Robert Remmerswaal


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Show & Tell presentation Setting up a Minecraft Server and Fostering an Online Community more

Sun, Jun 19, 10:45-11:15 Asia/Tokyo

How can I create an engaging online community? How can I increase student use of English outside of the classroom? How can I setup a Minecraft world that students can access from anywhere? At a private Japanese university, the English conversation lounge was moved online due to the pandemic. Many students were hesitant to join online. A possible reason was the lack of activities, leaving the sole focus on speaking. The author considered Minecraft as a solution to encourage students to use English outside of the classroom when everything moved online. However, there were several hurdles that needed to be overcome to accommodate a multi-player online community. Shortly after the server was setup, in-person conversations were once again allowed at the university. The author used the Minecraft Server to support an English community both online and in-person. This presentation introduces the challenges of choosing and setting up a server, advice for those who are interested in starting their own server, and a walk-through of the server that the author chose. The Minecraft server afforded new interactions both in-person and online. The author will detail the advantages and disadvantages of the various multi-player setups and how they change depending on the goal of the educator. Specifically, the author will discuss costs, ease of use, network restrictions, and the cross-compatibility and limitations of using Minecraft Realms, Education Edition, Java, Bedrock, or a hybrid server. The author uses a hybrid Java/Bedrock server.

Robert Remmerswaal

Paper presentation Self Access Learning and Minecraft: Student Perceptions more

Sat, Jun 18, 10:00-10:30 Asia/Tokyo

Minecraft is an interactive virtual sandbox that came out in 2011. Despite its age, its popularity has continued to rise. The authors have created a Minecraft server for their students at a private Japanese university. This university puts great effort into its English Self Access Center (SALC), offering a variety of options for students to practice their English and focus on their skills or learning goals. In an effort to expand the offerings of this SALC, the two authors introduced a Minecraft server with an “English Please” mentality, not forcing any language usage but encouraging English usage when students felt comfortable to do so. During this phase of the project, the authors focused on the student perceptions of Minecraft after introducing a persistent survival mode option as well as a creative mode option to coincide with other themed events such as Halloween and Christmas. Initially, 130 students surveyed indicated an interest in participating in a Minecraft server set up and run by the SALC. Of those students, 28 joined a discussion forum (Microsoft Teams), and roughly 20 have logged into the server at least one time during the three months of the first phase. At the completion of phase one, the authors surveyed the students electronically for their impressions of the server. Questions centered around the reasons for joining or not joining the server after stating interest in the initial survey, ways to improve the experience, and gaining an understanding of student expectations for the Minecraft server community. These insights from the surveys in addition to the interactions and observations of the authors have led to changes in how they will implement Phase 2.

Robert Dykes Robert Remmerswaal