“Pairing ScreenBeam with Minecraft empowers students to take more ownership of their learning. Students enjoy the role reversal that occurs when they become the teachers.”
As an educator, I love discovering new technologies that motivate my students to develop higher levels of engagement, collaboration, comprehension, and critical thinking. Two edtech tools that have made a significant difference in my classroom are Minecraft and ScreenBeam.
Minecraft Creates Deeper Levels of Student Engagement and Understanding
I am blown away that Minecraft: Education Edition has put play and wonder back into the classroom which is sometimes lost for high school students. As a game-based learning platform, it is like taking us back to where we first learned playing in the sandbox or playing with Lego. I teach math, and sometimes math can be intimating and a ‘tough’ sell for some students. Using Minecraft breathes new life into assignments. It is awesome to see students have fun while engaging in math concepts.
Not only does Minecraft increase student engagement, it also fosters a deeper level of student understanding. For example, when my students were learning about surface area and volume, they created 3D objects in Minecraft that enabled them to walk around, over and underneath, as well as inside and out to get a real ‘feel’ for each object. Exploring the 3D objects in Minecraft naturally sparked deeper conversations about the relationship between surface area and volume.
ScreenBeam Increases More Opportunities For Teachable Moments
Before I discovered ScreenBeam, I was tethered to the front of the class and had to ‘run’ back and forth to groups to share information or share student work. With ScreenBeam, I am now able to interact with my students more efficiently and effectively. I am more in tune and aware
with the learning going on, and I am able to capitalize on teachable moments—building sharing, and playing with ‘no strings attached.’
Pairing ScreenBeam With Minecraft Fosters Student-Led Learning
When my students are sharing their Minecraft worlds on the projector screen through ScreenBeam, they are taking more ownership of their learning. They are enjoying the role reversal that occurs when they become the teachers. The students are more engaged in their learning as the environment is conducive to different learning styles and student voice. For instance, during our slope unit, when students created roller coasters, it was interesting to see how students came up with solutions to create a straight vertical drop as part of showing an undefined slope. Students quickly realized that if a mine cart falls off an edge, it will come down more as a parabola than a straight vertical drop.
Final Thoughts: Take A Leap of Faith
Whether you use ScreenBeam and Minecraft separately or combined, you need to be at least ok with giving up some of the traditional classroom ‘norms’ and take a ‘calculated’ risk. There are amazing learning and relationship building opportunities when both of these tools are used in unison that just are not available within the limits of traditional methods. By integrating Minecraft and ScreenBeam into your classroom, the new levels of interactions and are definitely worth the effort!
Want to learn more about ScreenBeam? Contact the ScreenBeam team.
A Formative Story – Using Formative In My Math Class
My Formative story is a simple yet powerful one. I was initially hooked using Formative by the annotating a document/PDF feature. However, as I explored other features and became a part of the amazing Formative Community, I was able to take my Formatives and the learning opportunities they afforded to another level. Therefore, I will share a story on a Formative I used to help my Grade 11 math students explore and show their understanding of slope. I decided to flip the instruction on this one by using a video I was able to edit inside of Ed Puzzle and easily embed into my Formative. I love the fact that Formative is very user and ‘app smash’ friendly. The video allowed students to receive content and check for understanding at their own pace. I followed this up with another embed idea that I learned about in community. I was able to provide students with an interactive slope tool through Geogebra. This was an excellent ‘hands-on’ opportunity to ‘play’ with and check out concepts they just learned from the video. Next, I provided a short formative assessment that I created and was able to upload and annotate. The formative assessment consisted of a few multiple choice and a short answer question. The data this assessment provided me with a great picture of individual and class understanding of the topic. Data that I used to provide whole class and individual instruction on this topic. I also included a very informal question asking students how they felt about their learning of this topic. Finally, I directed students to workbook questions if they were done the all the activities in this Formative. Formative was a ‘one stop shop’ and everything I needed for the lesson was in one convenient place. I loved the fact that this freed me up from being in front of the class to interact with students individually and in small groups as they worked their way through the learning activities. Students loved this and were able to easily work through the tasks and provide samples of their learning. The formative assessment data allowed me to be the guide on the side and make instructional decisions as the students needed them (like in this story I had to go back and review question 4 as it was cause some problems for students). Students responded well to all the activities embedded inside the Formative and we had deeper conversations about content and how it applied to a Roller Coaster project we were doing in Minecraft on the topic of slope as well (the Geogebra applet really helped students play with the different slopes and how that looked). I loved the show your work question as I was able to use the examples the students gave to compare, contrast, and concentrate instruction based on what I saw. The multiple-choice data was a great ‘snapshot’ into student understanding and both the students and I loved the immediate feedback. My story definitely reflects the daily successes I have using Formative. It has definitely been a game changer in my classroom and I continue to grow and understanding how to utilize this powerful tool in my classroom.
Formative Used - https://goformative.com/clone/HSXWNK (Rate of Change (Slope))
(Article with images attached below)
Dean Vendramin. Educator for over 20 years. Currently Education Leader for Math/Science at Archbishop M.C. O'Neill Catholic High School. Have a passion for all things in education with emphasis on technology integration, assessment, professional development, and 21 Century Education. Posts are articles he has written for the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation monthly newsletter The Bulletin, Saskatchewan Math Teachers' Society The Variable, blog requests from memberships he is a part of, and his own thoughts.