You are browsing the archive for octel.

The end of #ocTel

July 16, 2014 in

OK, so real life intervened and for the final 2 weeks of ocTEL I wasn’t able to participate as fully as I wanted to. I managed to pull in the webinars and did do some reading and thinking, but not as much writing and reflecting as I wanted to. However, overall this has been an excellent experience and given me some great ideas about where to go next.

Immediate things on my radar are to start developing my portfolio for CMALT. I know I’ve got to get started on this, because life suddenly gets busier in September, having registered for an MSc as well as doing all my teaching (see separate blog post for more ramblings on this). I also came across some specific technologies that I want to start using this year, so I need to get those embedded into my plans over August. Lots to do, and never enough time to do it all!

Huge thanks to all of the team at ocTEL – it was an excellent course and one which I’d definitely recommend to people!

My Big Question on ocTEL

July 10, 2014 in

question mark

When I started out on octel, I defined my big question as  How to engage staff in TEL the perennial challenge for those of us who support the use of learning technologies in universities.

Did I answer my big question? Yes and No. Lots of useful ideas emerged through the conversation on the group that we established for this purpose and which I have attempted to collate in this padlet but there is no simple answer to such a question and even if there was it would be different tomorrow. The job is never done in other words. Staff come and go and have different needs over time, as do students, while technology itself is always on the move not to mention institutional priorities.

I identified the following key principles from the discussion and my own reflections:

  • work collaboratively and with management support wherever possible
  • build relationships – don’t try to launch new initiatives in a vacuum
  • context is king – take a discipline specific approach and make it as relevant as possible to the local situation
  • work with teams of staff who know each other using peers (champions) to influence colleagues
  • talk pedagogy not technology
  • small, incremental changes over time can be as worthwhile as apparently groundbreaking projects which may be unsustainable in the longer term
  • establish a visible and dynamic presence virtually and physically
  • take a very flexible approach to CPD
  • use students as change agents

And don’t forget to keep asking the questions and looking for new answers.

  question markquestion markquestion markquestion mark

PS Check out the padlet for some useful resources. I had hoped for more collaboration on the padlet but have enjoyed working on it nonetheless.


by glenn

OCTEL Badges make prizes?

July 3, 2014 in

So with OCTEL completed for 2014, I have the total of 42, participant badges collected for my Mozilla account, my favourite badge is the

Completed all OCTEL topics badge

Completed all OCTEL topics badge

Which took a while to attain due to completing all tasks on the site.

Not many of us have achieved this badge, out of 1100 participants; I think there are only around 4 or 5 of us thus far!

Onward and upward now onto CMALT certification.

My total point count for OCTEL 2014 was 13,265, it’s funny when I started OCTEL, badges and points did’nt mean anything, but they have helped drive me on through the course, only one last request can I transfer these into Argos points?

Surely there must be a toaster in it?

Argos Toaster

Argos Toaster

How to streaming Blackboard Collaborate (or your desktop) to YouTube

July 1, 2014 in

I suppose I should start with the why you would want to do this. Every time I join a Blackboard Collaborate session it’s like stepping back in time. Beside the appearance the technology in Collaborate is increasingly out of step with current trends. The software is built on Java, which is claimed to be in over 3 billion devices. Unfortunately for a number of users those 3 billion devices often doesn’t include the computer on their desk. Here is where the problems start as without enough permissions you won’t be able to install Java. To Blackboard’s credit they have spent time developing mobile apps not everyone is going to be able to use these either.

Aware of these barriers for ocTEL we decided to investigate streaming Collaborate session to YouTube. The main advantage for use in getting this to work is that as well as being able to give an alternative means to watch the session we immediately have a recording to share for those who missed it. You can see the results in this session from week 3 of ocTEL.

In this post I’ll outline the technique we use, which can also be more generally applied to any desktop application. It’s also worth highlighting that this is just one of many ways of streaming your desktop and you could achieve similar results using a Google Hangout On Air or the free ‘Wirecast for YouTube’ software Mac|Windows. The reason we didn’t go down that route was we wanted more control over the part of the screen being shared and we didn’t want to have to buy a Wirecast Pro license.

