About Me

I’ve always enjoyed utilizing various technologies in my classroom.  I’m hoping that through this program I can pick up even more tools to improve my students ability to learn the Spanish language.  During the first semester, I’ve already began applying gamification concepts in my classroom that I learned in my courses at Boise State!! It looks like it will be an awesome and fun adventure!


Using Survival Mode in Minecraft

There’s nothing like survival mode in Minecraft.  It feels real….well except for the Zombies and random Creepers blowing up your stuff!  So how can you take this awesome part of Minecraft and blend it into your Second Language classroom?  Here’s one lesson that I used in my Spanish 1 class last year that the students still talk about! It’s super easy to implement and you can easily tweak it to fit your curriculum or vocabulary themes.

Here’s the Scenario!

La Comida MinecraftEdu Simulation
Español 1

You are a group of nomads. Your leader “Don Glen” has decided that the land you appear on in Minecraft is a perfect place to start a province.  He has decided to call the province “Vegelandia” which speaks to the groups tradition of only eating fruits and vegetables.


Don Glen has given you permission to create towns in Vegelandia. Develop a functioning “town” working with your fellow nomads or by yourself.  Your town must have the following requirements:

  1. Security Wall (this is to prevent the night creatures from causing havoc on your crops and your people)
  2. Housing
  3. Access to Water
  4. A farm


  1. Don Glen only speaks Spanish, so if you want to trade or barter with him you must ask him questions in Spanish and respond in Spanish.
  2. You must put up signs in Spanish all over your town  (label the crops, the homes, the water…everything you can think of!) There is an infinite amount of signs, just ask Don Glen and he will send them to you.
  3. You must pay a daily tax to Don Glen of 2 loaves of bread per person. This will happen everyday at sunrise.  If you don’t have enough bread to pay the tax, you will go into debt and will have to pay Don Glen 1 loaf of bread interest for every day it is late. There will be a chest to place your items…take a pic! F2
  4. Loaves of bread can be traded for seeds and other supplies to Don Glen as follows:
  • 4 loaves of bread = 4 seeds of your choice
  • 4 loaves of bread = 1 bonemeal
  • 8 loaves of bread = 1 stone tool of your choice
  • 24 loaves of bread = 1 iron tool of your choice
  • 48 loaves of bread = 1 diamond tool of your choice
  • Other items such as pumpkin pie, cakes and cookies will also be purchased through a negotiation process

LAWS: No stealing, griefing (destroying others stuff), cheating. Sign in under your actual name.

DEATHS: Just like in real life…you don’t want to die.  Therefore, we will have a consequence for every time a group member passes. All of the members of the group must now pay a “death tax” which is equal to 1 more bread per death per day.

*For example:  Molly and Devon are in the same group and they both die once.  Molly, Devon, Connor and Kreg (they are all in the same group) must now pay 4 pieces of bread per day to Don Glen’s tax collection.

*Sr. Irvin’s Advice:  Work together to stay safe!! Don’t die!!


  1. Create a farm that produces 48 loaves of bread per day
  2. Communicate in Spanish with Sr. Irvin to buy and sell supplies
  3. Create a portfolio (powerpoint) documenting your progress on a day by day basis, there must be a minimum of 10 pics/screenshots taken per day. Use the F2 button to take the screenshots.  Each pic needs to have a description of the picture in English. Be sure to break your portfolio/powerpoint into days.. Día 1, Día 2… Label your powerpoint “La Comida MinecraftEdu Simulation” The portfolio/powerpoint can be created as a group….if you’re working with a group. *You can find screenshots by clicking on C drive, finding and opening MinecraftEdu folder, open the Minecraft folder, open the screenshots folder. Share your screenshots via Google Drive.

GRADING- How am I being graded on this simulation??

