Vance and Bobbi Stevens demo Getting Started in Minecraft: Surviving and Thriving at the 2021 VRT Webcon

Learning2gether Episode 513


Skip down to the Zoom Chat Logs
Promotion of the VRT Webcon and feedback on this event

Skip down to Earlier Events that happened since the previous Learning2gther post

Fri 16 April 1100 UTC Vance and Bobbi Stevens at VRT Webcon 2021 demo Getting started in Minecraft

Here is the recording:

Getting Started in Minecraft: Surviving and Thriving

This live demo shows where to get Minecraft, how to set it up, and then how to cope with the most daunting moment newcomers to Minecraft will likely face when joining a survival server for the first time: arrival in a strange world without resources, making shelter, crafting tools, surviving the night, and thriving thereafter.

Even on servers with protected spawn points, players may face this challenge when moving into the world beyond. You’ll learn about arrival, survival, and developing strategies for thriving in Minecraft by finding food and wool for a bed to return you to a predictable point after mishap, and keeping materials there to avoid having to restart from scratch. With a successful strategy, the game becomes enjoyably challenging. All you need now is a community where you can scaffold one another into becoming ever more proficient in understanding the depth of this powerful learning platform and how you might apply it to your professional context.

Writeup: This users manual for this presentation is available at

Slides: The associated slides are available through  

Here is the final hand clapping screenshot


After explaining the difference between Java and Bedrock versions of Minecraft, and how to obtain and configure the Java version, I demonstrated in my demo how to arrive in world for the first time, chop trees, make a crafting table, craft a pickaxe, mine cobblestone, make a furnace, create charcoal from a tree log, make torches, complete my shelter, put a door on it, and light the shelter with torches — all in the ten minutes I had to work before nightfall. That left Bobbi Bear and I safe for the night in our secure shelter where we would be just fine until we starved (players have to eat) or gone outside, had an accident, and had to respawn. Respawn means you return to the game, but lose whatever you were carrying before your demise, and you respawn to a random spot somewhere near our original spawn point. But to get control over where we respawned, we could make a bed and put it in the shelter so that we would respawn each time inside the safe shelter.

To make a bed we would need some wool, and until we could find iron and make a set of sheep shears, the quickest way to get wool is to sacrifice a few lambs in the meadows. When you kill them with your sword, they drop wool and meat, and three of them produce enough wool to make a bed, and also leave you a bit of raw lamb meat, which you can cook in the furnace, and eat. So I Bobbi Bear and I went out into the meadows, found a few sheep, and dispatched three of them This raised a hue and cry from the participants, some of whom did not like the idea of taking out a few digital avatars representing sheep just in order to get their wool.

But we were able to craft a bed and put it in the shelter, and when I clicked on it, it became my “bed spawn”. Now we had a strategy; we could accumulate things in a chest we had left the shelter, go outside and mine minerals and accumulate more resources to expand our domain, leave some of these things behind in the shelter, carry just what you need outside, and if something bad happens to you, you end up back inside your shelter, bereft of what you were carrying, but with a chest in the shelter containing whatever you had left there against this eventuality.

Heike asked to be shown what would happen if I got killed, and I agreed to show her. It was night time and I started walking in the darkness. I expected to be caught by a zombie or a skeleton but instead I walked over a trench and ended up in the bottom of it. Unusually, there were no monsters to be found there and I could see no immediate way out (apart from hacking steps up and out, which would have taken time), and no way to commit suicide there, so Bobbi offered to teleport to me and kill me quickly with her sword.


This had the desired effect. I “died” (only temporarily) and respawned back in the shelter where I had created the bed crafted from the three pretend digital sheep we had killed earlier. Heike’s question was answered, but interestingly, there was no hue and cry from the participants this time. The slaughter of three digital sheep was apparently more wrenching than witnessing the slaughter of a digital human. That’s what TV has done to us.

Another interesting thing was that Bobbi was able to retrieve my ‘skull’ after she killed me. Here she has it in her hand and can view it in her inventory (when she mouses over it in her inventory, it tells her that it is the skull of Teacher Vance).




In the last picture she’s thrown it onto the floor where you can see that it indeed looks like me (or like my avatar). I had never seen a player’s skull in Minecraft before. In Minecraft, you learn something new each time you play (but try not to lose your head over it).

This webinar has been mounted as a course on

Zoom Chat Logs

19:11:14 From  Bendaoud Nadif : Hi, professor Stevens

19:11:24 From  Bendaoud Nadif : I am from Morocco

19:11:36 From  BARBARA STEVENS : Hi, welcome

19:11:58 From  Bendaoud Nadif : I attended your session last summer with prof Yamina Elkirat

19:12:12 From  BARBARA STEVENS : Nice

19:12:32 From  Vance Stevens : 

19:19:01 From  Heike Philp : Jane Chien is on the fb livestream and cheers you on

19:19:19 From  BARBARA STEVENS : sweet of her!

