Learning2gether with VSTE Minecraft Mondays and East Coast Miners and IATEFL World Teachers’ Day

Learning2gether episode 425

Skip down to Earlier Events

This post covers two events, the first one on Saturday Oct 5
Skip down to IATEFL World Teachers’ Day Web Conference

The second event, which I was more personally involved in and had set up to be L2g episode 425, occurred on Monday, Oct 7, 2019 at 8 pm in Maine. This was the October rendition of VSTE Minecraft Mondays. The time of the event in Maine is always midnight Tuesday in Europe and in countries to the east, so for much of the world this event took place on Tue Oct 8 midnight UTC.

The event on this day was scheduled on the East Coast Miners’ server. Because that server is populated by students, I was asked not to stream the event, though I’ll try to stream a Minecraft Monday event one of these days, if participants will permit that.

Here is how today’s event was announced:


October 7th 8 PM Eastern (World time -5)

What will happen?

VSTE VE PLN members are invited to tour the East Coast Miners Minecraft server
Server address: server.eastcoastminers.org
Website: http://www.eastcoastminers.org/


  • Space rocket collection, created to scale
  • World Trade Center, created to 1/3 scale
  • Creative builds by kids at spawn, Halloween 2019, and in the ECM City
  • Dark’s mysterious waterlogged journal page recovery program
  • Nazi Concentration Camp recreation for school credit

The East Coast Miners server is locked to a whitelist but was opened for an hour Monday night, so that VSTE and Learning2gether, and EVO Minecraft MOOC miners could attend as well.


Here’s what actually happened:

During the hour, I made 68 screenshots and added the best ones, the big ones below, to the VSTE Discord channel

From there they pasted in rather nicely into the space here on this post. Then to further decorate this post I brought additional pictures in from my .Minecraft screenshot folder, and interleaved those with the large pics to enhance the presentation of what follows.

Our spawn point for the day was set underwater in the Coral Garden. Since we were in creative mode we had no issues wandering around in water to look around, and we hit the space bar to surface and begin today’s East Coast Miners magical mystery tour

Here’s what it looked like up on dry land


We followed the crowd over to nearby EMCCity

By now Cats_4_change had joined us. Cats was a student who had executed a faithful replica of a German WWII concentration camp. To create the build she had to research the topic and view photos taken of inmates and the conditions they lived in. One difference was that her camp was patrolled by giant spiders.


From the concentration camp we flew over to an area where pixel art had been created by kids. The teachers involved explained how the kids had made their creations collaboratively without any arguments over creative issues; they just worked spontaneously, had fun, and left an interesting build for us to tour.


Our next stop was a house where ancient scrolls were stored in chests. The kids had to retrieve the pieces of the scrolls and mount them on the walls and then re-order them and orient them so that their messages emerged. The pieces stored in separate chests were all parts of a larger story. Cats_4_change showed us how quickly she was able to work with the puzzle pieces, and it was also apparent how focused she was on the task.

Reconstructing and deciphering ancient texts


What does it say?

Someone had constructed a giant roller coaster ride on the premises. The ride took several minutes and went in and out of underground tunnels. To start the ride we were given minecarts and then we just had to move forward and let the redstone take over to propel us through the course. At one point the track ran out and dropped us into a deep hole, where the cart came out upright on track at the bottom of the hole, and the ride continued.

This was fun


By far the most interesting presentation on this day was the build created, if I recall correctly, by The18thDoctor. Being a space case, he spaced on the time as well and came to the event just as we were all leaving, thinking that 9 pm, where he was, was the start time. I was ready to leave as well so I switched off my Discord mic but listened in as he explained the set of rockets he had constructed there.

His attention to detail was phenomenal. That detail was not only to the outer surfaces, which were to scale, but to the interiors too. Someone helped me enter ‘spectator’ mode, a game mode setting in creative mode in Minecraft, that allows the player to pass through textures as if they were, well, pixels on a computer screen. In this mode you can just beeline through objects and come out the other side.


The student explained the rockets he had constructed and how they had evolved over time, from the earliest NASA rockets to some of the later models. One of the rockets on display was the Redstone, which is described on p.7 of this document, https://www.nasa.gov/pdf/153410main_Rockets_History.pdf. I remember the student saying that the Redstone was a one-stage rocket that was not able to put objects in orbit, and I recall from my childhood when in 1961 Alan Shepherd became the first American in space, having been shot in the air on a trajectory that brought him back to earth to an ocean splashdown after a 15 min. ride.

