The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are Global Goals and an organized call to eliminate poverty, boost prosperity and peace and protect Planet Earth. These 17 goals allow us as educators to create projects and experiences for students that have an impact on the real-world. In return student engagement levels rise during the years in school where they would traditionally decrease. Before discussing one of our experiences at Caledonia Regional School in New Brunswick take a look at the 17 goals courtesy of The United Nations Development Programme.
Tiny House Sustainable Development Program
Our students recognize that Tiny Houses are a direction our world must take to create sustainable communities, protect our lands and oceans and to encourage affordable and clean energy use. This project targets goals 6, 7, 11, 12, 14 and 15 from the above diagram. As a technology and skilled trades program we can produce between one and six Tiny Homes a year keeping the cost for the entire home below $30,000 CDN. Academically our program spans four years and includes over 100 students in the process.
In grade 9 students use design software Sketchup to design efficient and sustainable Tiny House models for northern communities. They then can explore their designs in real-life size within the computer lab atmosphere using the Microsoft HoloLens Sketchup VIewer App. See a few examples of this powerful technology here:
In grade 10 students get hands-on and create scaled models of their team researched and created designs. Teams consider price, road regulations, building codes and life in the upper Northern Hemisphere as they build. Math dominates the curriculum in this project while the real gems in education, the 21st century skills are also supported fully! Students can't create a scale model tiny house in teams without developing their communication, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and character skills. The entire project's ability to address Sustainable Development Goals includes a huge dose of citizenship growth opportunity as well..
In grade 11 and 12 students get experience building real tiny houses for real clients. Students must work in various weather elements, meet deadlines, deal with arising problems and not exceed the project budget. This is real-life training for real-world problems. Sustainable communities of the future start here today with our students creating low-cost yet reliable and luxurious living solutions. Alternative energy considerations as well as resource consumption and management occupy every waking thought. Students get real experience addressing many of the SDGs needed for a better world while contributing to their communities and ensuring a better world for tomorrow! Check out the following news attention earned in just the first year of this program and visit www.TinyHouseEDU.com for the full build!
Every few years a technology comes along that helps learning opportunities evolve. Examples include the computer, the internet, the mobile device and now the Microsoft HoloLens. This wearable computer comes packed with ample storage, spatial audio, all-day (school day) battery and is comfortable enough to wear for hours. The limited apps already available (mostly free to education) are jaw-dropping, inspiring "Oooohhs" and "Aaaahhhs" from adults and students. If students and teachers simply just consumed the media being made for this device it would be revolutionary. But, the Microsoft HoloLens offers so much more!
Apps like ActionGram, HoloTours, and RoboRaid offer tools for learning and creative entertainment that can keep users learning for hours. ActionGram offers hologram special effects possibilities for budding film makers and HoloTours takes virtual field trips to a level unimaginable 5 years ago. RoboRaid and other games can work up a sweat for users and may represent the future of physical education. Being digital consumers is perfectly fine and with these apps for the HoloLens and are certainly suggested for classrooms. However, it is when we turn to student development and STEM education that the team at Microsoft really earn their stripes!
Engineering and STEM education get a major lift from Sketchup's Viewer App that allows students to use Sketchup 2016 Pro or later to create 3D representations of anything and using the HoloLens view them in the learning environment for further exploration and refining. The above video shows an example of what my students see as they examine their creations in all sizes in the classroom. The next series of media show a Vimy Ridge 100th Anniversary Memorial being manipulated and explored easily with Sketchup Viewer for HoloLens.
Consuming and creating hologram media offers the highest possible student engagement opportunities in education. In future blogs I will write about our experiences creating holograms with Unity 3D. If first impressions last forever then HoloLens will benefit for a very long time!
Special thanks to Sketchup for supporting our program with Sketchup Viewer for HoloLens and to Brilliant Labs for supporting our HoloLens program.
For a year and a half now I have worked with my high school students as they learned Apple's Swift coding language and their development software Xcode. Students begin by using Apple's Swift Learning Resources for both students and teachers and then branch off to develop specific interest apps. The final project that students work on is an app with a purpose. An app that will make the world a better place.
To steal a quote from Steve Hayman of Apple who has been instrumental in supporting my students and I, "Life has enough flashlight apps." This is our mantra and each student is tasked with coming up with their own purpose to develop iOS and Apple Watch apps.
Meet Nathan and Liam. These grade 10 students asked if I would give up my prep period daily so that they could work with Swift and Xcode and develop apps. I agreed and the boys started by making a browser app that loaded my website and an Apple Watch flashlight just to prove to "Steve from Apple" that it was a good idea. Then came the difficult task of making an app with global purpose. Nathan and Liam set out to make a soundboard app called "MyVOCA" which would be used by non-communicative students. Colourful, large buttoned and loaded with a selfie cam extra, this app worked flawlessly on the test iPads after hours of intense, but character building work. These two would take their new found confidence steps further pitching their ability to create apps and novel app ideas at innovation and entrepreneurial competitions! In grade 10 they were competing against 30-year-olds! You can watch these pitches here or skip ahead.
