Mapping the First-Year Composition Classroom Outcomes, Habits, and Minecraft Education

Course Outcomes and the Habits of Mind

WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition

  • Rhetorical Knowledge
  • Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing
  • Processes of Composing
  • Knowledge of Conventions
  • Composing in Electronic Environments

Habits of Mind from the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing

  • Curiosity - the desire to know more about the world.
  • Openness - the willingness to consider new ways of being and thinking in the world.
  • Engagement - a sense of investment and involvement in learning.
  • Creativity - the ability to use novel approaches for generating, investigating, and representing ideas.
  • Persistence - the ability to sustain interest in and attention to short- and long-term projects.
  • Responsibility - the ability to take ownership of one’s actions and understand the consequences of those actions for oneself and others.
  • Flexibility - the ability to adapt to situations, expectations, or demands.
  • Metacognition - the ability to reflect on one’s own thinking as well as on the individual and cultural processes used to structure knowledge.

My General Approach

Nine key components of game-based pedagogy: investment, identity, choice, exposition, reward, collaboration, flexibility, challenge, and reflection.

James Paul Gee says: "We humans today have the best tools we have ever had--thanks to technology, digital media, and social media--to be smart. But these tools will not make us smarter all by themselves" (The Anti-Education Era, IX).

He continues: "if we plug into and play with good tools and other people in the right ways, we can be smart and moral, and we can save our world" (6-7).

What is Minecraft Education?

Minecraft: Education Edition is a version of Minecraft specifically made for the classroom. The enhancements help create collaborative spaces, give instructors more control over the players and environment, provide tutorials on coding, and gives a more reasonable price point ($5/year).

What is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a sandbox game in a procedurally generated world made out of three dimensional blocks which allows students to engage in resource gathering, crafting, building, exploring, and survival.

Created by Jaxon Builds (Youtube.com)

Why use it in the classroom?

  • Helps students engage in the Habits of Mind (Curiosity, Openness, Engagement, Creativity, Persistence, Responsibility, Flexibility, and Metacognition).
  • Embraces a multimodal philosophy.
  • Engages in fast-failing.
  • Enforces the five canons of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery.

Some possible projects

Creative Heuristic Builds - Give a term, concept, figure, or reading the students need to reflect on and let them build/design something. Asking them to reflect on their process and purpose helps them engage with both the "text" and their process.

Guided Build and Analysis - Give them a specific structure to build. Introduce simple design aesthetics and techniques. Have them create a video walkthrough or photomontage in addition to an essay. Have a classmate do a rhetorical analysis for added depth and engagement.

Multimodal Transformation and Presentation - Have students reimagine their research in a three dimensional space. Have them create a virtual representation of their figure, structure, site, etc. and design a presentation around it. This can include videos, images, tutorials, demonstrations, and more.

Technical Manual Design - As a class, have the students create a manual for Minecraft Education. Allow students to work to their strengths or try something new by having the class work together in InDesign to design a technical manual explaining controls, blocks, functions, design tips, and more. This can also be made into a Wiki, a website, or a printed book.

First Student Builds

75 min
60 min
3 hours
30 min
80 min
30 Min

Thank You

Christopher Stuart // Clemson University - RCID Program // cstuar2@clemson.edu // compcraft.weebly.com

Image Credits:

"Kings Landing" - by Westeroscraft

"Hogwarts" - by jstoeckm2 http://bit.ly/1IkPtFk

"Death Valley" - by Jaxon Builds

Minecraft Classroom - LockRikard

Created By
Christopher Stuart

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