“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.
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.