  • Working productively on the overall mission during the time provided in class (must work for a minimum of 5 in-class days) 1000 XP *This means that you are not on your cell phone and you are not off-task in the game. It also means that you are using Spanish to communicate with Don Glen
  • Create a farm that produces 48 loaves of bread per day 1000 XP and meets the requirements posted above…don’t quit once you met the goal…see how big and productive you can make your farm!!
  • Create a portfolio (powerpoint) documenting your progress on a day by day basis, there must be a minimum of 10 pics/screenshots taken per day. (50 slides minimum) 1000 XP


  1. Use the following phrases in the chat box… (Press T for chat) *It would be ideal when you chatted with Sr. Irvin to take a screenshot of that also!

Necesito….. por favor.  I need ….. please.

Don Glen te doy…… para……   Don Glen I’ll give you …. for ….

¿Cuántos panes para…..?   How many breads for….?

Other helpful vocabulary:

trigo = wheat

pan = bread

pay de calabaza = pumpkin pie

pastel = cake

galleta = cookie

papa = potato

sandía = watermelon

zanahoria = carrot


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VW Explorer- Embedded Agent

I’ve been given a mission of utmost importance by command. I’m to infiltrate the world of Araxes by becoming one of its members and reporting back to command what I have learned. After doing some research I decide to purchase an appropriate attire for this extremely hot planet with a thin atmosphere that makes it hard to breathe and harder to survive. Why would anyone want to live here and even more importantly why are there so much interest in coming to this barren world. The answer is simply known as “the spice.” This spice is an addictive drug that has a reputation for giving the user greater stamina, health and even a longer life. This planet is the only source of “the spice” and all are free to mine the spice with permission from the Desertborn who are the native citizens of Araxes.

As I explored the city of Al Raqis it is clear that there is a no weapons law in effect in the city limits. Outside the city limits??? Well that is reminescent of the wild west, anything goes. I decided that I would need to purchase weapons to protect myself as well as figuring out ways to transport myself around this vast planet. The city of Al Raqis offers a self-propelled taxi that you can take most anywhere for free, there are also many ships for sale if you want to travel longer distances. One of the most unique features of this world are the travel portals that can be used to quickly transport yourself to other parts of the planet as well as other planets in the vicinity, this reminded me of my adventuring days on “Stargate.”

What I have learned thus far in this adventure is that there is much to learn. I have been on this planet for what seems like months and I continue to discover new people, locations and adventures. My goal is to make eventually join a band of miners and discover the spice trade for myself eventually making millions of linden and settling down in one of the many homes that are for sale in the city of Al Raqis. I can definitely see myself settling down here eating bread at the local bakery, visiting the local bar and selling guns to miners at ridiculous prices. I am formally requesting an extended leave here on Araxes until my report becomes more valuable to our crew and our people. I have included many pictures below of the places I have seen throughout my adventures.

I will see you soon or in the next life.
Flight Crew Chief

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The Temple of Portunus- VW Explorer

Once again my crew mate Khaleesi and I decided to take on an adventure to the Temple of Portunus.  Immediately I felt the immersive nature of this world.  We were back in Roman times and we needed to dress and act the part.  The purpose of this virtual world is clear. It creates an environment conducive to recreating not only the visual aspect of Roman times, but also preserving the cultures and traditions of the time. There were amazing structures and buildings to explore including an art gallery that lined the walls of one of the buildings.  Snapshot_020

Khaleesi and I decided to join in on the festivities and try out a few different types of dances.


I knew this was an educational environment when I began finding notecards with important information describing the  structure of the homes that were built here.

Here is one of the note cards that I found: The domus included multiple rooms, indoor courtyards, gardens and beautifully painted walls that were elaborately laid out. The vestibulum (entrance hall) led into a large central hall: the atrium, which was the focal point of the domus and contained a statue of an altar to the household gods. Leading off the Atrium were cubicula (bedrooms), a dining room triclinium where guests could recline on couches and eat dinner whilst reclining, a tablinum (living room or study) and tabernae (shops on the outside, facing the street).

In cities throughout the Roman Empire, wealthy homeowners lived in buildings with few exterior windows. Glass windows weren’t readily available: glass production was in its infancy. Thus a wealthy Roman citizen lived in a large house separated into two parts, and linked together through the tablinum or study or by a small passageway.

To protect the family from intruders, it would not face the streets, only its entrance providing more room for living spaces and gardens behind.

