Using Minetest with young students

leedzman
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Using Minetest with young students

by leedzman » Wed Aug 21, 2019 07:50

Hi all, my first post!

I was directed here by a kind Redditor called 's0f4r' (thank you, if you are reading this). I'm grateful for the tip, as it looks like this forum is extremely knowledgeable about MT.

Here is what I posted on Reddit:

"My school has asked me to start an activity using Minecraft with grade 1 and grade 2 students, so I started looking into buying it for our school. I have run into problems with licenses and the education edition won't run on our computers (we are in China, where things like this can be difficult). It was while researching this that I came across Minetest and realised it may be a perfect alternative for my class.

I know Minetest isn't a MC clone, but it seems like I may be able to mod it so it's familiar enough to kids who already play MC outside school. Right?

I have 23 computers in the lab (plus 1 master computer) all running Windows 7.

So far I have managed to install the base game/engine on a few PCs and got a few players on the same map together in one game.

The point of this is to stimulate creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills with the kids while they also have fun. Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

Also I wonder how I can set myself up as an admin on the master computer, as I want to able to block the students from going on outside servers. I also want to 'save' the session each time so we can take it up next class from where we left off.

It would be great to hear from any teachers who have used MT in classrooms (especially younger learners), but any advice from anyone on this would be awesome too. Please help me make a class full of kids happy with Minetest!"

As I said there, any help or tips with this would be much appreciated. I would be happy to come back on too and document what happens in my class if it could benefit others in future.

LM
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by twoelk » Wed Aug 21, 2019 08:15

you might find some interesting things collected on the Mods:Learning page of the Minetest-Wiki. The "Related Forum Threads and other links" section has some links to more forum threads and resources in other places.
 

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Yvanhoe
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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Yvanhoe » Wed Aug 21, 2019 08:32

Yes! I just started something I hope will be a monthly workshop with kids, teaching some curriculum notions in minetest (the first one being mostly coordinates, which is pretty easy and introducing logic circuits with mesecons).

I am currently planning the next one (mid september) where I plan to make them play with volumes using dynamic_liquid and waterworks. Also I made some tools so that we can put non-latin characters on signs (I am in Japan) you will probably want to add this too, possibly adding some unicode ranges I missed.

I'd love to discuss a lot about what's doable, what's desirable and what's hard. PM me and let's have a long chat!

A few answers:

Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

I have used so far:
- A modified orienteering
- display_modpack, modified to add a Japanese font
- mesecons, for logic circuits
- protector, which I will replace with the areas mod.
- rubenwardy's crafting
- skillbooks
- xdecor (for a few additional items I like)
- quest_chest, a cusotm mod I made but I will replace it with BuckarooBanzay's missions mod for the next workshop.

My main addition next time will be waterworks, to add pipes, pumps and valves.

Also I wonder how I can set myself up as an admin on the master computer
I guess on the master computer you are starting a session with the "host game" button? Then you are an admin. The player name you chose on this computer becomes the main admin. You can use the command /grant and /revoke to give players additional privileges. Check the manual on the chat commands, there are a few things useful there.

I want to able to block the students from going on outside servers.
I think for that you have to modify the configuration on each client. Check the minetest.conf manual. I don't think you can do that from the master computer.

I also want to 'save' the session each time so we can take it up next class from where we left off.
Worlds and player states are automatically saved in the worlds/ folder. If you backup that, you will have all your data saved.
 

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Yvanhoe
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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Yvanhoe » Wed Aug 21, 2019 08:34

twoelk wrote:you might find some interesting things collected on the Mods:Learning page of the Minetest-Wiki. The "Related Forum Threads and other links" section has some links to more forum threads and resources in other places.


I have found this page a bit outdated tbh. And it lacks the turtle bot mod that I think is the most usable right now: vbots. There are some good links, but a lot of broken urls as well.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by twoelk » Wed Aug 21, 2019 09:39

indeed vbots had allready been on my to-add list. :-)
It was announced on the forum only two weeks ago, so yeah, the wiki page might not be that fast on bleeding edge developments.
Fixed one link to a german school, the new page is sadly a lot less informative though.
Can't find the dogview texture pack anymore, might have been lost in the forum server crash, will look for archived versions.
Don't know yet what happened to that french school article, will do more research next week.

else - always gratefull for help keeping the wiki uptodate (mission-impossible)
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Yvanhoe » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:13

Sorry, I did not want to be dismissive, this page was a really great starting point. I guess I was bitter just because I did not find what I really was looking for there, but that's because it probably does not exist yet: An active effort to create an educative open source game with minetest. Also going through several of the turtle/robots mod was a bit frustrating as a lot of them are really incomplete, at least as educational tools.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by jp » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:05

leedzman wrote:The point of this is to stimulate creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills with the kids while they also have fun. Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

You can try Kidscode, a fork of Minetest, dedicated to education.

