Minecraft Code Builder
I am guilty of trying to avoid the Minecraft craze in schools, hoping it was just a phase. It seems Minecraft is here to stay and is going to be even more useful now that Code Builder for Minecraft has been introduced. I have always been for tapping into student interests and making educational connections, but never really made the connetcion in Minecraft until now. This feature will provide a highly engaging way to directly address key curriculum descriptors in a highly engaging way.
Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition is a brand-new feature that allows educators and students to explore, create, and play in an immersive Minecraft world. Partnering with familiar learn-to-code platforms like ScratchX, Tynker, and a new open platform called Microsoft MakeCode, players can not only develop computational thinking but can also apply their creations across the curriculum.
So I now join the Minecraft party, kicking and screaming. I will be spending a day while in San Antonio for ISTE, doing a 1 day Minecraft Education Teacher Academy. You can sign up to do this here.
Shiny New Devices and Operating Systems
In my experience over the last few years, the touch screen and digital inking capability of the Surface Pro 4 has made it a standout in the classroom. While the iPad Pro also boasts a lovely inking experience with pencil, it lacks the full operating system and the possibilities that come with that. Buying an iPad pro in Australia with keyboard, pencil and similar specs puts it in the same price range.
Pairing with their new devices, Microsoft launched Windows 10 S, a shaved down version of the operating system which also boasts tight security and speedy deployment features. These are ongoing issues in schools, as is the need for quick reboot between users of shared devices. In the demonstration, the device running Windows 10 S did boot up at an impressive speed. Anyone who has taught in a school computer lab situation, will know how very dreamy this is.
Microsoft Teams - the New Classroom
I am sad to hear that Microsoft Classroom will never leave preview. After using it this year I was disappointed but had high hopes for it. At any rate, it seems as if Microsoft have taken the best of Classroom, combined it with Teams and will launch a Teams for Education later this year to coincide with the start of the American school year. The demonstrated version highlighted the collaborative nature of Teams, but I understand more is yet to be revealed in the coming months.
Read all about my thoughts on teaching in the 21st Century, my experiences with technology in the classroom, running a Maker Space, launching STEAM and Design Thinking with students, coding, robotics and much more!
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