Recently, my students have been talking a lot about Minecraft, which made me curious about how I could tie it into our peer theme this week. Reading blogs from kids about Minecraft I found this quote:
“Personally, I enjoy seeing what people have builtin Minecraft and 3D printed, so send me pics!”
The idea of sending each other pictures of creations is peer supported, and also connects people with common interests. As I tried to find more-lengthy written responses from students, I had some trouble. Then I realized that one of my students is an avid Minecraft player, so I decided to ask her to produce some work for me to share with you all at ED677! I asked her the question below.
Q: How does peer-based ways of learning, and connection to larger networks and opportunities, support your goals and interests?
A: Peer-based ways of learning helped me explore my interests. I love to play Minecraft but usually I play “creative mode” which is when you have all the materials you need and you build your own world. But, at a STEM party I went to all my peers played “survival mode” where you have to find and dig for your materials. The girls showed me how to build complicating things, such as a wooden pick ax out of simple materials such as a block of wood. We worked together in the game and it helped a lot. I feel like my gaming skills reached the next level. Now, when I’m playing on my own I often go to YouTube and watch videos of creations. The idea of sharing strategies isn’t just amongst my close friends, anymore, but it also stretches out to the entire internet! An example of this is when I wanted to build a revolving door. I watched a video about it since I had no idea where to begin. It was hard, but I eventually figured it out- thanks to the internet! Peer-based ways of learning helped me understand something that interests me, Minecraft!
-Sarah Zorc, 4th grader. (Pictured below, playing Minecraft).
(Yes, ED677, this is actually written by a fourth grader!) Awesome writer, right?!
Although not written by students, I also stumbled upon this brief video from teaching channel. In the link below there clips of ESL students helping one another mastery skills that were missed during whole group instruction. Many of us probably do peer-to-peer learning like shown here. The teacher talks about pairing a high student with a low student, and treating it as a tutoring concept. It allows students to be responsible for each other’s learning. It is proven to help one another (not just the lower student), since kids need to give 100 percent, and effectively communicate in order to get the message across. This teacher stated that even for the kid who knows more, trying to explain it in English is still a challenge. It deepens cognitive understanding. The kids are taking ownership!
In the end, whether in MINECRAFT, or in a daily review, peer-based ways of learning support students in many ways in order to help them reach their learning goals!