Did you know Minecraft Education Edition includes a camera?

Do you realize what that means? Anything your students build in Minecraft can be  captured in a picture and exported for the teacher (and/or class)  to view without having to personally enter that student’s Minecraft world!  Day 78 of 365 Ideas for Office 365 is all about using the Camera and Portfolio in Minecraft for formative assessment.

Formative Assessment in Minecraft EE

There are a number of ways that teachers can leverage Minecraft EE in the classroom.  Some require much more learning and experiencing Minecraft on the part of the teacher, but this is one of the ways you can harness your students’ love of Minecraft without a huge investment of your time to learn how to play and create yourself.

The workflow is pretty straightforward if you already have in place any process for digital learning or paperless assignments.  We’ll go over those options at the end today.

Finding the camera and portfolio

Students just need to press “E” for inventory and type in “camera”, then click and drag the camera into an y of the boxes at the bottom of the screen.  (Think of this as their tool belt.)  While they are here, they may as well grab the Portfolio as well.  They don’t actually need it yet, but since they are already in their inventory,, they might as well get it.  Then they click escape to get back into the game.

Screenshot of Inventory screen in Minecraft showing a Camera

Say “Cheese!”

 There are two ways to take a picture- point and click, or selfie.  When you choose to use the camera, wherever the crosshairs are on the screen is what you will take a picture of.  Point and click.  It’s that simple.  However, you can also aim your crosshairs at the ground or floor near you (generally within 5 blocks in any direction- you’ll know you are aiming close enough to do this if the block you are pointing at is outlined in black.)  If you do so, instead of taking a picture, you will place the camera and tripod on that space.  You can then right-click on the camera (again, you have to be close enough to interact with it) the camera will turn toward you and start smoking, giving you a few seconds to get in position before it takes the picture, with you in it.

Portfolio

Regardless of which picture(s) you take, and also regardless of when you add a portfolio to your inventory and when you open that portfolio, every picture you take with a camera is saved in the portfolio.

(To choose what item you are using, press the number key that corresponds to that “slot”- they are numbered 1-9)

Choose the portfolio and right-click anywhere to open the portfolio and see the pictures you have taken, most recent first.  You can add a caption to each picture, and delete images you don’t want to keep.  You can click Export at any time.  Clicking export does not change your portfolio contents in anyway, and you can “re-export” at any time. 

Exporting your portfolio

When you export the portfolio you can choose where to save it to.  If you have OneDrive synced to your device, you can save it there directly.  If you have the File area from any Team synced to your device, you can also save there directly.  In a class, most likely students will need to save it, either on OneDrive or locally, and then upload or add to an assignment.

Add portfolio to assignment in Teams

In Microsoft Teams (or Google Classroom) students can add an attachment to an assignment.  Since the portfolio is exported form Minecraft as a PDF file, that file can be added to an assignment in Teams and turned in, giving the teacher an easy way to scroll through each students’ submissions without having to go into their Minecraft worlds.

There are other ways to do formative assessments in Minecraft besides the camera and portfolio that we will look at in upcoming sessions.

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