Surrounding the atrium were arranged the master’s families’ main rooms: the small cubicula or bedrooms, the tablinum or study, and the triclinium or dining-room. Roman homes were like Greek homes. Only two objects were present in the atrium of Caecilius in Pompeii: a small bronze box that stored precious family items and the lararium, a small shrine to the household gods, the Lares. In the master bedroom was a small wooden bed and couch which usually consisted of some slight padding. As the domus developed, the tablinum took on a role similar to that of the study. In each of the other bedrooms there was usually just a bed. The triclinium had three couches surrounding a table. The triclinium often was similar in size to the master bedroom. The study was used as a passageway. If the master of the house was a banker or merchant the study often was larger because of the greater need for materials. Roman houses lay on an axis, so that a visitor was provided with a view through the fauces, atrium, and tablinum to the peristyle.




Our adventure ended after a few hours and it was time to get back to reality…but I will be back…with a Tunic.

Role Play Communities – VW Explorer

What is the difference between a video game and a virtual world?

I pose this question because it has baffled me for the last few months until I completed this amazing adventure with another member of our crew Khaleesi.  Khaleesi and I visited two immersive and diverse role playing environments in Second Life:  Avalon and Hale’s Moon.  Throughout the adventure I began to realize the fact that these were not just “game” worlds.  This was not a video game. If it was I would have experimented, destroyed, pillaged, caused havoc and not been afraid of the consequences.  This was much deeper than a video game; these were two very “real” worlds with their own cultures, laws and traditions.  You were not only expected to dress and act a certain way, but everything around you made you forget about the “real” world and immersed you in these two cultures.


Avalon is a fantasy role playing world set in pseudo-medieval times.  It reminded of the books and show “Game of Thrones.”  There were dragons, mermaids, knights and beautiful elves.  I decided to go with a unique costume…”a dragonfly.”  Khaleesi and I read the rules of the role playing adventure.


Before entering a graveyard there was a throne that must have been for someone special, I told Khaleesi to try to sit in it. She quickly burst into flames and started screaming.  It was humorous but it also reminded us of where we were and what was expected of us.


We ended up in a very creep graveyard that also served as a direct portal into the inner world. This was an amazingly creepy place with hornets and spiders everywhere.  We ended up stopping our adventure in Avalon here due to the cost of gaining entry into the inner world.



Hale’s Moon

This was a completely different environment! A red wind swept land that had a bit of old west mixed with some planet Mars to form an interesting combination.  Khaleesi and I visited shops and talked to a bartender at the local saloon to get a feel for the world.  There was definitely a culture and a specific set of expectations for behavior.



Our role play adventure ended in this world. I looked up at the clock and couldn’t believe a couple of hours had passed by. This was a testament to the totally immersive nature of these role play virtual worlds.  I will come back one day….with a better outfit of course!!

Gamification Star-Trek Science


Watching videos and reading teaching stories like that of Mr. Gonzales are inspiring! Having the vision to turn his 6th grade science class into an Alternate Reality Game is just awesome!  Gonzales has created a story structure that parallels that of the Star Trek series with opportunities to move from a “typical” 6th grade student to a full fledged “StarFleet Crewman.”  What I think is most impressive is his use of QR codes to receive transmissions that give the students choices on what to do next.  It reminds me of a choose your own adventure story, yet its filled with science content that is normally taught in an uninteresting manner.

I have been researching the development of ARG’s in other content areas like this one from Cris Aviles where he makes an awesome connection that I believe will as he says “be the future of education.”

I’m still in the process of how I would be able to make an ARG a “reality” in my Spanish classes, but I’m thinking MinecraftEdu will help me to make this a reality.

Create your own Game!! EdTech 531 Final Project

It’s been an amazing journey and I’m proud to say that not only did I create two simulations for my CIS Spanish 3 classroom utilizing MinecraftEdu, but they were very successful!  My goal was to engage my students in a simulation to the point that they were using the Spanish language willingly to communicate, collaborate and solve problems.  The kids described the process as fun and educational.  Watch the video below for all of the details on this awesome project!

