Thursday, 24 July 2014

SelfDesign Minecrafter's GameCon Event

  We plan on doing more.. one on Vancouver Island and another in Kamloops (or up that way somewhere)!  

As our members in SMUSH gather each week we'll start planning more events and hopefully as parents also find this valuable it will become even more streamlined and easier to get together and do these things.We found that families having tables to share their stuff that they do, and what they love was a way of providing ideas and sharing knowledge without stress.

The biggest desire was to keep it flexible, and not have high expectations of specific involvement, rather to have an engaging set of offerings, and an attitude of 'community building' purpose in mind for those who take part in whatever way they'd like to. That way everyone is included to the extent they are able. :)

For some of these children, it was the first time they had a positive experience in a group of kids. We are so thrilled and so thankful for everyone who took part!

**Thank you so much to the Ron Andrews Community Recreation Center for all their hard work in setting us up and taking down the tables. We really appreciated the ladies and fellas there :) .

Lori Bender
SelfDesign Online Steward
SD MC Project Coordinator
Skype: lori_bender

Michael Bender, M.Ed
SD Guiding Mentor
SD LC Global
SD MC Project Coordinator
Skype: michael.bender3

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Easter at SD Minecraft!

Happy Easter Party!!

Everyone starting to gather in the Easter Village

One area looking towards a bunny..

Drop Party!! Cookies included

Drop party with all sorts of fun!

More wonderful drops the girls had collected to share.

We all had fun running around!

Easter isn't the same without some sort of sweets :)

There were Easter egg hunts and mazes and all sorts of things to play with!

Thanks girls, for sharing and doing this for us! I hope it was fun to create!
 If you  have pictures to share make sure you do :)

What was YOUR favorite part????? 
Mine was the pixel art. I am always blown away by the art you all create. There was a ton of organization as well, which was interesting, as I know that there were a number of specific people who worked together as a team for this project, and organtization can be difficult to maneuver around with groups.

Was there any new surprises that you were amazed by?
 I know I was amazed at the amount of collecting it must have taken to create all those items for the drop party. I also saw that the maze was an huge piece of work as well. How long did it take you all to complete that part? Did you find that the rules for the maze helped or didn't help with the fun part of playing together?

What part would you change for next year?
Were there any sorts of decisions along the way that you would change for a future project while working in groups? Was there anything in particular that you found a challenge to do? What was it? Did you find a way through the challenge to make it 'work'? How did that turn out for you?

Thanks everyone for attending, for those who could. Let's talk about a group project that is for the summer time (winter in Australia and New Zealand) in SMUSH okay? Let's find anyone who is interested in taking part to help create a fun area of excitement and new things!

~ Lori and Michael B

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

The Unseen Skill set

Being Kind to People While we are online !

This is the unseen skill that learners are figuring out by spending time online with other human beings. I think that's a wonderful skill to take with you as you grow up! And I am really proud of the learners who have been mastering this :)

Although, sometimes we forget that there are real people behind the other computer screens don't we?

I have a few questions that might help us understand this a bit better:

How would it feel to be in front of someone, say "Hi" and have them turn around and walk away without saying anything to us? 

Or tell us to 'GET OUT' of their house?

What would it be like to yell "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" at someone  right to a person's face when they were standing too close to you in a store? I wonder how that might feel to that other person? 

You would probably not talk to another person in real life the way you might talk to people on the computer, would you? There are real feelings, real people on the other end of your screen. We need to be careful how we treat one another, no matter how we are connecting.

Even saying "Goodbye" and "Thanks for playing with me today" is a wonderful way to end a play time with a friend you have met on the game. It could really help someone feel good about you couldn't it?

Remember :)
On SD MC we are better able to see whispers,and are able to watch out for rude comments.We are asking that we find different ways of sharing that would be more successful at keeping community and friendships at the forefront. Even if we aren't on the game all the time, we have a record of what is said and can always go back to see it. We keep all conversations documented, and even audio record SMUSH meetings for continual transparency in our work with learners. We are able to address things that others think are 'secret'. Anti bullying can be a good discussion, and between friends it's imperative that we do so. 

So, keep up with that Unseen Skill building of being Kind to one another online! :)
Lori B

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

SMUSH updates for April 2014

SMUSH:  SelfDesign Minecraft Users and Server Helpers

April 8, 2014 SMUSH notes

Hello Minecrafters!

