Follow Me to Minecraft will harness the power of Minecraft to create a fun learning experience through activities aligned to level A1 of the CEFR and are designed to focus on the skills and knowledge required by English language learners to communicate successfully at this level. Problem-based learning enables students to embrace complexity, find relevance and joy in their learning, and enhance their capacity to make creative contributions to real-world problems.
Minecraft is an ideal digital learning environment for delivering independent or guided learning experiences and the project explores language teaching within the engaging and creative context offered by the world of Minecraft.
FOLLOW ME will deliver a new educational tool to be used both in ELT classrooms and at home by instructors and learners respectively, comprising a teacher’s guide and a complete set of activities to be performed in a digital learning space. This will be achieved through a series of constant collaboration between subject matter experts (aka ELT professionals), game developers to first identify the needs and set the learning objectives, and later on implement them in a virtual environment. Stories help young learners remember their experiences in second languages and so an overarching narrative can tie together the puzzles for the learners to solve within Minecraft. Apart from facilitating the understanding of English, the game will also encourage skills that are important as learning outcomes, such as curiosity, creativity, perseverance, problem solving, and collaboration.
The main outcome – an increase in the use of digital learning spaces for delivering ELT learning experiences to children and, in particular, in the use of Minecraft as a delivery environment for ELT.
HISTORY AND INNOVATION IN PLOVDIV
In April 2022 a team of three students from ELS ‘Geo Milev’, together with our school principal, an English teacher, an IT teacher and an art teacher were warmly welcomed by their partners from Foreign Language Highschool ‘Ivan Vazov’ in Plovdiv. The meeting was part of the national programme “Innovation in Action” and gathered partners from Burgas, Knizhovnik and Plovdiv. The programme is focused on innovative schools, which make a change through the introduction of innovative practices that solve organizational and content problems in the educational process.
This approach in education provides an opportunity to build modern schools in which students can improve their educational outcomes, their motivation to learn, their participation in school life and to develop their creative thinking, different competencies and emotional intelligence through innovative educational processes, teaching methods, school leadership, new learning strategies, etc.
The team of teachers from English Language School ‘Geo Milev’ – Burgas seized the occasion to present the Erasmus + projects it is involved in to specialists in various fields and emphasize the importance of project work in terms of innovative teaching and exchange of good practices.
The presented projects under Erasmus + were: DYLEng (DOUBLE (Y)OUR LESSONS IN ENGLISH), ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHING ADVENTURES IN MINECRAFT and EcoPodcasts: Student podcasts on eco conscious and sustainable living, coordinated by the school. The students participating in the meeting managed to bring a different perspective of project-based learning approach, together with raising environmental awareness and relate them to innovative teaching practices.
Project Based Learning Training in Bulgaria and FOLLOW ME TO MINECRAFT Project
On 13th May, 2022, a training of teachers from AEG “Geo Milev”, Burgas was held in Primorsko, Bulgaria. The topic of the training was “Project-based Learning”.
During the training all of the participants were presented together with other projects the project under the Erasmus + programme: FOLLOW ME TO MINECRAFT, as well as the goals and content of the project and the ways it can positively impact project-based learning in the classroom. In the first theoretical part, all colleagues from the English Language School “Geo Milev”, Burgas, watched a presentation on the benefits of project-based training. Then the team of FOLLOW ME TO MINECRAFT started a discussion and provided suggestions for good problem-bases learning practices and integrating various Minecraft worlds as an opportunity for project-based learning in the classroom. They put an emphasis on the importance of implementing innovative teaching methods in the classroom and illustrated their ideas through FOLLOW ME TO MINECRAFT project goals. Teachers of English as a second language and IT presented their ideas for creating a variety of Minecraft worlds for their students to use in the classroom. All teams presented interdisciplinary links concerning the project objectives and other subjects.
Visit to the European Parliament in Brussels and FOLLOW ME TO MINECRAFT
In May 2022 students from English Language School “Geo Milev”, Burgas, accompanied by the school principal Mrs. Zhaklin Mutafyan-Neycheva and the deputy principal Mrs. Krassimira Miteva visited the European Parliament in Brussels, where the last meeting of the project “From Eurodivison to Eurovision” under the Erasmus + Key Activity 2: Cooperation for innovation and exchange of good practices took place.
During their visit in Brussels, the Bulgarian team managed to introduce to their partners from Finland, Spain, Poland and Italy another project under the Erasmus + programme: FOLLOW ME TO MINECRAFT and share their experience in good collaboration in terms of problem-based learning.
The participants in the mobility, as well as their teachers, were impressed by the enthusiasm of the students from Bulgaria and the ideas for good practices presented there and shared that they would try to implement them in their schools.
In the European Parliament in Brussels, the participants from Bulgaria first attended an exciting meeting-discussion with the Finnish MEP – Sirpa Pietikainen and then they met Mrs. Eva Maidel – MEP from Bulgaria and President of the International European Movement (IEM). In the conversation, not only did the students share their vision of the image of modern Europe and presented their proposals and ways to address immigration, but they also touched on issues related to the benefits of Erasmus + and talked about the other project they are participating in – FOLLOW ME TO MINECRAFT. They expressed their opinion on the importance of innovative teaching and learning methodology and implementing Minecraft world in the classroom as part of the successful teaching practices.
Mrs. Maidel was impressed by the achievements of the students from English Language School “Geo Milev”, Burgas, and welcomed the extracurricular project activities they take part in. They thanked for the warm welcome and her support for quality education, which builds on key competencies and is one of the priorities of her work.