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General questions about the platform



  • Moderator Beacon of Knowledge Super Star

    Hello, Julian Vidal - I think learning programming in Minecraft is the best and most engaging way to learn Python, block coding and programming in general!  I hope you love it as much as I do!

    I suggest that you do not use hosted worlds. You can if you like, but it adds a level of complication. 

    If you create code, either in the site or in the game, you can share the code with someone else by clicking the share button in the upper right corner. Name the project.

  • Debbie Alexander
    Moderator Beacon of Knowledge Super Star

    Sorry to answer my own post, but I cannot edit after adding the image. Name, publish and copy the link to the project to share it. You can share your work or they can share with you.

    Your nephews' interface will be a little different, but I think they will be able to zoom along fine with you with a separate computer to see your screen.

    If you do use a shared world, code has to be shared by link. But the consequences of the shared world are a little tricky. You will live with the in-game consequences (for example, if it rains, it rains on everyone.) Your code cannot generally perceive the actions of another player (like an event that "knows" that they broke a block," but you can affect another player (like putting conditions or killing them!)

    As far as saving code goes, your MakeCode ~should~ save every time you run it - whether it is Python or block based, however best practice is to publish and share as backup. (less tears! imho.) Python AZNB, imho a fantastic IDE, where I teach CS1, sadly does not save code. Saves are manual copy pasta. Dark Ages stuff, but a small price to pay to see your code spawn mooshroom cows and place budding azalea walls. =]

    I am happy to chat any time! What an exciting adventure!

  • Julian Vidal

    Hi Debbie, many thanks for the speedy reply! I have some follow up questions about a couple of things you suggested:

    > I suggest that you do not use hosted worlds [...]

    > If you do use a shared world [...]

    When you say "hosted" and "shared" do you mean the same thing? I'm trying to deduce this based on the context but I'm still unfamiliar with some of the concepts. Did you mean that it's easier for each student to work in a world that's created by them using "Create New World > Play" and not "Create New World > Host"?

    To give you a little bit more context, I have enough authority over these two hooligans to avoid any shenanigans (them killing each other or breaking each other's stuff) so I'm not too concerned about that. Both have been very respectful during our countless hours of regular minecrafting.

  • Moderator Beacon of Knowledge Super Star

    Good catch - I should have been consistent. Yes, I did mean the same thing. Someone has to host a world for folks to share a world, so I end up switching my speech around. Sorry.

    Since you are dealing with a small group - go for it! Why not! the worst that can happen is you start over. =] It can be incredibly engaging to be in a shared space. Let me know how it goes. Please connect with me if I can help in any way. 

  • Julian Vidal

    Debbie, thanks once again for all your help.

    After having met with my nephews a few times, I figured I would post my findings in case it helps someone else.

    1. Kids are completely mind blown. My sister in law told me that one of the kids keeps saying that this is the best thing that has ever happened to him. Kids are known to exaggerate on occasion, yes lol.

    2. The first class was a bit chaotic because I was learning the environment myself. I used a starter construction template (the one with the different squares for each student). This ended up not being the best for our use-case because the build area was a bit small. We switched to a plain flat world and everyone has enough space to destroy stuff at will. 

    3. Now that I know what level each kid is at, I can fine-tune the assignments so that whatever I give them is juuuuust barely out of their reach. Just complex enough to keep them engaged (which prevents them from getting distracted and start to blowing s***t up) and also simple enough that they can actually reach the goals.

    4. I always host a world and have them join. This works really well for us but can totally see how this would definitely not work for a bigger class or with students who are not your family. For that I would absolutely have each kid in their own world. I've found instances where the server starts doing strange things, so I have everyone save their work (grab a link), I start a new world, and everyone continues off where they left.

    5. Things to avoid: the "forever" block has consistently been buggy in our experience. This is such a shame because it allows for really cool stuff to be done.

    6. One thing they love is when I prepare a few projects before hand, show them the code via screen share, and have them try to figure out what it does by just looking at it. These examples are way above their level and I always make sure to include blocks and/or concepts they are not familiar with (eg, arrays, algorithms, functions). This opens up high-level discussions about these topics and plants the seeds for them to start thinking in those terms. For example, several times in unrelated conversations they've said "couldn't I do this with arrays?". Even though they've never actually used arrays, they understand the concept and are already thinking in cools ways to use them to solve their problems.

    7. Another thing I do is give them "missions". I have them chose one mission out of a list and they have to wirte code to complete the mission. This allows everyone to chose whatever they want to learn instead of me teaching the same thing to everyone else. Again, I craft them in such a way that they have to use something that they don't know in order to complete them. This puts them in the mindset of reading the help, looking inside every block menu, and trying to figure things out on their own (which is basically what you do as a software developer in the real world). One thing is to teach how to code, another thing is to teach problem-solving and self-reliance. I think we can do both with Minecraft Education, depending on how you approach each topic.

    That's about it!

    PS: For some reason, the forum doesn't send me emails with notifications. Can't seem to find where this would be set ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I suspect this has something to do with the bogus email address that ends with "" I have to use to login?


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