Posted by & filed under Announcement, avatars, dance-tech, hybrid embodiment, Links, Livestreams Links, Mixed reality participatory performance environment, posthuman corporealities, Senses Places.

In Collaboration with Premiere of Parad is0, no hay billetes (LaboratorioSLD)
JUNE 7 > 4PM (SLT/GMT-8) / JUNE 8 > 1AM (Spain/GMT+1)

Virtual world location: Odyssey Contemporary Art and Performance Simulator (Second Life)
Physical public location: Casa de las Artes de Alanís de la Sierra, Paseo de la Alameda del Parral, 41380 Alanís, Sevilla, Spain!espacios/cwzt

© Kikas Babenko / Senses Places @ Bang Festival 2014

© Kikas Babenko / Senses Places @ Bang Festival 2014

Artists/Avatars collaborators for this performance
Isabel Valverde aka Butler2 Evelyn (Artistic direction, choreographer, performer)
Todd Cochrane aka Toddles Aeon (Technical direction, developer, performer)
Liz Solo aka Lizsolo Mathilde (SL artist, curator of Odyssey Contemporary Art and Performance Simulator)
Barbara Teixeira aka Kikas Babenko (SL artist, animator, performer)
Joana Martins aka fonteyn (software designer, performer)
Kae Ishimoto aka Kaejun (choreographer, performer, JP)
Ana Moura aka Anisabel (choreographer, performer, PT)
aka Saveme Oh (SL visual theater artist, vr animator, performer, NL)
Isa Seppi aka Janjii Rugani (choreographer, performer, BR)
Paulo Fernandes aka Genious Bickin (SL designer, performer, PT)
Clara Gomes aka Lux Nix (video artist, performer, PT)
Nick Rothwell (sound interface system, composer, UK)

Senses Places is a mixed reality collective performance and participatory environment that follows an ongoing process towards a kinesthetic/somatics embodied mediat(iz)ed communication. We engage in converging our physical, avatar and video embodiments through live videostreams, webcam, and biometric interfaces at the Second Life’s MUVE. This performance will integrate one of 15 episodes of a larger 3 day performance premiere, Parad is0, no hay billetes, from Salud Lopéz (LaboratoriosSLD), in residency at Casa de las Artes de Alanís de la Sierra, Spain.
For this performance we will engage with the excretory body system (lungs and skin), on a somatic mediated experience and extrapolating meaning, such as embodied multiplications, continuing to mingle our different hybrid embodiments towards an emerging integrated reality.

– What subjective and shared inter-subjective kinesthetic/somatic embodiments can we generate towards an integrated reality through an intertwining of physical, avatar, and image, and environment interfacing?
– How is this state of expanded awareness in action a form of meditative mediation, opening and noticing multiple communicative channels?

Let’s allow our bodies to interact intuitively, attaining for close/intimate/inner/somatic/energetic/kinesthetic connections, bringing into play our senses and subjective trans-cultural backgrounds. Our common concept is the experimentation and reflection upon the very shared interfacing experience and what kind of dance we develop through this mixed reality approach. The experiment is anchored in the sense of embodying and how we adapt to different mediations of self, others and environments.

This score proposes performative situations based on improvisational and integrative Eastern-Western dance approaches. During the performance the participants/performers choose at least 2 situations to engage with and relate with others, change them at will, and are invited to play their own animations or HUDs towards emerging connections from the eclectic/hybrid embodiments.
Although there is no fixed sequence, we propose to start in a circle, getting further closer to each other, including touch or a senses of one body, and explode in all directions. Moves and auras related to the energy/excretion.

Once we are working with the excretory system, we would like to propose that we try this time to start working with
Breathing – specially breathing out/exhaling and add sounds coming out of the movement related to the somatic sensing of release . what about initiating with AOM?
Skin – between inner body and external environment. such as sweat, energy/aura, touch self-others
Kidneys – relation with fluids system.

Score Situations / HUDs associated
A. Rooting / Grounding – floor poses & moves connecting bodies-environments
B. Standing Poses / Empowering – in between earth-sky – Buddha, Yoga & Power poses
C. Flying /Orbiting – levitate, like birds flocking and micro-macro quantum-astral elements
D. In Between/transitioning- mixing floor, standing, and flying animations.