The confidence shown by Nathan and Liam sparked a series of app ideas in our school and though some used modelling services and not Xcode and Swift the idea was always to hand off the iOS app work to our computer science kids. Here our grads show off their idea for a "Safe Grad App" with the special feature of a fake phone call from Mom or Dad to get them out of tricky situations.
Alex became another highlight of our Swift and Xcode program at Caledonia Regional very quickly. When I asked him what he wanted to do for an passion project he replied "I want to make a translation app for my Syrian classmates to help them better adjust to school life." And then Global News heard about it. Watch this!
At the time of this blog post Alex is still learning his way through Swift and Xcode updates but his resolve to complete this app has not diminished. After all, the app has a purpose!
What I've learned
Creating iOS and Apple Watch Apps with Xcode and Swift is not easy. Apple has supports that make it as easy as it can get but it is difficult. However, when students have a global purpose for their app there is nothing that can stop them. Creating iOS apps builds student skills such as character, citizenship, critical thinking, computational thinking, creativity and in a team atmosphere communication and collaboration. I build my entire program at Caledonia Regional around these 21st century skills I call "The 7Cs." If you are looking to start allowing students to create iOS apps in K-12 education it can be done. I recommend starting early with the newly released "Swift Playgrounds" app and reaching out to Apple for support which has proven priceless for our work. A New Brunswick provincial innovation organization called "Brilliant Labs" was also responsible for giving our students opportunity and support. Connect with me on Twitter for more information! Happy App Development!
It takes a village to raise a student and it takes students to raise a village! This unique collaboration initiative will see your class raise a village to town status as students have an opportunity to contribute to each service the community requires. Target Citizenship, Critical Thinking and Creativity in a lesson that develops a town which can be used in future lessons and exported as an example of teamwork and determination. Engineering principles are put to the test along with ethical and environmentally responsible building practices.
Description: (Creative Mode Suggested)
Students start co-constructing criteria for a town with their teacher. I have developed a SWAY SITE HERE that offers 31 great examples that teachers can use to "sway" their class to the engaging and essential services. After criteria are established and brief talk about how at each station students should look to add positive improvements only to the site, the project begins. Students are randomly assigned a station number and service and begin building starting with a sign stating Station Number, Station Service and Their Name.
When the teacher indicates that it is time to move after a set time (Hence, Musical Chairs) the students place a sign at their station saying concisely what they did and then move number wise to the next station. There they analyse what was done, decide what needs improvement, creatively build that improvement and report it via a sign when it is again time to move!
Here are a few screen shots of a bridge and sewer treatment system being built.
This project can be started and stopped over multiple class periods and can also be applied to larger builds such as replica schools, towns, literature activies and science initiatives such as an organ map of the human body.
In the end students will have critically and creatively employed good citizenship as they work collaboratively to raise a village to town status. Each member of the class will have contributed to each essential service limiting engagement drop-off and maximizing student pride in the final product!
Here is a descriptor Youtube Video explaining the project. If you use it and like it, let me know via Twitter @BBTNB or on the official Minecraft Education Site.
Update: This project has now been submitted to the official Minecraft Education site for approval and official release!
Downloadable project card:
Warning: These seeds may only work for Minecraft Pocket Edition until Education Edition sees updates.
Following the the warm acceptance of "Minecraft Education Edition Seeds of Success Pack 1" here are the worlds that made the cut for Seeds of Success Pack 2. Each of the project suggestions are my original ideas that I thought of while I explored the worlds. You can choose to take any of my ideas or quickly find your own ideas for a lesson once you examine the seed.
Seed of Success 13: 1754
Sometimes life can be just a little too real and students love a good fantasy experience. Steve in Wonderland? Honey I Shrunk the Minecrafters? An original wacky tale? Whatever the fantasy angle this world with a village next to a mushroom kingdom is perfect for bringing that magic to your next literacy lesson. Just watch out for those hyper Mario Brothers from Nintendo!
Seeds of Success 14: -1060246543
On the heels of Disney's big hit "Moana" your students may find themselves wanting to look deeper into Hawaiian culture, ancestral village life or wayfinding. I suggest your classes visit the Hour of Code website and find both Moana and Minecraft coding tutorials as a anticipatory set for this lesson. This seed offers a healthy village shelter with ample oceans and islands to explore. Engineer future designs for safer oil rigs? Hold a boat design Build Battle? Students can map the new world, talk about sustainable island living or turn the island into a successful tourism hotspot responsibly! Surfs up?
