Students take learning to a new world

14/10/2016

Students at Sacred Heart Primary, Westmead have shown they are ‘game’ for learning in new ways. Given a scenario in which earth is being destroyed by a meteorite, students worked collaboratively and creatively to find a new world, determine how to get there, survive its conditions and use a range of fun apps and tools such as Minecraft and Wix websites to convince the world that their plan to save only 30 people is the best solution.

Using a new model of schooling centred around the 4Cs of Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Reflection, learning is integrated so that students draw on and apply deeper knowledge and skills from all subject areas to real-world tasks and work toward a specific purpose, product or outcome.

The project students from Stage 3 were engaged with was based on a science unit but integrated with literacy and religious education. The student teams had to really consider the values they would apply in choosing the survivors for Earth 2.0 and justify their choices - knowing that billions would be left behind.

Principal, Mary Kastoun was enthusiastic in her praise of the students’ new found confidence and engagement with the learning that saw the project teams using Minecraft as an educational game tool and explore the communication potential of website widgets.

‘In the syllabus outcomes they had to learn about space, their surroundings and the characteristics of different planets,’ said Mary.
‘But we thought that was quite limiting for our students. We wanted them to go further and learn deeply.’

Having sold more than 20 million copies, Minecraft is one of the most popular games of all time.

It’s a fun game and has captured the imaginations of players young and old. But it also has the potential to be an incredibly effective teaching tool. Players simply explore, find natural resources, build and craft in an infinite sandpit where, in creative mode, the sky's the limit.



Principal, Mary Kastoun was enthusiastic in her praise of the students’ new found confidence and engagement with the learning that saw the project teams using Minecraft as an educational game tool and explore the communication potential of website widgets.



The student teams used Minecraft to model how life would exist on their alternate Earth. In finding a new planet they had to think about the restrictions of that planet and propose creative solutions to make Earth 2.0 habitable and ensure the survival of the human race.

The school found that students responded dynamically to this kind of learning because it’s a creative, collaborative, entertaining environment where they are in control of their own challenges.

Year 6 student, Paige enjoyed being able to collaborate with her team and ‘experience different apps such as Minecraft to express my work and make websites using lots of creative fun apps.’

The learning also has a strong focus on developing and enhancing the learner's ability to interact and communicate with others.

‘Students had to pull everything together on a website created with Wix in order to sell what their ideas were to an audience at a summit, which was the conclusion of their learning journey,’ Mary explained. ‘They had to convince their audience that their solution was the right choice to make.’

Learning coordinator, Louise Kingsley explained that through collaboration the students needed to be able to think critically and communicate persuasively with each other throughout each stage of their plan.

‘The main purpose of it was to move on from the norm with group or team work where some children can hide while the control child takes over and it all goes one way,’ Louise said.
‘Through true collaboration they were able to offer their ideas, to be able to challenge each other, to yield in order for them to be able to pull back, evaluate and bring the whole process together.’

Dr Miranda Jefferson, who has championed the 4Cs approach to learning, noted that since the unit began there has been ‘a big dramatic shift’ in the students and noted the new found confidence in shy Year 5 student Samuel.

‘There’s amazing things happening and to see Samuel stand on his feet and be confident is incredible’.

Principal, Mary Kastound summed up the experience while addressing the student teams by saying ‘we’re continually challenging you to be better learners and setting you up for success not just at school but in you every day life’.

Posted By Ben Fuller at 14/10/2016 1:56:08 PM
 
   
  
 

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