Technical requirement before starting:
Each or all of the interfaces needs to be activated:
1. Webcam interface: Get the HUD(s) and instructions to activate in Giver at Senses Places @ Odyssey
2. VideoStream interface: 3/4 live performers with LiveStream Procaster
2.1. Isabel/Butler2, Mixed reality Casa de las Artes and SL:
2.2. Isa/Janjii, Brazil:
2.3. Liz Solo, NewFoundLand:
2.4. SL live recording:
3. Biometric interface: Isabel/Butler2 with Processing and PD (heart rate-sound) streaming at

A. Rooting / Grounding
Avatars: wear HUD Floor and Aura attachments: Phantom, generator k1 or other.
Action: engage in seating, lying and moving on the floor relating to webcam-avatar and videostream-images interfaces. Staying and changing poses and movement on the floor, connecting to our inner bodies and the ground, and in relation to others and environment, taking into account occasional touch or intertwining amongst performers and/or avatars.

B. Standing Poses / Empowering
Avatars: wear HUD Poses + Gestures or choose pose to play and wear HUD Gestures. Aura attachments: cheery coke, L + R soft particles or other.
Action: embodiment of standing poses, choosing the place in space and in spatial relationship with others, changing location/pose at least once. Changing physical pose/movement within pose affects/changes avatar poses and vices versa.

C. Flying / Orbiting
Avatars: wear HUD Flying. Aura attachments: DanceSphere, Raibow Trails or other.
Action: floating and moving in aerial space and in closer group connection, including the aerial poses, flocking trajectories, and jumps.

D. In Between / Transitioning
Avatars: wear HUD In Between. Aura attachments: blue shine hands, dovefloat or other.
Action: moving between the floor, standing, and flying. animation. Yielding to and opposing gravity expanding through space. Experimenting to follow someone. Changing energy flow connecting to all body parts, others, and environment. Trying to witness/encompass all. Including Tai Chi, Contact Improvisation, and flying moves and poses.


Posted by & filed under literature, neurolinguistics.

Literary criticism, cognitive science, and sensory perception in works by Woolf, Kerouac and Nabokov

Presenter: Michael Bartlett, PhD candidate

Venue: Milgate Room, ANU

part of the SLLL Literary Studies seminar

Cover Photo

In his pre-submission seminar, Michael Bartlett used three literary case studies to examine the value or otherwise of cognitive poetics and neuroaesthetics as two approaches in the critical toolkit. These case studies were:

  • Kerouac, On the road + music
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway + Impressionism
  • Nabokov, Lolita + crossmodality

From these studies he identified mechanisms where brain functions are definitely implicated in critical responses.

  • Nabokov’s synaesthesia provides an extreme case of the working of cross-modality as the base for metaphors like ‘sharp’ cheese. Bartlett noted V. S. Ramanchandran’s work on ‘hypernormativity’ (superstimulus) and synaesthesia.
  • Woolf’s method of representing moments in time, of converting story to novel (Banfield, 2003), is “more Pisarro than Monet”, and can be aligned with the tools used by Harvard neurobiologist Margaret Livingstone to research how artworks are perceived by highly interconnected modules in the brain’s anatomy.
  • Kerouac’s enjambement was clearly related to prosodic features in language and to the tension set up in jazz, where the audience anticipates and waits for the violations and resolutions in the music.

[Banfield, A. (2003). Time Passes: Virginia Woolf, Post-Impressionism, and Cambridge Time. Poetics Today 24(3), 471-516. Duke University Press.

Ramachandran, V. S. & Hubbard, E. M. (2005) Synesthesia: What does it tell us about the emergence of qualia, metaphor, abstract thought, and language? In 23 Problems in Systems Neuroscience, edited by T. S. Sejnowski & L. Van Hemmen. Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press, pp. 432-473.]

Additional reading

The foundation work on how literary effects can be translated by linguistics or cognitive science was from proponents Peter Stockwell (dealing with linguistics and conceptual metaphor) and (initially) Reuven Tsur (chiefly concerned with poetry).

