by Diana Maliszewski and Denise Colby

You’ve got an amazing lesson planned that uses Minecraft, or an eager group of club members anxiously awaiting their time on Minecraft when technology fails you and the server becomes inaccessible. What do you do? Here are nine ideas for your “Plan B”.

  1. Watch Minecraft YouTube videos

We’ve talked about sorting through and/or viewing some of the many, many videos about Minecraft on YouTube in this post – http://www.gamingedus.org/2015/12/using-minecraft-without-using-minecraft/

Depending on your secondary purpose (your primary one being “give the players something to do while you madly try to troubleshoot the technology”), you can watch videos for building or entertainment inspiration. Researching via videos is helpful for those who need to visualize.

2. Use Single Player Mode

Not every activity needs to be done in multiplayer.  Could your task be modified so that students can use single player?

3. Open a World to LAN

If you still want a multiplayer experience but the server is down, opening to LAN is the next best thing.  When starting a single player world, the ‘owner’ of the world can choose to open it to LAN from the starting menus allowing multiple players in one digital space.

4. Read a Minecraft Book

There are a plethora of Minecraft books out there, from the ‘How to’ books to epic stories like the Battle of the Blocks series by Liam O’Donnell.

5. Talk About Your Plans

Oral language is often one of the underappreciated Language strands.  Through having students talk out their plans, they have the opportunity to practice new -often engineering related- vocabulary as well as descriptive language as they convey their ideas to a partner or group.  This is also a good time for students to practice active listening as they give suggestions based on what they have heard, or offer solutions to design issues.

LMM14Day11 0106. Draw or Build IRL

Break out the graph paper, Lego and/or other materials and have students plan or make a prototype of what they plan to do in-game.

7. Write About Your Adventures

Writing, whether as a shared writing or individual journals, about discoveries and experiences in brainstormgame could lead to ideas for going forward or could inspire students to write their own creative stories.

8. Walk Away

Walking away from a bad situation, even as trivial as a program not working, is a good skill to develop.  Even though it is not the ideal experience in a learning setting, helping students recognize when, and how to deal with frustration is a good teachable moment.

9. Create a List of Troubleshooting Ideas

If tech troubles are abundant and students are not troubleshooting their tech issues, try creating a list of known and frequent issues with your class.  Often after the list is completed many students will be able to describe possible solutions, or identify ‘experts’ in the class that can be called on to support. See this article for an example of a troubleshooting chart: http://www.gamingedus.org/2014/03/perseverance-in-the-face-of-technology/

Do you have anything you would add to this list?  Leave your suggestions in the comment section.