using pathfinding AI.
AI#5 - Water quality. Village people have been getting sick from drinking contaminated water. Collect water samples & use a database to analyze the water using an AI machine learning algorithm to find the source of the pollution. The algorithm will make it possible for the students to travel to the contaminated locations & stop the pollution. education.minecraft.net/lessons/ai-5-water-quality
My students learnt the principles of Chemistry by using it in Minecraft minecraft.school.nz/chemistry.