Relevance to the study

The prepress paper by Lisa Zunshine on Honglou meng (Story of the Stone) from a cognitive viewpoint impressed me greatly, and I needed to find out more of her tradition of the critical reader as a mediator between author and effect, criticism and cognitive science.
[Zunshine, L. (2015). From the Social to the Literary: Approaching Cao Xueqin’s The Story of the Stone (Honglou meng 紅樓夢 ) from a Cognitive Perspective. In The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies (pp. 1–33).]

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Fabulous post from Odyssey’s Blog from Senses Places @ Hi-Dance Festival 1.0 showing convergence of different embodiments from Liz Solo’s hybrid perspective with music by Mike Kean

Odyssey Simulators

sensesplacespicOdyssey had the pleasure of hosting another event with Senses Places – Isabel Valverde and Senses Places at Hi-Dance Festival – Dance and Technology, Rome, Italy. Isabel performed live on stage with Odyssey artists/avatars. Avatars performed via large scale projections. Others, including Liz Solo and Mike Kean of The Black Bag Media Collective also participated via live web stream.

Here is some documentation of the event from the BBMC Studio perspective with live streamed footage of the performance by Francesca Fini.

Isabel Valverde and Senses Places – Mixed Reality Performance and Participatory Environment
Hi-Dance Festival – Dance and Technology – Rome, Italy, February 17, 2015
also at The Black Bag Media Collective Studio, St John’s Newfoundland
and The Odyssey Simulator
with Isabel Valverde, SaveMe Oh, Liz Solo,  Francesca Fini,
Rita Paz/Zapa7ir, Isa Seppi/Janjii Rugani, Kikas Babenco, Todd Cochrane and others


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Posted by & filed under hybrid embodiment.

About one year ago at lizsolo’s blog.
Soon updated documentation of this performance @ Metsverse Cultural Series / Avacon Feb 4, 2014, and other Senses Places instantiations pursuing the convergence of embodiment’s senses and places. We embarqued in more challenging interfacings at pertaining physical sites, including the Torres Vedras’ Castle at BANG AWARDS Festival (June 2014), and a Dome at Monte das Uvas, Loulé, for Danças Híbridas Festival (July 2014), towards richer mixed-reality intertwining 😀

liz solo

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere is a set of images from the most recent presentation of Senses Places – live at the Metaverse Cultural Series, the Odyssey Simulator and at remote locations participating via live web stream.

These pictures were taken from my studio perspective as me and partner Mike Kean participated by streaming the studio into Odyssey in Second Life and by projecting Odyssey into my studio (see This Post by the Odyssey Simulator  for a better explanation of the technology).

The space was small so rather than interact in the usual way (with movement) we played with music, shadows, mirrors, and interacting with the live projected space in small ways. I am looking forward to seeing more documentation from the other locations including the Physical site at ARTCASA in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Posted by & filed under activity design, curriculum, minecraft, Minecraft for Educators, plans.

Our latest assignment is:

How might you incorporate video games in general into the regular curriculum?

Your response should be generally speaking about the inclusion of video games into the process of teaching and learning through game-based learning. It is acceptable to use a particular video game such as Minecraft as an example, but you are free to consider other video games in your response.

I feel at something of a disadvantage because I don’t know what’s in the curriculum, but I’m going to focus on some fairly generic skills of planning and reflecting which I assume must be part of any credible curriculum. As well as this assumption, I’m going to start from the premise that even fairly young children — my son is six — are able to reflect on their own learning, or at least make adjustments to their behaviour that have an effect on their learning.

My observation is that when my son plays Minecraft his behaviour shows a mixture of planning and improvising that tends towards short- or medium-term goals. For example, I noticed him the other day working at some raised beds with some plant seeds and some animals around him. I asked him what he was doing. “Building a farm.” But when I followed up with a question, “What gave you the idea to do that?”, I get the classic 6-yr-old non-response (starting with “just because…” and, if pressed further, “because I wanted to”). Who knows? Maybe he saw Stampy doing something similar. The goal is sufficient to sustain him for a session (15-30 minutes or so), but not engaging enough to bring him back repeatedly. Next session he’ll start on something else, leaving that half-hoed kitchen garden to decay into bit-rot compost rather than ever becoming a proper farm.

So my idea is to set-up two fairly generic activities that encourage extension of the “planning horizon” so that bigger, longer-term projects can be built. The first one is single-player. The second one is for a small group (two to four children) and requires them to negotiate their planning goals and priorities towards a shared outcome. The learning activities could be done in any open-ended exploratory game environment, including Minecraft, but also other multiplayer and role-playing games. It wouldn’t work in a game with goals/measures/outcomes that are pre-defined  (like Plants vs Zombies, say).