The software – Open Broadcaster Software

This package, as it’s name indicates, is open source. Currently it’s Windows only and can be downloaded here (a multiplatform studio version is on the way). The main feature of OBS is to mix and stream different video/audio sources. The feature we found particularly useful was selecting a region of the desktop. Here are the steps we use to stream an ocTEL Collaborate you YouTube.

The setup - YouTube

To stream the event we need something to stream to. There is various guidance on the setup and requirements of a YouTube streamed event. The important step is to make sure you specify an ‘Other encoder’ to get a Stream Name/Key to enter in OBS later.

YouTube Settings

The setup - Blackboard Collaborate

Before you stream you need to join the Blackboard Collaborate session as usual. In ocTEL we need a generic name (A_L_T). As we are streaming the computers desktop and wanted to avoid any other notifications or sounds for ocTEL we did this on a dedicated laptop with the OBS software installed. For similar reasons we also turned off all Collaborate audible and visual notifications from the Tools > Preferences options. Once you are happy with your Collaborate layout/settings we turn our attention to Open Broadcaster Software (OBS).

The setup - Open Broadcaster Software (OBS)

First you need to configure the connection to YouTube this is done in the Settings > Settings menu under Broadcast Settings. In here you want to make sure:

  • Mode: Live Stream (you could always use File Only if you don’t want to live stream but would like a video file to edit/upload after the event
  • Stream Service: YouTube
  • Server: Primary has always worked for us
  • Play/Path/Stream Key: this is where you copy in the Stream Name you got from the YouTube event page

Broadcast settings

Further down this screen you might want to check the ‘save to disk’ option if you would like a backup of the recording … and your computer can cope.

Whilst here you might want to switch to ‘audio’ from the left hand menu and set:

  • Desktop audio device: Default
  • Microphone/Auxiliary audio device: Disabled

Next we want to setup a scene. In the main OBS window right-click anywhere in the Scenes list in the bottom left of the window and ‘Add Scene’

Add scene

We now need to add some sources to our scene by doing a similar right-ckick action in the Sources list. For ocTEL we did a ‘Window Capture’ which lets you select the Collaborate window. At this point you could just click okay and import the entire Collaborate window but if you choose this option you might be better just using the free ‘Wirecast for YouTube’ mentioned in the intro. Instead for ocTEL we wanted just to show the presentation area and speak if they were using a webcam so checked the ‘Sub-Region’ box and click ‘Select Region’.

Select a sub region

Tip: When selecting the sub region you can only resize the area rather than using a combination of resize and pan. To do this move you cursor to the edge of the region until it changes to resize arrows.

Resize scene window

When you are finished press enter or esc, or click outside the region and click Ok in the main window dialog. Repeat the processes of adding a new source if you want to capture different part of the window.

Once you have your sources right clicking on them in the source list gives you some basic layout and position control. If you would like to fine tune these click ‘Preview Stream’ which lets you click the ‘Edit Scene’ button. With this on when you click on each of you sources resizeable/positionable boxes appear around you sources in the preview window.

Edit scene

Tip: You can turn sources on/off even during broadcast my clicking the checkbox next to them. You can also use the ‘Edit Scene’ button to enable/disable scene editing during broadcast.

At this point you might want to File > Save your settings

Going Live!

When you are ready to go live click the ‘Start Streaming’ button in OBS and visit you YouTube event ‘Live Control Room’ to check data is coming through and ‘Preview’ it. Finally when you are ready you can switch the from Preview to Live.

Tip: Because we wanted to make sure the session was streaming during broadcast we left some dead air at the beginning and end. After the event has finished, but not immediately available, you can visit the video on it’s watch page and click the ‘Enhancements’ button to ‘Trim’ the clip.

And that's it. This technique has it’s limitations in that, for ocTEL anyway, we did not broadcast or make the chat available, but it’s interesting to see the YouTube clips of the sessions are being watched and providing a jumping off point for our other channel content.

If you can think of any improvements or other ways of doing this let us know.

TEL Project Management (week 5 ocTEL)

June 25, 2014 in Blog post, Reader

Another interesting week covering a range of topics under management and leadership. I will focus on the project management aspects here.


