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Monday, August 22, 2016

Minecraft in Edu by Guest Blogger Dr. Debbie Cano

Would you like to know how you can make an entire auditorium of K-5 students go wild with ONE word? Just say Minecraft! If you would like to see those same students nearly pass out, mention this… Mods (shorthand for modifications). Lastly, let the kids know you are not a fan of “griefing” (destroying the creations of others) and the loudest collective “boo” will surely follow.
I heard about Minecraft from Alan November in the summer of 2014. Allen challenged a small group of principals to go back to our campuses and just say “Minecraft.” So, I did! The results were unreal. I had no idea how popular, enticing, engaging and motivating Minecraft is for students.
We began the McNair Elementary Minecraft Club in January of 2015, and immediately maxed out our computer lab space of 30 units. In fact, students had to share computers. Our club doubled to two labs, and boasts of a 30% female participation rate. At this time, we are only able to accommodate 4th and 5th graders, but we have students in K-3 who would love to join the club if we had space and units available.

McNair’s Minecraft Club has flourished because of the partnership and support of parents, and two amazing teacher sponsors; Ms. Jamie Reese and Mr. Dexter Suarez. Both teachers selflessly volunteered every Wednesday, from 3:00-4:30, for the entire school year along with a dedicated group of parents.

Denton ISD has a network for campus-based Minecraft clubs along with a partnership with UNT, TAMS, parents and community members. Our students are fanatics about the creativity, competition and coding integrated into the Minecraft format, and we want to capitalize on their interest.
At McNair, we use, an affordable and easily managed program for teachers and sponsors who are not Minecraft experts.

Minecraft was the doorway to coding during the club, and during an Hour of Code experience at McNair. In fact, every child and adult at McNair Elementary participated in the Hour of Code, and the interest in coding and Minecraft is spreading into classrooms and “infecting” instruction.
Read about the McNair Minecraft Club:

Guest Blogger: Dr. Debbie Cano

Life-long teacher and student who is passionate about creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

Dr. Cano is a proud product of Texas public schools and a graduate of Bell High School in H-E-B ISD. She earned bachelor and doctoral degrees from Dallas Baptist University, and a M.Ed. from Midwestern State University. Dr. Cano sees it as a pure joy to have served as a classroom teacher, coach, assistant principal, principal, and director. Because of the investment of great leaders and teachers along the way, she has had the wonderful opportunity to work in variety of settings including elementary, intermediate, middle school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. Educational entities served include; Shady Grove Academy, Keller ISD, Aledo ISD, Denton ISD, and adjunct faculty at TCU and TWU. In the end, technology, creativity, and innovation drives her soul and compels her to advocate for ways to illuminate, iterate, integrate, and clear a path for what is yet to be discovered!

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