Single-player version

  1. Think of something you want to make, build or do. Think big. Make it really cool.
  2. Write down what you’re aiming for, and try and be clear what makes it cool. (Hint: if you were showing it off to your friends, what do you think would impress them?)
  3. What are the steps in making, building or doing this thing? Write them down.
  4. Look at your list of steps. Is it in the right order? If not, arrange it so that it is.
  5. Now look again and for each step, write down whether it’s easy, medium, or hard.
  6. For the hard steps, can you say what makes them hard? Does it help if you break them down into smaller steps, and then identify which of those are easy or hard?
  7. Still thinking about the hard steps, what help do you think you can get to complete them? Where’s it going to come from?
  8. OK, enough planning. Get on and do it. Work for at least two hours. It’s up to you how much you refer to what you wrote in steps 2-7.
  9. Review what you did, and look again at what you wrote. Answer these questions?
    1. Is your goal still the same? Have you modified your idea about what you should make, build or do, and what makes it cool?
    2. Did you follow the steps in the same order as you wrote them out in step 4?
    3. Were the steps as easy or hard as you expected in step 5?
    4. What new steps did you have to add? (this refers to anything you did that you didn’t write down at the beginning)
    5. What help have you got, and how did it help you?
    6. What further help do you think  you might now need?
  10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you either achieve your goal or run out of steam

Multi-player version (2-4 players)

  1. Explore together your shared environment, noticing its possibilities and its hazards
  2. Discuss what you could make, build or do there.
    1. Take it in turns to describe your dream project, and what makes it cool
    2. Explore how you might combine your projects. It’s up to you to decide whether you mix things together in one big-project or whether you keep some independence, so that everyone does their own thing in the same space.
  3. Before you start playing, talk about the bits where you’re going to have to work together and depend on each other. (If it seems that there aren’t any bits like this, you’re not combining your projects enough — please red step 2.2 above so that the projects are more closely links.)
  4. Now play. Work for at least two hours. It’s up to you how much you refer to what you discussed in steps 2 and 3. You may be in the same room as each other, or you may only be able to communicate via the game.
  5. Discuss what you did and how it relates to what you discussed in steps 2 and 3.
    1. Did your work join up the way you expected?
    2. If there were any points where it didn’t, try to work out what led to that happening without blaming anyone else
    3. How much did you have to change your ideas of what you personally were going to be working on?
    4. How much did you have to change your ideas about what the group collectively were going to achieve?
    5. What would you do differently if you had another go?
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you run out of steam and/or time.

The simple idea here is to introduce the participants to the plan-do-review iterative cycle, bringing it “to the surface” by directing them to articulate the plan and review stages explicitly, rather than leaving them implicit, as is usually the case. By making this explicit it gives participants a prompt and an encouragement to learn about learning. In this case the games environment provides the platform for experiential and collaborative learning.

Posted by & filed under classroom, games, John Seely Brown, learning, minecraft, Minecraft for Educators, school.

The course text provides an invitation to,

consider the components of good classroom management and the importance of guidelines and community as they relate to a Minecraft classroom. Record your thoughts in a way that you can retrieve them later.

I’m not a home educator, but I’m not much interested in classrooms. Here’s why. There’s a page in the course titled, “Benefits and Potential Difficulties of Gaming in the Classroom”. It begins,

There are many benefits to incorporating video games into the classroom. Among these are increased student motivation, engagement, and length of time on task. However, the use of games in the classroom might also have negative effects if you are not careful and intentional in the way the lessons are structured.

First and foremost, an effective management strategy must be in place. Without proper guidelines, procedures, and expectations, the video game environment quickly digresses into chaos and difficulty with very little educational benefit. (My emphasis)

Bleurghh. That distils one of the big problems with classrooms: the obsession with control. What does the story of the Minecraft experience and Minecraft community tell us if not that the italicised statements above are simply untrue? (Not that they are the only sources of evidence to refute those statements — Sugata Mitra’s Hole in the Wall studies being just one other high-profile source.)