Just looking back over my forum posts, I think I could be accused of ranting a bit about projects I have known and loathed so I will attempt to be a bit more constructive by selecting a few important principles that seem to have stayed with me several weeks after this topic ended.

I appreciated Julie Voce & Lisa Carrier‘s  structured presentations and opennesss about lessons learnt on projects they have been involved with, so my first principle is:

1. Admit failure and learn from it

There is often reluctance to admit mistakes on high profile projects but even if the team “get away with” things on a given project the chances are that the same errors will be repeated on subsequent ones. As well as admitting errors during a project it’s also crucial to learn lessons in the post implementation phase. Years ago I worked as a freelance instructional designer on very tightly managed project teams usually assembled by a third party provider.  Typically a dedicated project manager took care of the client relationship, allocation of resources as well as planning & timescales. I was given a brief and had to work within time and other constraints otherwise I would have been out of pocket (or out of work). On the whole it worked reasonably well though there was always a tension between what the client wanted and what they were prepared to pay for. Most projects were delivered on time give or take managed adjustments along the way and were usually judged successful according to the basic criteria of delivering what the client asked for. However, in the end quite a few of these “successful” projects never saw the light of day in the client organisation – why? We were never around long enough to really know but from what I could glean it was usually because the project sponsors had failed to define what success would look like beyond the end of the development phases and had also failed to consult widely enough with potential end users, which leads to the next two  principles:

2. Define what success will look like

3. Ensure stakeholders are representative

Another problem for well resourced projects like mine above is sustainability. An example that comes to mind is of a distance learning course that had huge investment in development (external writers, internal designers, academics, technologists) and then required considerable specialist teaching resource to deliver but which failed to recruit sufficient students to pay for the operational let alone development costs. Another principle therefore has to be:

4. Consider sustainability at the outset not post-implementation.

And another principle arising from the webinar

5. Listen to all concerned and affected by a new initiative, particularity those that will require major changes to working practices  e.g. e-submission.

And finally another one from the course resources themselves

6. Avoid “going it alone” on new TEL  initiatives even if they’re small – get support from at least one other e.g. manager.


#ocTEL Week 6: Activity 6.3: – Exploring enhancement and evaluation in practice

June 24, 2014 in

@iLearningUk and @thecommonpeople on why  Minecraft is a good educational tool.

So this is how it goes. I contacted Adam to see if he was interested in conducting a short interview via twitter to discuss how he has used Minecraft as an educational tool. I first came in to contact with Adam when I was looking for resources on YouTube to help me to go beyond the basics of Minecraft. I found his series called “Everyday Minecraft” which started out as a recording of how to survive your first night in a vanilla Minecraft survival game. His style of narrative and engagement with the game was instantly appealing. He creates funny moments and responds to his followers who are able to leave comments and suggestions that he then goes on to act upon in game.

In later episodes, he is joined by his son, Django (very cool name) and we suddenly get the perspective of a (6?) year old on the game and see it through their eyes. It is absolutely captivating and I have watched nearly 40 episodes so far. His original plan was was to do 50 days, recording an episode every day to create this video diary of Minecraft from scratch. His journey ended up in a mission to Mars and I am looking forward to following that up when I reach episode 50.

Adam has travelled the UK talking about Minecraft and how it has been used to teach. He has been involved in projects to bring Minecraft to Museums and is currently talking about recreating National Trust monuments as a project

My post-interview thoughts

Q1.  Thinking about Minecraft, what was the impetus and rationale behind using MC to teach with?

Minecraft is a sandbox experience which makes it ideal for creativity, exploration, ideas and concepts. As it doesn’t restrict you from the normal ‘rules’ of a game people in Minecraft can build and do pretty much what they want. In an interesting episode of Minecraft Minechat (episode 25) Andre Chercka discusses how he has set up a server for working with autistic children and in it he shows us houses with roofs built of watermelons (8:34). The idea that you can build a roof on a house made of watermelons is just incredible. You couldn’t do that with Lego. There isn’t a watermelon brick in Lego. But in Minecraft, you could build that roof with any of the 153+ blocks available to you. You are only limited by your imagination. 