(Disclaimer added by moderator: this user works for kidscode)
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Linuxdirk » Wed Aug 21, 2019 13:05

jp wrote:
leedzman wrote:The point of this is to stimulate creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills with the kids while they also have fun. Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

You can try Kidscode, a fork of Minetest, dedicated to education.

Don't do that. It's non-free.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by runs » Wed Aug 21, 2019 14:52

Linuxdirk wrote:
jp wrote:
leedzman wrote:The point of this is to stimulate creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills with the kids while they also have fun. Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

You can try Kidscode, a fork of Minetest, dedicated to education.

Don't do that. It's non-free.


Why not? If there is money it could be an specific option. I.e. go thru the ancient rome streets to learn history. Teachers have not time to develop resources, just play.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by rubenwardy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 14:59

runs wrote:Why not? If there is money it could be an specific option. I.e. go thru the ancient rome streets to learn history. Teachers have not time to develop resources, just play.


The game is nonfree as in proprietary - not open source.

The engine is still open source as the LGPL license mandates that, and kidscode frequently contribute back upstream
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Pyrollo » Wed Aug 21, 2019 15:06

Linuxdirk wrote:Don't do that. It's non-free.


"Beware, it's non-free" would be more appropriate. Telling people what to do or not to do is just the opposite of freedom.
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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by runs » Wed Aug 21, 2019 15:12

rubenwardy wrote:
runs wrote:Why not? If there is money it could be an specific option. I.e. go thru the ancient rome streets to learn history. Teachers have not time to develop resources, just play.


The game is nonfree as in proprietary - not open source.

The engine is still open source as the LGPL license mandates that, and kidscode frequently contribute back upstream


I know. This is the point, Minetest should support Kidscode, a link to the project. Open source supports propietary mods and commercial products. This means the total freedom, this is, you can use Minetest and then create your own resources or buy already created ones.

School textbooks are not free neither. Another thing is the school money, normally limited.

Some people work thanks to Minetest!
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Yvanhoe » Wed Aug 21, 2019 15:30

runs wrote:School textbooks are not free neither.
Something that has always struck me as an oddity, to be honest. I don't understand that governments do not buy their copyrights and release it into public domain or CC0.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Xudo » Wed Aug 21, 2019 16:33

jp wrote:
leedzman wrote:The point of this is to stimulate creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills with the kids while they also have fun. Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

You can try Kidscode, a fork of Minetest, dedicated to education.

(Disclaimer added by moderator: this user works for kidscode)


I admit that kidscode site is not very friendly for users outside of "FR" and "EN" locale. Main page redirects to message "An error has occured"
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by runs » Wed Aug 21, 2019 16:59

A disclamer of a moderator???!!!

:-O

I think it's wrong that it was edited just because someone works on a certain place. I think it's a private matter. As if it would make you ineligible to give your opinion, even if that opinion is interested and impartial.

I'm sorry, I had to say it.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Linuxdirk » Wed Aug 21, 2019 17:26

runs wrote:I think it's wrong that it was edited just because someone works on a certain place.

No, it’s about transparency.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by runs » Wed Aug 21, 2019 20:20

No, it’s about transparency.


Private data should not be used as arguments. Especially when someone is honest and does not try to hide the truth.

An example, in the ContentDB thread, those who were in favor of mature content, imagine that a moderator puts on someone:

(Disclaimer added by moderator: this user works as p#rn actor)

Or if he was against it:

(Disclaimer added by moderator: this user belongs to the Jehovah's Witnesses.)

I'm sorry, I'm like that, I go where I'm not called, that's why I get so many beatings sometimes. I'm a lost cause activist. :-)
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by Yvanhoe » Thu Aug 22, 2019 02:04

Posting a link for a company you work in without disclosing it is pretty close to advertisement.

It is generally considered good practice to disclose when you are giving an advice you may be biased about. Like when you recommend your own mod, your own product or your own company. That's generally considered part of good etiquette and I would not mind it becoming a rule.

