So many firsts last week — first time in Dallas, first time at the Computer Science Teachers Association conference, first time presenting at CSTA, first preso on Minecraft…. Lots of cool stuff to report!
My presentation was on Teaching Coding in the Middle School with Minecraft. You can see the preso in Google Presentation form right here. I have wanted to use the power of Minecraft as a bridge to learning coding for some time, so I spent this school year experimenting with different approaches. My preso is a summation of those, with the proviso that I had some very specific goals in mind, which would probably be different from yours. So YMMV, etc. Spoiler alert: I finally settled on the approach used in Adventures in Minecraft book by Martin O’Hanlon and David Whale. It uses Python, and it seemed to work great with my classes.
My Twitter feed blew up the night before, as word got out about my preso. Got to say it was very cool to get all that support, especially from the aforementioned Martin(@martinohanlon) and David(@whaleygeek). The actual preso was well attended and it seemed to fill a need, as most people were aware of Minecraft and were interested in seeing what they could do with it in their classes. Keep in mind that this was a CS teachers’ conference, so we were looking at that very narrow strip of MC usage.
I got an invitation at the end of my session to present a pre-conference on Minecraft next summer in Denver at ISTE. Cool!
So what I enjoyed about my first CSTA:
- being at nerd central — coding, cool machines, cool apps, and
- cool people! Special shoutout to Dr Sarah Guthals(@sarahguthals) from LearntoMod who has a great product and is an awesome fellow traveler on this coding in Minecraft journey
- meeting some people I only knew from reading them, like Alfred Thompson(@alfredtwo) and Mark Guzdial, and Laura Blankenship(@lblanken)