So the sandbox approach that Minecraft allows is a creative, open-ended platform for learning that means crafters can experiment, explore, try things out in a safe, controlled way. It also allows them to cooperate, collaborate, communicate as well as teaching them secondary IT skills as they get more involved.

At some point, all crafters want to record their world and their activity in that world. So very quickly, they find out about screen casting, publishing to and setting up a YouTube channel, streaming their videos via twitch. These are all skills that will be useful in many online, digital environments so are transferable skills. In 2011, 53% of persons employed in the EU used a computer at work. Panorama, E.U.S., (2012). With this level of computer use only increasing in the workplace, the ability to be comfortable finding digital solutions to problems becomes more important.

Q2. What has teaching with MC achieved so far in terms of student learning?

Minecraft has been used to teach everything from Maths to History to Quantum Physics and computer programming. Minecraft has a healthy modding community (modding is the process of developing extra programmes or ‘modules’ that change the original game). There are several mods that allow you to further engage learners with a specific topic and many different communities using them. The mods often encourage collaboration and exploration through their games. In this way, learners are actively encouraged to find common themes and solutions to solve problems (Problem Based Learning – PBL). This approach can also integrate well with flipped learning as the two different pedagogies compliment each other.

The Minecraft community is largely self sufficient, providing updates to wikis, links to tutorials on youTube and walkthroughs on particular problems on Twitch. All of these resources allow the learner to progress their own learning in a self-structured way. Criticisms of this approach are that without the facilitators to guide the learning process, learners do not always lear what then need to. Without a facilitator in place, Minecraft sessions can quickly disrupt in to griefing sessions, or just personal build projects with little or no direction or apparent purpose.

I usually show this video to explain how minecraft could be used in education

Q3. What impact have you seen on staff where you have delivered MC in schools?

Adam talks about moving away from more traditional forms of teaching in to a more playful approach. I like the idea of this and support making learning enjoyable at any age. Getting engagement with the learning is all about making a connection with the learner. We do this with great presentations, with humour, with our personalities, but we can also use technology that they understand and enjoy to deliver our messages. The properties of gamification as defined by González, C., & Area, M. (2010)  fits with Minecraft as a learning tool and therefore we can consider it suitable for gamification of learning.

The change in one’s own pedagogic practice can indeed be a daunting prospect as Adam noted, as there is scope for failure and issues with employing new technology that has yet to be proven in a classroom environment. However, once initial fears are overcome through the support and facilitation of a good TEL advisor and with the continuing support of other teachers using minecraft such as the Google group for teachers there is lots of opportunity and scope to try out new ideas and to get creative with the teaching.

Minecraft use in Higher Education learning is largely unexplored at this point in time with few studies or research being conducted in this area. My own research is in the use and design of learning spaces in the virtual world and whether one can or indeed should look to replicate real world learning spaces in the virtual ones. I certainly will be looking to explore the use of Minecraft in Higher Education as a learning tool.

Q4. How do you know it has had this impact? What evaluation strategies and methods have been used?

Minecraft seems to have been a catalyst for many teachers who are finding new and exciting ways to use it in an educational way. Adam reports that he gets feedback from teachers who have initiated new projects based around Minecraft and the excitement that has generated.

He also reports that the University of Lancaster are working on a Minecraft Democracy project and that this will be measured through questionnaires and post project interviews. It is hoped that this will demonstrate links between the skills and how Minecraft can be used to engage and develop new concepts in teaching.

It is always hard to establish a cause and effect relationship between a learning intervention and a resulting positive, measurable impact. There is no doubt that utilising Minecraft can and does stimulate discussion, creativity and experimentation, but at present there is little science behind the results. We have studies of gamification of learning and measurable impacts against control groups, but perhaps the very sandbox nature of Minecraft makes it harder to control and therefore harder to measure? Does Minecraft need to be measured or is there a role for it to play in allowing students to be in control of their own learning? What ever the answer may be to this question, Minecraft surely has made an impact educationally.

