Most people recognize the power in feedback. Whether we are selling company goods, conducting a meeting or teaching in school, a dialogue centered on “How are we doing?” behooves the organization and all its stakeholders. We feel valued and validated as individuals when we feel our voice is heard.
But harkening back to my days as an elementary kid, I do not believe I was asked to opine all that often about my school day. And I get it: There is not a whole lot of wiggle room for 9-year-old’s opinion with compulsory attendance, obdurate curriculum and legislative mandates.
Yet, John Hattie’s work shows the dramatic effect size of learning when we utilize meaningful feedback. Now, I am a firm believer that kids engage more in their own learning if they have a say in their school day. Knowing this, as the first quarter of the school year came to an end, I asked my students for their opinions; their feedback. I offered them two simple questions to be answered. The first, “What was your favorite part of computer class this first quarter?” The second, “How did I do as your teacher? In what way could I improve?”
As the answers came in, I not only felt encouraged and affirmed in how I was doing as their teacher, but also felt a profound understanding of how vital it is to simply ask kids what they think. It is their education, after all, wouldn't meaningful feedback include their opinions as well?
I use Minecraft as an educational platform in my classroom. So, when I asked my 3rd-5th graders what they liked most during the first quarter, a majority (like 99%) of students wrote about Minecraft in their response. Most responses centered around student creativity, engaging imaginations and things along that vein of thinking. Yet, as I read the responses, I found that some were so meaningful and amazingly articulate, that I wanted to share them. It not only brought a smile to my face reading their words, but gave me all the push (and feedback) I needed to continue down this venture of using Minecraft in school.
So, I leave you a glimpse of what kids are talking about when it comes to Minecraft and learning:
“The best part of computer class was doing Minecraft because we got to express our creativity”
“When I got onto Minecraft, I realized that it was just like Legos. It is like drawing, but on a computer.”
“The best part of computer class was Minecraft and ButtonBass. Because u can be creative and actually think. Not just follow directions.”
“The best part of computer class was MinecraftEdu. Even if we have to build the same thing, no two buildings are going to be the same.”
“Minecraft was the best part because we use our minds. We use our skills. We also use our imagination.”
“Was MinecraftEdu because it helps people use teamwork. It can help people communicate. People can be creative”
“The best part of computer class this 1st quarter was minecraft because we were trying to encourage other schools to get it!”
"1 the best part about computer class was minecraft because i love to play with my friends and build amazing things!!!!!!!also i love exploring other peoples stuff."
"The best part of computer class this 1st quarter was playing survival mode because I don’t like monsters but I do like to have to find things."
“The best part of computer class this 1st quarter was minecraft because I like creating things with my friends and making up new ideas”
“The best part of computer class this 1st quarter was being able to play Minecraft. Because I like architecture and interior design.”
If you are interested in teaching with Minecraft, you can check out my past posts, or JasonWilmot.com/minecraft for some other goodies that I've put together. Cheers!