1/2 through, our Independent Study course is already a success
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MCU's Independent Study camp is off to a fantastic start.

But Independent was a misnomer.

Part of the point of this camp is to teach our most advanced campers how to collaborate on both creating a shared vision and building it. And they've run with it. Other than the age of the people in it, the photo above is indecipherable from an image taken in any design meeting at any game studio or Silicon Valley startup.

There is also one other key element to this camp that I didn't really appreciate until after we had begun...

The very first thing we cover in the camp is worldbuilding. You can check out those curriculum notes here.

What dawned on me that first day was that this was the first time in our curriculum where we ask the campers to be the worldbuilders, instead of participating in a world at least framed by others' work.

Minecraft itself invites players to do world building, that's part of why it's so amazing--flexible and perfect for educational applications--but at the end of the day the mechanics of crafting, redstone...even programming in ComputerCraft...they are others' creations.

In Sequence 4--our modding curriculum--the campers start to get a feel for what it's like to build something from nothing. It is a transitional phase. It is building the individual elements of a new world.

This camp asks the campers to build an entire world from nothing. And to do it collaboratively with other campers. And to do it within two weeks. It applies principles of software product design and development to help guide them through the process.

This work requires that they fully transition from consumer to creator. From understanding the frameworks laid out by others to creating and communicating their own framework. 
This is an image from a Google design meeting. 
Here is another image from our camp. I was surprised at how accurately the artifacts of our work matched Google's. Except that our campers got so into it that we ran out of room on the white board for our ideas.
A drawing of a custom Minecraft map. In software development we call this the user journey.
Let me know if you'd be interested in fall sessions of this camp in Dallas, or remotely via videoconference, or in helping further develop or run this curriculum where you are.
Email me
-- Daniel Miller, director, Minecraft U
Copyright © 2016 minecraftu, All rights reserved.

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