González, C., & Area, M. (2010). Breaking the Rules: Gamification of Learning and Educational Materials. In Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Interaction Design in Educational Environments (pp. 47–53). SciTePress – Science and and Technology Publications. doi:10.5220/0004600900470053

Panorama, E. U. S. (2012). Digital Competence Analytical Highlight. Retrieved from


Conducting a VLE review

June 21, 2014 in Blog post, Reader

A post for #octel week 5 based on reviewing Julie Voce's VLE review presentation. 

Julie's detailed and clear project report captured though audio and slides is extremely clear and well articulated. The complexity of the task is obvious, this was a large scale review and re planning of online provision for the teaching in a multi-site institution. I can fully appreciate the steps that were taken, there is a clear logic to the process and, despite some pain along the way the outcome was largely successful. I am very interested in the "failures" and "lessons learnt" slides as they hold useful messages for reflection.

Our language learning online environment Languages@Warwick was created three years ago to meet the needs of a small (by comparison) group of about 3,700 users engaged in a very specific activity: blended language learning. It was informed by my research into language teaching methodologies and learner requirements and developed through a piloting process with our teachers and learners. The aim was provide technologies that could facilitate best practice on language teaching and support innovative teaching. So the scale of our project was different. However, I do wonder if there is something else that can be learnt from our experience that may help those looking to implement institution wide VLE provision. Some of the details are presented in more detail on my CMALT e-portfolio. 

  • Who were your stakeholders?
our learners (from across all degree programmes), our teaching staff, our institutional managers, our IT staff. 

  • What resources were used?
our teaching staff (esp. those already using technology for teaching), our internal finance (income generating unit), an additional technical staff member recruited to help implement the project, external moodle hosting partner, technology advice using channels such as Jisc, ALT and listserves with other language centre contacts. 

  • How clear/achievable was the project plan?
  • What fallback position, if any, did you build into your plan in the event of full or partial project failure?
Given the narrow nature of the brief and the fact that existing online arrangements were not conducive to the best use of our resources (human or financial) the project plan was very clear and was monitored and reported on at regular intervals. It was also flexible and shaped by our stakeholders. The fallback position was to rely on institutional development which would have had a significant impact on our ability to compete for students so failure was not really an option!

  • What methods did you use to evaluate your project?
We use both quantitative and qualitative data on an annual basis to review our project implementation. This is then shared with stakeholders in a variety of ways including papers/presentations to conferences, presentations at internal showcase events, and reports and documentation to managers. 

  • How did you measure project success?
Success criteria include:
-the amount of engagement from our user base through the Languages@Warwick VLE (course resource counts, usage patterns, student feedback)
-the capacity for innovative language teaching (activity in research for Computer Mediated Communication, virtual exchanges)
-the developing digital skill set of our teaching staff
-addressing through suitable technical choices the relative advantage of digital teaching so that we maximise the engagement for all stakeholders.

  • Did you celebrate your success and did this encourage further developments?
Celebrating success was a key part of the strategy adopted. From the pilot stage on, we encouraged tutors to share their experienced with their teams and the Centre. We used a youtube channel and a twitter feed to disseminate successes and these were aggregated back in to a core" Using moodle for language teaching" course to which all users were subscribed. 

As Julie identifies from her experience and we certainly found in ours, even when you plan everything meticulously and execute with as much support as can be mustered there are still some major barriers that can emerge during such projects that can really take a toll on those charged with implementing them.

Communication: never as simple as it seems. As a language educator I was aware of the complexities of human communication, the close connection between communication and power dynamics. Too often we interpret the need to communicate effectively as simply providing a "push channel" - a space through which we broadcast decisions and information. This ignores the importance of "pull" communication channels, the means for interested parties to get the information that is relevant to them, giving them control and helping to enlist participation. If people do not wish to engage with your message you have to rely on hierarchical support which may or may not be there. If others are suspicious of the project agenda and feel it may effect their way of working, again there is a good deal of advanced communication to do! Our project was clearly aligned with our institutional Senior management vision and yet that was not enough to make the path to realisation smooth. Finding out what others need and listening to them is importantly and I think this was rightly prioritised in Julie's project even if it caused the time frame to slip. We need to remember we are all colleagues working together for an over aching aim and as such everyone is entitled to their opinion, concerns and input. Any project plan or gant chart that fails to take into account the complexities of implementing change in an institutional context ignores the vital ingredient - people. Great project management qualities include humility, patience and compassion as well as the steely determination to make things happen Such qualities ensure the project will not just succeed but it will last because others will want to help you make it so. 