I asked if the student had done this as a class project. The answer was no, he had just done it as an obsession. It’s these obsessions, empowered by tools as creative as Minecraft, that enable students to follow their passions down paths of true learning that mark the difference between following a curriculum and just getting through school vs. finding one’s own learning pathway that leads to achieving brilliance while there.

While we were in the area, Dak had a special request. He wanted someone to take his picture standing next to his namesake.

I had never realized before that the Redstone rocket was named after an essential element in Minecraft


Time for the requisite selfie: Gang’s all here
In case we don’t see you till November, Happy Halloween

I was told in Discord that I was welcome to use the pictures that K4sons and Mainecakes had posted there. They copy / paste so easily from there to here … tempted … oh, go on! why not?



Basic directions to join VSTE Place, VSTE’s Minecraft world

You must have a computer Minecraft account from https://minecraft.net/en/ to join. There is a one time fee of $26.95. Download and install the software. Choose multiplayer and add a server: Name VSTE Place IP Our server is protected. You will need to be whitelisted to enter. Email Kim Harrison at K4sons@gmail.com from an educational email address with your real name and Minecraft account name.


Discord is a voice and screen sharing application that will run on your computer or mobile device. Download and install it for free. Create an account. Many of us use the same name for our Discord account as our Minecraft account to keep things simple. Our channel is https://discord.gg/nDX4mZv . It helps us to be able to play Minecraft in one screen and listen via Discord with earbuds or headphones.

Sat Oct 5 from 0900 to 2045 UTC – IATEFL World Teachers’ Day Web Conference

I learned about it on Twitter, hash tag #wtdconference2019 (also #cpd and #webconference)


The link takes us here, https://conference.iatefl.org/webconference/

Where we find this information, copy/pasted from the website. It’s pretty succinct.

Join us for the World Teachers’ Day ELT Web Conference

Join IATEFL and British Council on Saturday October 5 to celebrate World Teachers’ Day with a one-day web conference, featuring 16 separate sessions on a wide range of themes and issues, including inclusive education and materials development, life skills, learning technologies, classroom tips and advice and many more.

  • Plenary talks
  • Practical workshops
  • Discussion forums on key topics
  • Q&A sessions with plenary speakers

Starting at 10.00 am UK time and running through until the evening, the web conference will provide useful and practical advice that you can apply to your own context, whether you are a teacher or a teacher educator. Attendance of the web conference is free and open to all. Sessions will also be recorded and made available after the event.

     • View our programme of sessions and plan your day of professional development
• Register for free
 for this event

Important note:

The conference runs from 10 am UK time and the last session ends at 21:45 UK time. UTC is one hour behind UK time.

Missed it? The recordings are here:


I missed most of it but I attended the following events

10.00 – 11.00
Plenary 1 – Seminar Room 1
Antonia Clare – Taking Flight from the Intermediate Plateau
Many learners encounter problems when moving from Intermediate (B1) to Upper Intermediate (B2).  They struggle to perceive their language progress and often feel frustrated.  This webinar looks at why this happens and offers strategies to help your learners take off from the Intermediate plateau.

This was an interesting presentation with many practical ideas. Several interesting web sites were introduced. Two that captured my attention were

  • Answer garden, where on this page https://answergarden.ch/about-AnswerGarden/ you can read this succinct description: “AnswerGarden is for anyone interested in using an easy and powerful way to get brief feedback from a group. AnswerGarden is used by teachers to establish the knowledge level of a class on a certain topic. It is used at conferences and workshops to break the ice with the audience in a fun and interactive fashion. AnswerGarden is used by creative teams for digital brainstorming sessions. People who maintain websites and blogs use it to poll their visitors in a brief and to-the-point matter.” You can see screen shots on that page.
  • Just the word, http://www.just-the-word.com/. Visit the site and type in a word to see some collocations from its data source(s). Click here to see some possibilities, http://www.just-the-word.com/main.pl?word=possibilities&mode=combinations

Googling some of them I found the complete slide deck online here: https://www.englishaustralia.com.au/documents/item/483









Chunky dictation was an interesting idea. You read sentences to your students but where there is a blank you insert a sound (the bell perhaps). The students have to write down the word that is missing. But then the follow up is, when the students have written down the words, then get them to recall the sentences.


Florence Muluh – Challenges to teacher professional development in low resource contexts
This talk aims to explore some of the challenges that teachers in low resource contexts face regarding professional development. This concern has emerged from my interaction with teachers of varying levels of experience within the framework of my local teachers association and a survey I carried out in 2016 which revealed that in service training, skills up grading, and acquisition of new knowledge wasn’t on the agenda of most respondents. This is the fate of most teachers in low resource contexts who are often limited in their attempts to achieve this goal. Underlying factors to be discussed are demotivating working conditions, systematic challenges and poorly designed professional development programmes, limited teacher autonomy, among others. These often lead to frustration and burnout, leaving teachers with no zeal to improve on their performance. However, this situation could be improved through a number of policy and practical changes.