One of the main pedagogical benefits of Minecraft is surely that it liberates learning from the constraints of the classroom.

One of the touchstones for my thinking about these issues is the book, A New Culture of Learning (2011) by Doug Thomas and John Seely Brown. The book’s subtitle, Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change says more about Minecraft’s potential as a learning environment than the page in the course. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the book, clipped from my Kindle. Many of them, I think you will agree, could have been written with Minecraft explicitly in mind.

Children use play and imagination as the primary mechanisms for making sense of their new, rapidly evolving world. In other words, as children encounter new places, people, things, and ideas, they use play and imagination to cope with the massive influx of information they receive.

The new culture of learning is based on three principles: (1) The old ways of learning are unable to keep up with our rapidly changing world. (2) New media forms are making peer-to-peer learning easier and more natural. (3) Peer-to-peer learning is amplified by emerging technologies that shape the collective nature of participation with those new media.

[O[ne might be tempted to ask how we might harness the power of these peer-to-peer collectives to meet some learning objective. But that would be falling into the same old twentieth-century trap. Any effort to define or direct collectives would destroy the very thing that is unique and innovative about them.

[I]n universities today, as in other educational institutions, learning is happening outside as well as inside the classroom in late-night discussions among students, in study groups, during campus events, and in student organizations. When that tacit dimension is taken into consideration, the value of a university education grows to include the learning that happens when students are immersed in an environment that values learning itself. Being surrounded by academic culture becomes valuable not only because of the vast resources available to the students but also because of the opportunity for them to make connections among all those resourcesconnections that are grounded in experience and deeply personal.

The concept is a certain familiarity that forms through the process of prolonged inquiry on particular topics or from repeated use of skills and techniques. Polanyi has referred to it as indwelling. Indwelling is a familiarity with ideas, practices, and processes that are so engrained they become second nature. Not unlike the notion of inquiry, indwelling is also an adaptive process, meaning that the practices that become second nature have flexibility; they are responsive to changes in the environment and situation.

The new culture of learning nurtures collective indwelling. Until now, we have lacked the ability, resources, and connections to make this kind of learning scalable and powerful. With access to the nearly endless supply of collectives today, however, learning that is driven by passion and play is poised to significantly alter and extend our ability to think, innovate, and discover in ways that have not previously been possible.

When we build, we do more than create content. Thanks to new technologies, we also create context by building within a particular environment, often providing links or creating connections and juxtapositions to give meaning to the content.

Through the process of making, we are also learning how to craft context so that it carries more of the message, which helps solve many of the issues of information overload. Thus, as context begins to play an increasingly important role, it becomes easier to talk about things like visual arguments; expanding the notion of literacy to include images, color, and sound; and how information is transmitted through new phenomena, such as viral distribution.

Much of what makes play powerful as a tool for learning is our ability to engage in experimentation. All systems of play are, at base, learning systems. They are ways of engaging in complicated negotiations of meaning, interaction, and competition, not only for entertainment, but also for creating meaning. Most critically, play reveals a structure of learning that is radically different from the one that most schools or other formal learning environments provide, and which is well suited to the notions of a world in constant flux.

Through play, the process of learning is no longer smooth and progressive. Instead, there is a gap between the knowledge one is given and the desired end result. The gap is apt to widen in a state of constant flux, where stable paths and linear progression are no longer viable, thus making play particularly valuable in our ever-changing world. In Huizingas view, this follows the structure of a riddle.

Hanging out is much more than creating a feeling of presence or belonging. It is the first step in the process of indwelling, which, as Polanyi explained, goes beyond the process of enculturation and an understanding of social norms, roles, and mores. The beginnings of indwelling in the digital world are rooted in the notion of being with. [Mimi] Ito’s work reveals that hanging out is more than simply gaining familiarity with the tools, spaces, and possibilities that the digital world offers. Hanging out, in her terms, is about learning how to be with others in spaces that are mediated by digital technology. Thus, it is building a foundation for learning that transcends the bounds of the virtual.

When messing around, young people begin to take an interest in and focus on the workings and content of the technology and media themselves, tinkering, exploring, and extending their understanding.

