Learning while having fun: the experience of Kathleen Morneau

At the Académie St-Louis, the iPad occupies an important place in everyday life. Kathleen Morneau tells us about her classroom experience with the game Minecraft.

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At the Académie St-Louis, the iPad occupies an important place in the daily life of students and teachers. It has been 3 years since students of 5e and 6e years work with their own iPad. Each year, Kathleen and her students carry out a project related to the game Minecraft.

Teacher at this establishment since 2007, Kathleen Morneau constantly seeks to renew her teaching practices in order to offer her students stimulating experiences allowing them to use their tool to the maximum. She is constantly on the lookout for opportunities and projects to introduce her students to the many features of the iPad.

The project carried out with the game Minecraft turned out to be a great success, both in terms of results and student motivation. The École branchée asked this daring teacher a few questions in order to understand the project and its impact:

École branchée: Tell us a bit about your background.

Kathleen Morneau: I come from the beautiful town of Rivière-du-Loup in the Bas St-Laurent. I hold a DEC in administration-finance and marketing and a bachelor's degree in elementary and preschool education from Laval University. I have been teaching since 2007 at the Pavillon St-Louis-de-Gonzague (boys' sector of the Académie St-Louis). I have always done 5th and 6th grade and always taught only boys! I find that we can do a lot of stimulating projects with them!

Understand the rationale and purpose of the project

École branchée: Explain to us the context that prompted you to use Minecraft in your lessons.

Kathleen Morneau: You should know that I teach 30 boys… and boys immediately love video games! Several studies have taught us in the past that learning takes place through play. Minecraft has therefore arrived at a key moment in my teaching since with its multiple possibilities, it allowed my students to really understand certain mathematical concepts while being playful. . Minecraft allows the student to be the main actor. The student is more active and must invest 100% in his learning to then transpose it into the game.

École branchée: What is the goal of this project?

Kathleen Morneau: The goal of this project is to recreate the exterior building of our school as precisely as possible. Children must first make a guess as to the scale they will use to make the building most realistic. Then, they must take the measurements of the different parts of the school (area and perimeter) and work in collaboration with a peer to build the school. There is obviously a part that requires trial and error, but that's what makes the beauty of this game.

École branchée: How did you manage to address elements of the Training program through Minecraft?

Kathleen Morneau: I first created a science notebook using the Book Creator app. Inside, we find the scientific approach; process that should be taught to students. Students must follow this process to start the project.

Since the students have to make plans, we work on the concepts related to taking measurements and converting measurements. They also learn to read and use a scale, much like the one found on maps.

In addition, the use of Minecraft leads students to solve problems. To achieve this, they must discuss the project with their team partner in order to find common ground and solutions to the problems encountered.

Impacts, lessons learned and conclusions drawn

École branchée: Tell us about the impact of this project on the motivation of your students?

Kathleen Morneau: The students are more than excited to get involved in this project. Several even go so far as to start inside the school by reproducing the cafeteria or the library on a scale. In addition, the students who enter my class in the following years are already happy to have this experience since they have heard about it from the older students. The motivation is therefore already there!

École branchée: If this project had to be redone, how would you go about it?

Kathleen Morneau: I am improving the project from year to year. The first year, I did not have a notebook to collect our findings. This year, I am even thinking of integrating French by doing a written production on the subject of our school.

École branchée: What did you learn as a teacher?

Kathleen Morneau: I know my program, but the students, for their part, know more about Minecraft. So I have to get out of my comfort zone and agree to let them in turn teach me the tricks of this video game. When we teach with Minecraft, we are far from the years when the courses were held in row onion. The teacher-student relationship is really improved. The students are the winners and the teacher too!

And a word of wisdom for the end

École branchée: Do you have any recommendations for a teacher who would like to integrate games and technologies into their lessons?

Kathleen Morneau: You have to show students that moderation tastes much better. Often they get carried away and have difficulty letting go. Technology has good sides, but I think as a teacher it is important to do some outreach work. We have to show them that dropping out, going outside and playing, taking the time to chat in real time with our friends, these are essential values!

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About the Author

Alexane Saint-Amant-Ringuette
Alexane is the editor of the École branchée online news feed. She has a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of British Columbia as well as a master's degree in intercultural mediation from the University of Sherbrooke. She also acts as a communications advisor for the organization Idée Éducation entrepreneuriale.

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