This semester has been a long and tiresome battle, but I can say that this English class has been a highlight. Initially I was a little skeptical of the entire aspect of the class being set up like a game, but I think it worked in favor of conveying concepts, encouraging ownership, and creativity.
Quick Lessons Learned
In the beginning, there were a lot of mandatory readings and YouTube videos to watch. I feel like having these sorts of assignments be mandatory was little unnecessary. In fact, what I noticed within myself, was that I would slack and skim through the required readings, but when I needed help with writing a paper or getting ideas, I knew which articles and/or video links to use under the “Quest Items” tab. It was similar to having a mini library of resources.
Out of all the available links, there was one that stood out. In my second Journey Log , I discussed my experience and thoughts when watching a video. The video was mainly about debunking the stereotype image of a gamer. It highlighted how we are all gamers at heart, which is a concept that I continued to learn and appreciate more through this class.
Omnipresent: Habits of Mind
During the first week and every week since then, I have been able to learn and explore the 8 Habits of Mind. The 8 Habits of Mind are a framework of habits that identifying ways of approaching learning and writing. They include: curiosity, openness, engagement, creativity, persistence, responsibility, flexibility, and metacognition. Out of the 8 habits, my top 4 where openness, creativity, engagement, and persistence.
Openness is a key concept in life, so it makes sense that it should be applied to this class, especially since it is taught in a nontraditional way. Openness refers to the ability to consider new ways of being and thinking. I initially came into the class expecting to write a million papers, but this was not the case. I had to learn to a use media outlets to express my idea in way my words on a sheet of paper could not. It was difficult at first, seeing as I was slightly resilient to creating videos of my weekly adventures. There was also uncertainty of how open I should be with expressing my ideas. These uncertainties were soon dispelled, as I became more comfortable with communicating simple actions in fun ways.
Inside the class, engagement was a Habit of Mind I focused on. Engagement is defined as sense of investment and involvement in learning. There was no point in sitting in class and staring at Chris when he obviously wanted an answer to a simple question. By engaging in class conversation, I built up the confidence to speak up and created an open bond with Chris.
As I created journey logs, wrote papers, and played in Minecraft, creativity was a constant thought in my headed. In this class I was able to learn about the different outlets of creation I had (for free). I got first hand advice on how to use adobe spark pages, Adobe Premiere, Behance video maker, Minecraft, and other tools in Adobe Creative Cloud. With the multitude of outlets to use there an underlying hint og pressure to be creative. I learned that creativity shouldn’t be forced. When I put in my best effort, but thought my outcome was basic, I ended up getting extra credit. Creativity is something that comes from within.
I think the most important Habit of Mind I learned throughout the semester was persistence. Persistence is the ability to sustain interest in and attention to short and long term projects. This class had so many projects, that it’s not even funny. I liked the concepts behind the projects, they just took forever to complete. I know I have a problem with staying invested in long term projects, so this semester I learned how to overcome them (mostly because my graded depended on it). This was evident in Raid Two, Three, and Four. These Raids dealt with our research paper. I don’t mind writing a paper but it was slightly draining to be working on it for 3 or 4 weeks. Then on top of that I had to create my villain’s sanctuary in Minecraft (a new software for me to learn). While it was time consuming and took longer than expect, I do feel proud of my outcome.
Speaking of Minecraft, Minecraft was the bane of my existence. Well, it was initially. The first day we tried it, I was confused, and the next day I tried it I forgot how to use all the controls. To build entire monuments and structures in it seemed impossible at the beginning of the semester. Once I started being openminded and focusing when I built, it wasn’t too bad. I actually surprised myself with my creations, and still have an interest in creating more. I think Minecraft is easy, in general, for all ages. It just depends on how committed and how much time is allotted to see if the player will flourish at it. I was committed but didn’t have a lot of time. I think I will probably use Minecraft in the future.