We had a SMUSH meeting today at 3pm and the notes from our meeting are below.

SMUSH now meets every Tuesday at 3pm and every Saturday at noon.

Today, M, L, C1, C2, A, Y, O and Michael B were in attendance. Lori was unable to attend.

SD GameConvention
  • We have been looking for a venue with a room big enough to hold us all and the prices are $200/day and up.  So rather than rent the big room for 3 days (Friday-Sunday) we are now looking to rent the big room for Saturday only and use the other days to do other things.  :)  Good idea, M. This will bring the price down and help us to include activities outside!
  • We are still trying to plan a weekend in June for this.  The parents that have contacted us are urging us to pick a weekend quickly so they can plan to be there.
  • Our goal is still to have a date and place chosen by Saturday.  Fingers are crossed as we check into a few more places.
  • L suggested Brae Island Regional Park.  He remembers that they have a building where they show movies sometimes that might be available for us to use.  Michael B. will contact them regarding this option.
  • O suggested a cultural center near her and she is going to ask them herself in person today or tomorrow and get back to the group.
  • Michael B. will contact parents who are helping to plan the event and put together a list of possibilities and choose a location and date.

  • L is concerned about NoSwear.  
  • We do need to have some sort of chat filter, however, this one is annoying a few people, so anyone with a suggestion should offer that up in the SMUSH chat and Michael will help research it.  
  • We all remember fondly the sensor we had that struck us with lightning bolts when we spammed or said a forbidden word...good times.  
  • Michael will look for that one to see if it's been updated for 1.7.4.

Tutorial (Lori's Server)
  • M would like us to start working on the MC tutorial again.  We'd like to use command blocks and that requires OP.  This server will only be opened to people who wish to work on this project.  It will not be open for creating other structures.
  • M will be helping to guide the content and A is heading up the command blocks.  If you wish to be involved get a hold of them or Michael B to be included in this project.
  • We will be using Lori's Server (so Hexxit will come down today) and it will be the 1.8 snapshot.

MiniGames Party
  • Michael installed this plugin.
  • M will help build a lobby.  If you'd like to help let her or Michael know.
  • Once the lobby is created, Michael can do the rest with your help.  Please help research how this is done and help us get this project going!

Creative Server:
  • 29 people logged into the Creative Server in March with a play time of over 36 hours.  
  • The worlds are pretty full and we have had some talk of starting the maps over.
  • We need to hear from the folks playing there before resetting the maps :)

I'm impressed with your ability to problem solve with the SD GameConvention and plugin troubles and negotiating how to use the shared space on all of the servers.  I hear wonderfully positive idea being shared every week and the enthusiasm for the Convention is amazing!  I hear your desire to make things happen and to listen to each other and it's inspiring to hear you do it all.  :)

See your on the Servers!

Michael Bender
Edited by Lori Bender

Monday, 3 March 2014

On The Right Track!

Calvin and Hobbes.. ty Bill Watterson
For some wierd reason (probably conditioning from many years of  'school-ish' learning) we parents often need enrichment activities attached to all those things our kids love to do, 'just in case they aren't getting all they need' from one passion. Personally, I think we stifle ourselves and our kids when we do that to them. Yet, the concern continues.

As a gaming mother, I sometimes feel like I'm slowly treading uphill on sand, making my way to the top of a dune of doubt and concern from other voices around me. Each time I take a step forward, I slide down a little and have to dump out the sand of 'imbalance' out of my boots! Well, finally I found a bit of an oasis in GottaCon this past weekend.

Michael and I went to Victoria, and went to as many panels as we could, and talked with many people. I met two new authors,and got their autographs in books I purchased. I learned how awesome Pathfinder is! I found out by watching a team of players audibly go through a role playing scenario together, with much banter and goofiness. What a blast!! Today we had a chance to play a campaign with four children and a Game Master for a level one 'dungeon' ( Lvl 1's). The children were brilliant and so helpful. I asked a whole lot of questions and they were so quick to help me find the answers. What a wonderful feeling that was!