Seeds of Success 15: 1404819164
With three very close satellite communities in the largest snow biome I've ever seen this seed sets the stage for immediate success. Early Denver City Colorado? Diamond mines of Northern North America? Modern transportation networks for extreme North settlement? Climate Change Experience? Nation land claims in the North? All of these are now immediately possible with this inviting seed. On the far opposite edge of the massive snow biomes Ice Spires set the stage for fantasy experiences and narratives as well. Finally, with huge biomes this seeds is fit for an epic cross-map quests or race to find the diamond throne in the Hall of the Mountain King....or whatever you think up!
Seeds of Success 16: -2109943162
Not one but TWO jungle temples hide near spawn in a massive rainforest jungle biome. You can see one ancient temple has been surrounded by a lake while the other is still on land. Both are rich for exploration and perhaps further development. Can your students responsibly develop these as tourist attractions minimizing harm to the rainforest? Will they choose not to in the end? Why? This seed offers beauty and room for deep conversations. Bring ancient history to life in high school. Experienece South America from the safety of Minecraft. Look at deforestation by causing it and then trying to reverse it. Have one group act as conservationists and the other as industrialists. What is the cure for cancer is in that jungle?
Have a blast with your class in this huge jungle biome with instant engagment due to the double jungle temples!
Seed of Success 17: -1436927780
Explore a lost treasure beneath the ocean as a class? Use Skype Field Trips to chat with the crew living beneath the sea in Aquarius? (See youtube video and sign up today for your class chat) Whatever your lesson this massive underwater temple will not disappoint. Give everyone some night vision potion and have them dive and explore this lost treasure. Maybe they want to stay and live like Aquarius? Maybe they want to build an airlocked access to a floating station above the temple? Have some fun with this very interesting experienece.
Seed of Success 18: 1408106526
Beautiful water caves beneath hilltop villages and gardens set this seed up to be a favorite for creative development and exploration. Engineer a transportation system for hilltop and ground level villagers and resources? Create your own Minecraft Mount Rushmore? Whatever your lesson of the day this seed has two villages near each other with waterfalls, caves, and hilltop satellite living. Students will not get bored of this geography that is all closely arranged.
Seed of Success 19: 1628586759
Imagine 8 VILLAGES, a mineshaft, a stronghold, epic mountain formations, normal villages on desert biomes on the coast, and more! Now stop imagining because this seed has it all! You students deserve a seed this epic and with 8 different villages spread out over vast and beautiful geography this will be a class favorite for sure. Use teleport blocks at each village to hop around as a teacher and transport students to their villages. Watch the film on Dubai engineering below and use the coastal villages to allow students to design their own Palm or World Islands? Digging deep next to the wells in several towns will lead to Mineshafts and Strongholds as an added engagement bonus for students.
Seed of Success 20: 22069
Spawn immediately in a village with a hilltop church in a hill terrain. This seed is for the teacher who wants an immediate village experience waiting for students once they join the world. There are strange floating islands and hanging cliffs to engage students as they explore the immediate surroundings. A great seed for a fast lesson.
Seed of Success 21: 1424472728
A tornado has just ripped through a tiny seaside village and they need your students' help! The blacksmith shop had half the building torn off. The gardens are destroyed. There is a hole where the school once stood. Some houses were smashed together and some cut in half. Can your students step in and fix this village that the will spawn directly into? Use this for empathy education, disaster relief teams or just structure inspections and repairs. Add Non-Player Characters to tell of giants who came and destroyed the village starting an epic quest throughout the world for answers by your students! Have fun!
Seed of Success 22: -686298914
Set up Border Blocks around these islands including some water space for each tribe. Build challenges on a challenge island. Set up a wicked Tribal Council scene on another island. Send voted off Survivors to Exile Island to join the jury. This seed is perfect for anyone who wants to run a classroom Minecraft Survivor. Isolated islands within eyesight of each other make for the perfect tribe camps while other islands just out of sight are great for secret challenge setup. Use teleport blocks to visit each island and easily teleport students to and from challenges and tribal council. See my Minecraft Survivor resource here: https://sway.com/UYNUkDexdJSGUKLE
I hope that you find the seed numbers and lesson ideas helpful in this Seeds of Success Pack 2 for busy teachers who wish to use Minecraft in the classroom. Let us know on Twitter how you use these with the hashtag #MinecraftEDU
Seeds can be entered when creating worlds in Minecraft. See the bottom of Pack 1 for a screen shot of exactly where to enter the number if unclear.
Follow me on Twitter @BBTNB
I'm an experienced Global Minecraft Mentor, Published Educational Researcher, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Apple Distinguished Educator and grade 6-12 technology teacher. @BBTNB