Hanging out is about acquiring a sense of social agency. The transition to messing around, as Ito describes it, is typically personal and involves the development of a sense of personal agency: &what is characteristic of these initial forays into messing around is that youth are pursuing topics of personal interest. Young people who were active digital media creators or deeply involved in other interest-driven groups generally described a moment when they took a personal interest in a topic and pursued it in a self-directed way.

The process of knowing has moved from being instrumental to being structured by a sense of play. Through that shift, experience is transformed into a process of experimentation, play, and riddling, which reveals the resources and possibilities that are available to a person and what he can do with them.

Messing around, therefore, constitutes the second step of indwelling: embodiment. It asks the question: What am I able to explore?

[G]eeking out extends both the social agency of hanging out and the personal agency of messing around. As Ito puts it: Geeking out involves learning to navigate esoteric domains of knowledge and practice and participating in communities that traffic in these forms of expertise.… Geeking out asks the question: How can I utilize the available resources, both social and technological, for deep exploration?

The richness of experience and social agency produced by hanging out and the sense of embodiment and personal agency created by messing around, combined with the sense of making, produces what we think is the ultimate goal of indwelling: learning. Geeking out provides an experiential, embodied sense of learning within a rich social context of peer interaction, feedback, and knowledge construction enabled by a technological infrastructure that promotes intense, autonomous, interest driven learning.

In our view, mmos [Massively Multiplayer Online games] are almost perfect illustrations of a new learning environment. On one hand, games like World of Warcraft produce massive information economies, composed of thousands of message forums, wikis, databases, player guilds, and communities. In that sense, they are paragons of an almost unlimited information network. On the other hand, they constitute a bounded environment within which players have near-absolute agency, enjoying virtually unlimited experimentation and explorationmore of a petri dish.

Think back to the assertions that Huizinga put forward in Homo Ludens: (1) Play is more than something we do, it is who we are, and (2) play precedes culture. We want to add to those concepts by proposing that play fuses the two elements of learning that we have been talking about: the information network and the petri dish (or bounded environment of experimentation). That fusion is what we call the new culture of learning. The critical idea is that the two elementsof information and experimentationare being brought together in a way that transforms them both. It is that fusion that defines the new culture of learning.

Accordingly, the culture that emerges, the new culture of learning, is a culture of collective inquiry that harnesses the resources of the network and transforms them into nutrients within the petri dish environment, turning it into a space of play and experimentation. That moment of fusion between unlimited resources and a bounded environment creates a space that does not simply allow for imagination, it requires it. Only when we care about experimentation, play, and questions more than efficiency, outcomes, and answers do we have a space that is truly open to the imagination. And where imaginations play, learning happens.

Posted by & filed under Minecraft for Educators.


Server properties file (click to enlarge)

The point here where Joel Mills talks about hosting your own server as a means to experiment with mods and plugins etc before ‘upscaling’ to something more ambitious is more exactly where I am and what I’m aiming for.

So I followed the instructions to download and setup the Minecraft server on my old MacBook. I got caught out a couple of times, but when I payed closer attention to this video, it put me right. I was then able to login from the MacBook or another

The first major problem I saw was that the game was starting in Survival mode. I read up on the codes, and changed gametype to 1. Then the server log said it was running in Creative mode — but after logging in, the experience was still Survival… Two hours of hair-pulling and one whiney post to the discussion forum later, I’m very grateful to Kathy J for stepping in with the solution: force-gamemode=true.

Below are some more screenshots to evidence my set-up and logging in (click on the thumbnail images to see full size).

My remaining frustration was that I couldn’t login to this server via Minecraft PE, which is what my (6-year-old) son mostly uses. I now understand that, in general you cannot connect Minecraft PE to MInecraft PC servers. However, at some level you can, because we can connect PE to the servers at What mods are they running to enable that, I wonder?

Localhost server set-up

Localhost basic server setup. To access via another PC, I edited the server address to be the IP address of my MacBook.

Logging in

Logging in

Minecraft and terminal window

“Playing” the game – terminal window shows my username has joined

So now I can set up and run a (boring vanilla) server. I still can’t play Minecraft for toffee. But my son can help with that bit.


Posted by & filed under Courses, Minecraft for Educators.

This is prepared for submission as part of the Minecraft for Educators course that started this week.

You are asked to identify the different platforms that you can play Minecraft on e.g. Console, Tablet, PC etc… and produce a comparison describing the differences and limitations of each…

We are looking for you to show your understanding and knowledge of the different platforms that Minecraft comes on and clearly show us what each version is capable of or its limitations.