There were many highlights to the gaming community's 'way' of being together. I laughed a whole lot with the antics of old and young, laughing and enjoying each others company, challenging one another and cheering. There was much concentration as many learned how to play new boardgames, and to practice new role playing and Magic the Gathering card game rules. We also watched dramatic improves in themes of fantasy and heroism, complete with the audience's help. It was fun :)

 Dice Bag GamesDragon Scale DesignsLabyrinth leathercraft
One fellow impressed me with so much enthusiasm when he explained to us the differences between Warhammer, Warhammer 40K and WarMachine. He was eloquent, with numbers flying! He explained stats and the mechanics in the games. He painted all of his own pieces, carefully displaying his dragons and army fellows. It wasn't a discussion on the blood and gore of war. It was a talk about how to best your opponent and to have fun at the same time while being challenged by another person's logic and strategy. I saw in this young man an ability to think strategically around problems, and to solve them successfully.  He was positively glowing with pride and achievement. It was wonderful to see someone who was so focused on something he loved feeling accepted and part of a community.

On Saturday we saw one of our own SD families, Billy Baker and his boys. They were running off to a panel on Video Game Design, I believe, so I can't wait to connect and see what he found out through that and other panels they may have had a chance to be a part of.

We also met Charles Bathel from Logitech. He was here from California as their Gaming Community & Marketing Coordinator. When we met him at the food court, I started taking notes because his words were so awesome! We told him who we were with SelfDesign, and why we were there, and asked him this question: "What would you tell young people who are interested in technology and working with games and companies (like Logitech)?" His answer to this was to say these things:

1. Stay Hungry. Don't just get settled in. 
From the blog
He said that just doing what you are told to do is 'not enough'. Do things you think need doing and be prepared for more. Go for more, and ask for more. Be that person that knows what to do and to get work done, but also allow yourself to 'want more' and 'learn more'. And then ask for what you want, and let people know you want more. That kind of desire gets noticed.

2. He said the hardest transition for him was to 'not try to be the best at everything'. 
He said he thinks that if you allow yourself to focus on one thing, and get good at it,  that this will help you find your way a little easier. He has enjoyed doing many things, and feels that he's 'okay' at those things. He would like to be really good at one thing as well and focus on that perhaps. (I, personally, think this is a strength of his, not a challenge, however this was his list not mine :) 

3. Learn to work with a team. (Love that.)

4. Be really good at what you are supposed to be doing.

5. Always report. 
He feels that being able to report on what work you have accomplished in the last week (or whatever time period) is a very important skill. So, I guess being able to keep track of what you have done is important for employers to see, especially if you are working 'contract work'. He said that with this skill you will never have to say "I don't know." to that question of  "So tell me what you have been doing in the last while." by someone important in the company.

6. Learn how to do good power points to promote what you have been up to.  
Cool power points with highlights of what you have done is helpful. You can get noticed with good power points, he believes. (I guess my love for Google Presentations isn't so off the road then?? Yayy!!)

7. Learners who have autistic abilities are well suited to working in the gaming industry
... because gamers and tech people generally accept those who 'think differently', and who bring new ideas to challenges they face at work. It's those people who have the ability to focus on what they are good at for a long period of time, or to do things in a non traditional way that help the industry along. Working with others can be difficult for some people, and still he knows of those kinds of people who have multiple learning abilities (and different kinds of learning abilities) to be truly successful in the world of technology. So, he said to never give up or think you can't get somewhere or get a job when you have struggles that might seem different to others. Like everyone, Charles struggles with his own stuff and still he wasn't afraid to be honest and share his insights. He inspired us into the next stage of learning with our SD Minecrafters and with this confidence we can feel good about moving forward in helping other kids and their parents feel confident too!

What I also think is wonderful is that Logitech is willing to think about gaming and the gamers who play with the technology they produce.They sent Charles to Victoria, and because of that, a couple of people who work with kids will be able to encourage others. If it was worth it to go to this conference for anything, that was worth it.

At any rate, I'm off to get some sleep with my new Pathfinder book (if I can pry it out of the hands of my 22 year old) and see what character I plan on becoming in my imagination. I can't wait for a future campaign alongside a group of fascinating and creative young people!

Goodnight all! I'll put pictures in another time.. my phone pics aren't coming through. And I'm tired. :)
Lori B


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SelfDesign is a personalized educational methodology and an online school which offers students and educators choices for self-directed learning that extend beyond the traditional curriculum and classroom model. SelfDesign’s lifelong learning programs (including BC Ministry of Education K-12) reflect respect for the rights of learners to assume responsibility for their own learning, while co-inspiring wonder, joy, and authentic self-discovery.

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