Messaging (3.0) – a case study in “off the shelf” vs “in house” technology

June 20, 2014 in Blog post, Reader

A very quick post to say I have just been talking to staff about messaging 3.0, when we as an institution we are not even up to speed with support Facebook and Twitter (assuming they count as Messaging 2.0!;-)

Messaging is a great case in point in thinking about what tech to use.  In theory, its such a simple application – in practice there are so many issues, not limited to:

  • delivering the right basic functionality
  • getting user (student/staff) buy-in
  • getting people to use the same tech in the same way
  • tech usefulness vs usability
  • longevity
  • ownership
  • … and so much more

Its interesting to see that our VLE has built in messaging – and has done for (at least 10?) years. But very few people use it, it is not integrated into their daily routines, and it doesn’t work well on modern devices – lacking what now counts as basic features such as simple sharing of multi-media content, or mobile alerts.

Twitter seems like a nice alternative, but given they trashed the integration with our VLE at least once in the past (through dropping support for RSS access to twitter feeds) it will be interesting to see what kind of tech gets chosen in future.  As a relatively small organisation, its unlikely that our one institution would have much clout as a “strategic” business partner.

While supporting diversity of tech can be good, it can also be a pain to manage and keep up with.  It has been interesting to see how #ocTEL has done this over the last 6 weeks but would also be interesting to see if people appreciate this or think it increases the overhead of engaging in discussions.

Moving forward with social media

June 20, 2014 in Blog post, Reader

This is a very quick post, I promise, reflecting on the experience of leading a project looking ar the role and impact of social media and its value in learning and teaching. As well as describing the project, there is some reflection on project management – if nothing else, prompted by engagement with the #ocTEL Mooc.

The Project – Aims and Objectives

The aim of the project was to understand and bridge the divide between the virtual learning and social media. As such, the project could be seen as a more current, institution specific contribution to the going debate within Higher Education, going back to initial discussion of whether it has a positive or negative effective, and whether staff should stay away or refrain from using it for formal academic purposes.

The specific objectives of the project were to:

  1. listen to the student voice, to extend our understanding of students attitudes to and use of social media
  2. engage staff beyond the core, dual professionals to understands their attitudes to and use of social media
  3. investigate issues in scaling VLE-social media integration across the whole of the institution
  4. evaluate the effectiveness of the VLE-SM integration on student engagement

The Project – Evaluation of Outcomes

The objectives of listening to the student voice (1) and supporting staff (2) were well met by the project and supported the overall aim of bridging the VLE/social network divide. The objectives of considering scaling the integration (3) and evaluating the impact on student engagement (4) were less well achieved. This was in part due to changes in the project plan to address difficulties encountered including the ability of the proposed project team to fully engage, approval and recruitment of participants and re-scheduling of activities around key student milestones.

The Project Management – Approach

In general the project had a clear plan, with associated risk analysis and resource requirements. However, given the project was seen as an additional activity for most stakeholders, a soft approach was taken to project management, in terms of commitments of time, progress tracking and deadlines.

The result was a more collaborative/agile, rather than plan driven, approach involving a wide range of stakeholders including:

  • the central learning and teaching unit as sponsors
  • staff as potential users of social media
  • students potential users of social media in their learning
  • the VLE development team as providers of insight on user behaviour
  • on campus/online programme tutors
  • the Students Union as champions of student experience

The Project Management – Evalution

On reflection, the overall result of a softer approach to project management meant less clear buy-in from participants in changing personal, work allocation and organisational environments. This was not helped by the lack of clear project events (either formal or informal) to mark defined milestones, such as project inception or wrap-up.

Despite a clear sense of purpose among participants, a clearer, better articulated communication plan, including such key events, would help develop a joint sense of endeavor with better clarity of roles, interdependencies and expectation. As ever, this would impact the timing of activities and enable us to better balance patience, given the lower priority of this exploratory project, with the speed that is vital for success. A big lesson learned for next time.

