We are currently on the final stages of our second unit in Technology class this year, Fair Game. The unit question is ‘What does cooperation and collaboration look like?’ and the significant concept is ‘How we solve problems depends on the conditions of the environment and group dynamics.’ The goal of the unit was to, as a class, create a theme park using Minecraft. Each group of four students had their own section to create, each with a different theme. In my group was Jem, Keina and Justin, and our theme was underwater. In the sections, each student had to make an individual structure. In my group, I was in charge of creating the rollercoaster and cart ride. Although I was a bit stressed out in the last few lessons, I managed to finish my attractions in time.
During the first of the four stages of the Design Cycle, Investigate, one of the things I did to prepare for the final project was create tests to use to evaluate the outcome. The ‘tests’ were basically yes or no questions to see if we had completed the assignment correctly. I have found that I passed most of the tests, for example: my structure is connected to the theme of underwater because of the lapis lazuli blocks I used for the base of the rollercoaster. My structure is complete, it fulfills its purpose and its size makes sense compared to the other structures. I think that my structure attracts attention, as it is a giant blue rollercoaster in the sky, and the placement makes sense to lead to the underwater section. The only one to really think about is that my structure isn’t completely easily accessible. This is because it starts at the edge of heaven, which is way far up in the sky, so you need to go up a lot, just to go back down again.
I had to adjust the plans for my attraction a bit when I actually built it in Minecraft. Some of the things I wanted to put in the rollercoaster, such as a sheer drop, I couldn’t actually make. I also originally planned to make a squid tunnel around the cart ride, but in the end I realized that it would be too hard to make and would take up too much space. This is because everything is built in blocks, and it would be nearly impossible to not let water in to the cart ride while not getting trapped in with all the squids. It would have been really nice if I could have added this, but I think that everything works better this way.
Although I really like how my final product turned out, there are some things I wish I could have done to improve it, perhaps if I had had more time. I think a main thing I should have done is made a few exits along the way of the cart ride, because there is only one alternative exit to the rollercoaster coming down. Especially since the cart ride loops back around the whole UnderwaterWorld, it would have been much more convenient for any visitors to be able to leave another way without needing to break the glass and flooding the cart ride. While building, we also had a few problems with starting the mine carts at the beginning of the cart ride, so I would improve that if I could. Also for the whole group, I think it would have been better if the shipwreck had been closer to the other attractions.
I feel like I did quite well during the Investigate stage, but then during the Plan, my work went a bit downhill. I think this is because I missed quite few classes, so I was behind on the work, and I didn’t really know what activities we were supposed to do. However, during the Create, I feel like I made a comeback and completed my structures well, considering that I had hardly ever used Minecraft before it. In conclusion, I am very proud of what me, my group, and our whole class have done in this unit. I think everything turned out very well and it was successful also as an experiment.
To conclude, I have created a tour of our underwater section:
In technology class this year, we have been learning about digital stories. A digital story is basically just a story that is told digitally. It can be about anything, as long as it has some kind of storyline. We went through a series of research and planning until we started creating our own digital stories. We recorded all of our notes and plans on this document.
The first step in the MYP design cycle is investigate, so that was the first thing we did. For this project, the first thing we had to do was discuss the unit question, “How can we use media to communicate our stories”, and the key-features of storytelling in small groups. Then we had to watch three different digital stories and take notes on the story structure and key features. I watched The Best Artist Ever, Mr. C’s Teaching Philosophy and A Brief History of John Baldessari. The next week, we learned what the seven elements to digital storytelling are and what they mean: point of view, dramatic question, emotional content, your voice, soundtrack, pacing and economy. These were all the tasks for the investigate stage, and I think that the content of my research was really good and for this part, I managed my time really well. A problem I had in my investigation was that for the video notes, I had originally put everything in the wrong category, so I had to move around things about halfway through the research.
The next stage is plan, in which we brainstormed, investigated different tools, and created a storyboard. First we brainstormed some digital story topics, but I couldn’t think of many good ideas, so most of them are quite strange, and I can’t imagine myself making them into good stories. The next thing we did was research and investigate a possible tool to use to make our stories. I got WikiSpaces, which has many capabilities, but also limitations (all of which I listed on my planning sheet). Apart from this, we wrote down its ease of use, special features, how it can be shared online and if the tool would be able to be used for the task. We then brainstormed and compared and contrasted more in-depth. The last step in the plan stage was to create our storyboards. In this stage, I think my strengths were my storyboard and tool investigation. For my storyboard, I added quite a bit of detail, including which sound effects to use, and for the tool investigation and comparison, I just think I researched a lot and got good information. A weakness in this was my original topic brainstorm. I think I should have been more serious about it, and put more thought into its development. If I did this stage again, that is what I would try to improve.
The third step in the design cycle is create, which definitely took the longest for me. Since I decided to draw out each part of my story, I got a bit behind schedule towards the middle. First of all, we had to make a timeline for when we had to finish every step of our story. For me, this wasn’t very accurate, because I kept changing my own due dates, but in the end I stuck to my plan. We also had to make a list of resources that we needed to use to make our digital stories. For me, this wasn’t as difficult as for others, because they needed video cameras and other things, but all I needed was paper, a pencil, iMovie, and time, which I would have preferred to have more of. I first wrote the script, and then I drew around 10 pictures for the story, which took a long time, but I eventually finished. After that I had to edit the video, which was quite easy, considering I had already thought about it a lot during the plan stage. I just recorded my voice and added sound effects, and I was finished. This was probably the easiest thing in the create stage for me. The hardest was the drawing itself, because I was trying to draw a semi-realistic person, but it was quite small, and I had to keep things the same size. If I did this again with more time, I would try to improve my drawings and make them better.
Here is my final story:
We went through such a long process to finish our final stories, but now that I’m done with it, I am actually really proud of it. I had many strengths and weaknesses in my work, but I guess everyone has them. It was an interesting project to do in tech class, and it was quite an enjoyable experience for me. I am excited to find out what we will be doing in technology class next.