Plus, jp is open about working at kidscode, he mentioned that on this very forum IIRC. Unlike religion or working in the porn industry, there is no stigma attached to being a dev working on education software (I hope!).
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by leedzman » Thu Aug 22, 2019 07:49

Yvanhoe wrote:Yes! I just started something I hope will be a monthly workshop with kids, teaching some curriculum notions in minetest (the first one being mostly coordinates, which is pretty easy and introducing logic circuits with mesecons).

I am currently planning the next one (mid september) where I plan to make them play with volumes using dynamic_liquid and waterworks. Also I made some tools so that we can put non-latin characters on signs (I am in Japan) you will probably want to add this too, possibly adding some unicode ranges I missed.

I'd love to discuss a lot about what's doable, what's desirable and what's hard. PM me and let's have a long chat!

A few answers:

Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

I have used so far:
- A modified orienteering
- display_modpack, modified to add a Japanese font
- mesecons, for logic circuits
- protector, which I will replace with the areas mod.
- rubenwardy's crafting
- skillbooks
- xdecor (for a few additional items I like)
- quest_chest, a cusotm mod I made but I will replace it with BuckarooBanzay's missions mod for the next workshop.

My main addition next time will be waterworks, to add pipes, pumps and valves.

Also I wonder how I can set myself up as an admin on the master computer
I guess on the master computer you are starting a session with the "host game" button? Then you are an admin. The player name you chose on this computer becomes the main admin. You can use the command /grant and /revoke to give players additional privileges. Check the manual on the chat commands, there are a few things useful there.

I want to able to block the students from going on outside servers.
I think for that you have to modify the configuration on each client. Check the minetest.conf manual. I don't think you can do that from the master computer.

I also want to 'save' the session each time so we can take it up next class from where we left off.
Worlds and player states are automatically saved in the worlds/ folder. If you backup that, you will have all your data saved.


Awesome!

Thanks a lot for the answers. Let's continue via PM.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by leedzman » Thu Aug 22, 2019 07:51

jp wrote:
leedzman wrote:The point of this is to stimulate creativity, collaboration and problem-solving skills with the kids while they also have fun. Can anyone recommend any appropriate mods or games for this?

You can try Kidscode, a fork of Minetest, dedicated to education.

(Disclaimer added by moderator: this user works for kidscode)


can you see this being useful for young learners in grade 1/2?

I'm not totally against paying for something if it's useful.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by leedzman » Thu Aug 22, 2019 07:51

twoelk wrote:you might find some interesting things collected on the Mods:Learning page of the Minetest-Wiki. The "Related Forum Threads and other links" section has some links to more forum threads and resources in other places.


Noted. Thank you.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by jp » Thu Aug 22, 2019 12:59

leedzman wrote:can you see this being useful for young learners in grade 1/2?

Of course, Kidscode is meant for students from 5 to 15 years old. There is a free trial version on the website.
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by LMD » Thu Aug 22, 2019 17:42

This might be useful as well : https://content.minetest.net/packages/Nigel/vbots/
WorldEdit could also be of educational value (trying to speed up the building process using it)

You could try teaching them a bit of Lua, it's an easy language (it reads pretty much like English) compared to others, and mods are far easier to create than for MC.

Besides that, have you looked at puzzle servers like "Inside The Box" yet ?
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by rubenwardy » Thu Aug 22, 2019 19:45

runs wrote:Private data should not be used as arguments. Especially when someone is honest and does not try to hide the truth.

An example, in the ContentDB thread, those who were in favor of mature content, imagine that a moderator puts on someone:

(Disclaimer added by moderator: this user works as p#rn actor)

Or if he was against it:

(Disclaimer added by moderator: this user belongs to the Jehovah's Witnesses.)

I'm sorry, I'm like that, I go where I'm not called, that's why I get so many beatings sometimes. I'm a lost cause activist. :-)


This is a stupid contrived comparison, that doesn't make sense at all. JP recommended a product that he has a financial interest in without disclosing this. There's a word for this: shilling. Obviously, this is taking things a little too literally - I don't think that he meant to mislead at all - but such an association is important to note

There would be no need for the disclaimer if he was just saying that he supports the use of MT in education, or if he creates an educational mod, because neither of those two cases is promoting a product. In both of your examples, the disclaimer isn't needed

JP working for kidscode is public knowledge which OP may not have known about

Also, porn isn't actually a bad word and there's no need to self-censor on this forum anyway
 

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Re: Using Minetest with young students

by jp » Thu Aug 22, 2019 20:11

rubenwardy did well to add a disclaimer, I should have added it myself. I'm obviously not neutral and transparency is salutary.
 

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