The “Project” – Next Steps

While the explicit project described here has closed, on-going work is planned – which may or may not be formalised into a new project.  In (not necessarily equal) parts, it is hoped that this will include:

  • revisiting the evaluation of effectiveness described above (objective 4)
  • seeing how student and staff attitudes can impact on any new VLE design (objective 3)
  • wider dissemination of project outcomes in seminars, conferences and papers
  • continuing student surveys to understand the changing social media/network/messaging landscape
  • cross institutional staff survey on issues for social media and their relationships (e.g. privacy vs engagement)
  • data analysis to validate conceptualisation/classification of student attitudes and the features that categorise them, e.g. as separatists or integrationists


#ocTEL Week 6: Activity 6.3: – The interview with @thecommonpeople

June 20, 2014 in

Twitter interview with Adam Clarke aka – Professor_Adam – aka @thecommonpeople

Joel Mills
@iLearningUK – Joel Mills

Adam Clarke
@thecommonpeople – Adam Clarke

Joel Mills


Hi Adam, Would you be up for a quick twitter interview with me? I am on an #ocTEL course looking at innovative Learning & I thought of you!

Adam Clarke


Yes :-)

Joel Mills

Brill! Ok. There are 4 Qs. Thinking about Minecraft, what was the impetus and rationale behind using MC to teach with?

Adam Clarke

MC is an easy to use multiplayer virtual space where the player can be creative and share ideas in 3D

Adam Clarke

And so much more…

Joel Mills

Ok, Q2. What has teaching with MC achieved so far in terms of student learning?

Adam Clarke

Student can learn everything from maths – physics – art – history – the difference is the process is game based and often collaborative

Adam Clarke


I usually show this video to explain how minecraft could be used in education

Joel Mills

Thanks for that. I’ll take a look. I use MinecraftEDU to teach with but I know you have done lofts of work in a broader context. 1 of 2

Adam Clarke

Yes mapping – biology and story telling – minecraft is a great narrative container for engagement – taking the learner on a journey

Joel Mills

Q3. What impact have you seen on staff where you have delivered MC in schools? 2 of 2

Joel Mills

And your museum project?…

Adam Clarke

Its given opportunities for cross curricula projects that really are across the curiculam [sic]

Adam Clarke


so teachers start with traditional ideas but can move beyond into more playful and student led learning – project based

Adam Clarke

My museum work uses minecraft as a peer reviewed game where knowledge and learning is discussed between the students

Adam Clarke

The teachers become assistant and instigators to learning

Joel Mills

Going back to Q3 for a second, Did you see a direct impact on staff in schools after you had delivered MC sessions? More enthused/engaged?

Adam Clarke

A mix – change can be hard – some nervous – but yes lots of new ideas – lots of improved enthusiasm and agency to be creative

Joel Mills

Final #ocTEL question. Q4. How do you know it has had this impact? What evaluation strategies and methods have been used?

Adam Clarke
For me there has been initial feed back and I get reports from teachers letting me know about current projects -

Adam Clarke

We are currently working with Lancaster Uni on a minecraft democracy project and will be using academic strategies

Adam Clarke

Questionnaire interviews and post project interviews

Adam Clarke

This will show – we hope the transfer was of skills and ideas / concepts and engagement

Adam Clarke

So it’s about the why question – eg if you use mc for teaching and learning then it’s good to know why – then it’s easy to evaluate

Joel Mills
That sounds very interesting. I am particularly keen on using MC in an HE context. I am a TEL advisor at the University of Hull. 1 of 2

Joel Mills

I am looking at creating a 6 week MOOC in MC for Education and about to undertake my MSc in Learning Spaces looking at real and virtual.

Adam Clarke

Sound brilliant – would love to help on a Mooc

Joel Mills

Do I have your permission to include a transcript of this conversation on my blog? You can say no.

Adam Clarke

Sure take care

Joel Mills

Finally then. Just to say thank you very much Adam Clarke @thecommonpeople for your time and I look forward to seeing more of your work. :)

Skip to toolbar