Always a bit tricky with these exercises where someone throws some information at you and asks you to regurgitate it. How faithfully? And how much ‘inspiration’ to take from sources that everyone knows about? One solution to this is to make it personal, so here goes…

Pocket Edition

We started in our household on the iOS platform, with my son playing mostly on iPad. This is the Pocket Edition, which I understand is a slightly poor relation to the original PC edition, though I’m still finding out the differences. I note that Wikipedia reports that reviewers “were disappointed by the lack of content [in the Pocket Edition]. The inability in the game to collect resources and craft items, as well as the game’s lack of hostile mobs and limited types of blocks, were especially criticised”. What is content in this context? My son noted the presence of rabbits in the PC version yesterday, which he wasn’t used to from PE: is that content?

PC version

I have now bought and downloaded Minecraft for my old MacBook. It runs slowly (that’s because it’s written in Java, and MacOS & Java don’t play that well together, right?) and we got frustrated by trying to interact with it using a trackpad, so I’ve ordered a cheap mouse. At the moment we’re just playing the game in creative mode locally. My son is trying to map the understanding he’s developed on PE on the PC version, and I’m trying to help him in that (for example, by leading the exploration of options) and pick up some of the concepts in the process.

Pi Edition

We have a Raspberry Pi and I considered downloading the Pi Edition. But I was put off from doing this by two considerations. First, it requires a different version of the Pi OS from the one we’re using, and I can’t be doing with that amount of faffing about. Second, it appears the PI edition is based on an old (and presumably less feature-rich) version of Pocket Edition — presumably because of the Pi’s limited processing power — so there’s not much point in going to all that effort.

Console versions

My son frequently complains that his schoolmate has Minecraft on his Xbox. This is better in several ways, he tells me, particularly in being able to play in each others’ worlds. Wikipedia identifies some exclusive features, including a “newly designed crafting system, the control interface, in-game tutorials, split-screen multiplayer, and the ability to play with friends via Xbox Live“. I am not clear about the difference between Xbox Live and multiplayer mode.

We’re not going to be getting an Xbox any time soon, but we do have an Amazon Fire TV, and I’m aware that Pocket Edition is available for this (Android-based, right?) platform. If we buy the Amazon Fire Game Controller this might make Minecraft available on the living room TV at a fraction of the cost of an Xbox, but presumably without all those extra features.

Multiplayer and modifications

Another thing I am not very clear about is the Minecraft architecture. In the course video, it’s apparent that an important gateway to unlock the extended potential of Mincraft is the scope to mod(ify) it and then share your mods via multiplayer mode on your server. This seems to operate on an open source model (or is it ‘proper’ open source?), which makes ‘forks’ in the original game like MinecraftEDU possible.

These modifications must be done at server level (right?), but I am not clear whether what’s running on the server is a distinct Minecraft Server program, or whether this is just the PC software that you open up as a server — and I could not discern the answer from either Wikipedia or the video. I’m assuming this will become clear one way or the other via the section of the course on setting up a server in Week 2.


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Hey Guys how are you all, well just as the title perceives I am now home.  Back to the lovely weather of Great Britain. I don’t regret coming home early I just knew it was time to do so. I had a good flight back wasn’t too happy that my trip from Chicago to Manchester didn’t have a private TV screen although was pleased to have two seats to myself. This trip has taught me so much about myself, the country, the culture of the United States of America. I think it has been a great journey and I have had a great time been in the USA being away for 51 days on the road and don’t regret a thing and hope to do something similar again next year.

A quick review

Best hotel: Hotel Monteleone (New Orleans)

Worst Hotel: Monticello Inn Framingham (Boston)

Best Location: Orlando Florida

Best weather: Miami

Best restaurant: Outback Steakhouse

Friendliest people: Huntsville Alabama/ Columbus Ohio

Best tourist attraction: Seaworld

Best event: Wrestlemania 30 weekend

This blog will continue on my next trip so it’s not the end of the road. Lastly I just want to thank everyone who has followed, read, commentated on this blog. I also like to thank anyone who has allowed me to follow my dreams and has believed in this journey that I have followed. Later Guys 🙂