 13.15 – 14.15
Plenary 2 – Seminar Room 1
Konstantina Ntomprou – Life Skills: Lessons taught; lessons learnt
21st Century Skills, Life Skills, Soft Skills are all popular concepts, but how far are we from fully implementing them in our teaching? Are these enough to equip learners for success in their future endeavours? We will explore how concepts like motivation, positive thinking, stress management and personal values fit in a language learning environment. I will be sharing my experience from delivering a series of skills workshops to young graduates and entrepreneurs for the British Council in Athens. We will discuss how ideas can be adapted for various contexts, for teachers and learners.




Here is the program for the day copied out for convenience

(to me, so I can fix this event chronologically with others taking place at around the same time)

Programme Overview with time frames linked to YOUR time when each event occurs

(UK time)
Seminar Room 1 Seminar Room 2 Breakout Room
Join on the day: > Click here to enter the
Seminar Room 1 on the day
> Click here to enter the
Seminar Room 2 on the day
> Click here to enter the
Breakout Room on the day
10.00-11.00 Plenary 1: Taking Flight from the Intermediate Plateau
11.15-12.00 Assessment training for language teachers Developmental practice through evidence-based observations Plenary 1 Q&A session
12.15-13.00 The LearnEnglish Team – The LearnEnglish team’s top ten tips Challenges to teacher professional development in low resource contexts Staff Room chat
13.15-14.15 Plenary 2: Life Skills: Lessons taught; lessons learnt
14.45-15.30 Making the transition from teacher to teacher educator Learning and teaching through English as an additional language in South Africa Plenary 2 Q&A session
15.45-16.30 Teaching for success: Establishing a culture of CPD Short mystery games to teach critical thinking skills Staff Room chat
16.45-17.45 Plenary 3: Tick boxes don’t matter, representation does
18.15-19.00 Celebrating Diversity in YL Literature My journey teaching SDGs and why you should start yours Plenary 3 Q&A session
19.15-20.00 Leveraging Communities of Practice for Continuous Professional Development Projects to spark language use, creativity and engagement
20.15-21.45 Plenary 4: Panel and Q&A: Exploring our ELT Footprint

A 10:00 am start in UK is 9 am UTC and 17:00 in Malaysia. Again for convenience I’m linking each of the times given to the worldclock for that time. So you can explore the topics in the table above and if you find one you like, you can click on its time in the leftmost column and see when that event happens where you are.

Need to paste a link into a mobile device? Copy this one for Room 1


And for room 2, http://iatefl.adobeconnect.com/webcon/


Earlier events


Sun Sept 29 1200 UTC – Learning2gether 424 with Nile TESOL LTSIG Webinar – Hanaa Khamis interviews Georgios Chatzis


Sat Sept 28 1200 UTC – Learning2gether 423 with Nile TESOL LTSIG Webinar – Hanaa Khamis interviews Lilika Couri


Thu Oct 3 thru Sat Oct 5 – Connected Learning Summit Livestream

According to what it says in the graphic above, and to this link


Certain panels and keynotes from the Connected Learning Summit being held onsite in Irvine, California are being livestreamed. And indeed, a follow up email links to a blog post where there are


Here is the schedule posted at the link above:

Thursday, October 3 – Day 1

  • 9:00AM PT – Fireside Chat with Henry Jenkins
  • 10:15AM PT – Digital Diversity: How Social, Cultural and Real Life Circumstances Shape Youth Digital Media Practices
  • 5:00PM PT – Ignite Talks – Round 1

Friday, October 4 – Day 2

Saturday, October 5 – Day 3

There is a play button in the video embed at the link above. Click on it and see 🙂

AND it seems to be generating a playlist here:


Mon Oct 7 1700 UTC – TESOL ANPC Oct Webinar with Gabriela Kleckova and Denise Murray

The link for this was posted a bit late to the TESOL forums

Please find the link for the webinar hosted today by the ANPC: global.gotomeeting.com/join/359955269

Here is the recording:

Creative Commons copyright notice; some rights reserved

cc40cc-by-sa  cc 4.0 by-sa https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
You are free to use material posted here as long as you
attribute its source (Vance Stevens) and share-alike

One thought on “Learning2gether with VSTE Minecraft Mondays and East Coast Miners and IATEFL World Teachers’ Day

  1. Pingback: Steven Herder interviews Vance Stevens in the iTDi Teachers Room | Learning2gether

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