Here is my planning process document:


Here is my video:


Learning Theory Mashup EdTech 531

My learning theory mashup puts together the theories of experiential and mastery learning.  It is my belief that lifelong learning occurs when the student is allowed to experience a learning outcome.  I also believe that students that given time and proper remediation students can reach mastery of any outcomes.  David Kolb’s research states that in order for the student to gain genuine knowledge from an experience there must be four abilities present:

  • The learner must be willing to be actively involved in the experience;
  • The learner must be able to reflect on the experience;
  • The learner must possess and use analytical skills to conceptualize the experience; and
  • The learner must possess decision-making and problem solving skills in order to use the new ideas gained from the experience (1984).

Research on mastery learning was found to have one of the strongest educational effects on student learning. In a comprehensive meta-analysis of 108 studies of the effectiveness of mastery learning programs, Kulik, Kulik & Bangert-Drowns (1990) found that mastery-learning programs have a positive effect on student learning. The study found that on average, a student in a mastery-learning program would score in the 70th percentile while those in a traditional classroom setting would score in the 50th percentile. The data also showed that there was a stronger effect on low aptitude students than on those with high aptitudes. “The average improvement in scores of high aptitude students is .40 standard deviations; the improvement in low aptitude students is .61 standard deviations” (Kulik et al, 1990, p. 286). According to the analysis, students in a mastery-learning program did not only do better on examinations but they also had a better attitude about the content and teaching they received (1990).

The combination of experiential and mastery learning has yielded great results in my Spanish classroom.  Through the use of games such as Minecraft, I have been able to create experiential learning scenarios that would not otherwise be possible.

I would ask my fellow classmates the following questions about my learning mashup:

Does this learning mashup have possibilities of succeeding in other subject areas?

Do you believe that games allow for teachers to leverage learning via meaningful experiences?



Kolb, D (1984). Experiential Learning as the Science of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Kulik, C.-L., Kulik, J., & Bangert-Drowns, R. (1990). Effectiveness of Mastery Programs: A Meta-Analysis. Review of Educational Research, 265-299

Gamification Infographic EdTech 531

My gaming life according to this infographic started at a very young age.  I remember being at school and our math teacher telling us that once we completed our class work successfully we could “play” on the computer.  My most powerful memory was that of the Adventures of Carmen San Diego on the Apple IIE.  The game was super engaging, challenging and fun. The best part was that it had nothing to do with math!!

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Unlike most people, I loved typing class. I believe that has to do with the typing program that we used at the time. It was called Mavis Beacon and I remember competing with my friends to see which one of us could set the fastest times typing on different levels.  We were all so competitive that I think our typing teacher who was meek and quiet couldn’t quite believe her eyes that we actually were enjoying the class and working till the bell rang everyday.  This was the only one semester course in high school that I still remember vividly today!!


In college I played TONS of video games!! Mostly sports video games versus my college roommates. We spent countless hours playing Madden football tournaments and Tiger Woods Golf Invitationals.  I never thought much about how games and education could be connected until many years later when my son told me that I needed to download a game called Minecraft on my iPad.  Like many, at first I had know idea what was the appeal that kept bringing him back to it.  Eventually I bought the game for my Xbox 360 and that’s when the fun really began.  My father-in-law, also an avid sports gamer, bought the game also and we began to play every weekend with Gramps.  This tradition started three years ago and we have been playing every weekend since then!!

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The Minecraft and education started when I saw the amazing amount of learning that were taking place in my son. He was hooked on reading about Minecraft, writing about Minecraft, drawing Minecraft figures, watching Minecraft mods videos and much more!  Most games lose their appeal in about a year or so in my experience. Minecraft has been going strong in our household for three years and there is no sign of it losing its appeal.  I convinced my school district to purchase MinecraftEdu and I have been creating worlds for my Spanish classes ever since.  I have 17 year old girls who initially told me they hate games, plead desperately with me to “turn on the server” after school just for a half hour so that they could work on their project!  I’m not sure where the future lies for me as far as gaming and education go, but I know for sure that I will continue to explore more and more ways to engage my students via gaming!


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