Lights, Camera, Minecraft! (Using OBS to Capture Student Work)

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I have been using Minecraft as an educational tool for a couple of years now. I have taught with MinecraftEDU, Minecraft: Education Edition and Vanilla Minecraft. While taking screenshots and building learning portfolios are important ways to capture screenshots, my favorite way to capture student work is by challenging them to develop their own “YouTube” videos. This technique can be applied to any version of Minecraft you may be using in your classroom. This assignment is successful for a number of reasons. As the teacher, you can come up with whatever requirements for the video that suit your curricular needs. I have had students do how-to videos, write a story and narrate it while moving their character through the scene, and even explaining their game play in their second language, as a way to develop confidence in speaking. For the students, they are already familiar with the format can relate to the assignment, since most of them watch YouTube videos daily (often about Minecraft). They gain motivation knowing that they will be publishing their work in front of an audience. During the assignment, students are able to visually demonstrate their learning as well as verbally explain their thinking processes. Once the product is finished, it’s easily assessed and published either privately in the classroom or with parents, or even publicly on a YouTube channel.  

Getting Started To get started, download OBS Studio (also known as "Open Broadcaster Software"). It is free and available for Mac and Windows operating systems. OBS may look intimidating at first, but if you follow along with my video, we’ll take it step by step. It is as easy as opening a new scene, adding resources, and starting a recording! You can capture a particular window, the entire display, and even voice and video. You can also stream live to sites like YouTube, Twitch, and Mixer using this software. After the student has recorded a video, use video editing software like iMovie (or similar) to make it presentable for YouTube. Here you can edit out bloopers, adjust volume, and include transitions and text. Once your students’ product is published, invite parents and teachers to a viewing party or send them a link to share on social media. Students and teachers love this activity, and the results are well worth the effort! Good luck with your student-made YouTube videos and happy crafting! __ Global Minecraft Mentor Amanda Bolton (@MC4Edu) is based in Costa Rica, and is the Director of a growing organization of experienced educators dedicated offering camps and after school clubs called Minecraft for Education. Working with students of all ages, she loves to travel and plans on taking her excitement of the non-traditional classroom to students and teachers around the world.