19:19:48 From  Zeynab Moosavi : Thank you all for your patience, It is my presentation slide

19:19:51 From  Zeynab Moosavi : 

19:21:14 From  Heike Philp : thank you so much Zeynab, I will add this to the program – is this ok?

19:21:46 From  Zeynab Moosavi : yes of course

19:22:21 From  Vance Stevens : 

19:34:40 From  Heike Philp : wow Vance you are so fast!!!

19:34:50 From  Heike Philp : in only 10min you created all this?

19:34:53 From  Heike Philp : incredible

19:35:29 From  Georgia Maneta : Lots of homework again Heike and attendees!

19:35:52 From  Heike Philp : what Vance is doing in 15min took me 3 weeks!

19:37:09 From  Chris C : I can imagine it would take me 3 months! Could we ask how long it has taken Vance to become this proficient?

19:41:29 From  Heike Philp : haha

19:41:56 From  Heike Philp : this does not give you the right to slaughter them!

19:42:09 From  Heike Philp : I am a vegan in Minecraft

19:43:26 From  Heike Philp : a bed!

19:46:41 From  Heike Philp : haha

19:47:04 From  Andrea Kovács : I remember following my son as he was playing as a teenager with his friends. (almost 8 years ago)! I was very happy ’cause while playing, they were speaking on Skype  about all kinds of serious topics and were collaborating so nicely in building their “dream house”!

19:47:37 From  Georgia Maneta : Videogames DO have advantages Andrea I guess…

19:47:48 From  Heike Philp : ahhh

19:51:05 From  Andrea Kovács : Yes, and they were speaking in English, that was one of the advantages too! I was very happy about it, ’cause he didn’t really liked to speak with me, the teacher!

19:51:12 From  Michael Birch : Vance is invancible.

19:51:30 From  Andrea Kovács : like

19:54:12 From  Georgia Maneta : Yes Andrea! My son managed to speak also in English!

19:55:56 From  Andrea Kovács : WoW! I like the sustainability idea!

19:57:28 From  Heike Philp : brilliant!

19:57:31 From  Zeynab Moosavi : Thank you so much dear Vance, you are amazing…

19:57:53 From  Amal Abdulhaleem Al-Hakimi : Thank you

19:58:06 From  Andrea Kovács : Thank you, it was amazing!

19:59:10 From  Chris C : Thanks very much for this…. really impressive to watch.

19:59:41 From  Heike Philp : Ever so well done – exactly what I was hoping for – a real new user guide

19:59:54 From  BARBARA STEVENS : Glad you all enjoyed it!

19:59:58 From  Minnie : Great, thank you Vance and Barbara!

20:00:15 From  BARBARA STEVENS : You are welcome!

20:05:48 From  Vance Stevens :\ 

20:06:07 From  Chris C : 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

20:06:15 From  Michael Birch : Great stuff Vance and Bobby!

20:06:34 From  Joe McVeigh : Thank you Vance and Bobby ! ! !

20:08:51 From  Vance Stevens : Thanks @joe McVeigh

20:09:28 From  Vance Stevens : Here is the article where Filip’s mother explained how he became fluent through Minecraft 

20:10:30 From  Vance Stevens : Here is the wiki where I explain through 13 video snippets how they relate to the affordances of Minecraft which I mentioned 

20:12:28 From  Adrijana Rozdijevac : Thank you, Vance! 

20:13:36 From  Sana Nasfi : I missed yesterday session unfortunately. Where could I find the recording, please ?

20:14:15 From  Heike Philp : – all of the recordings are mentioned there

More background on this presentation:

Promotion of the VRT Webcon and Feedback

Heike Philp has closed her community NING site and created her new website for VRT:

She invited all to come and join her for a tools festival, app swap party and games con!
Tools, apps and games for language education. We love them!

Tools for teaching and learning a language, for student engagement communication apps for parents, lesson planning software, games, apps for assessment, learning management systems, websites, webservices, professional development qualifications and much more.

Heike did a great job promoting and delivering this conference. She streamed to Facebook via Zoom and simultaneously to YouTube by capturing the stream from Facebook and streaming that out via OBS. As always she crowdsourced her program, added Zoom links, and followed that up with links to presenters’ slides and other materials as well as with YouTube recording links posted right below where there presentations appeared in the program. She placed all of the videos in an amazing resource: the 12th Virtual Round Table 2021 YouTube playlist

She also released some impressive statistics corroborating the impact of her efforts:
1598 participants – 412 in Zoom, plus 824 watching on Facebook, and 591 on YouTube.

Opening networking session screenshot, April 15

Opening networking warmup with April 16

Conference program:


Links to recordings are given in each presentation listing in the program here,

hashtag #vrtwebcon

Heike introduced the EVO Minecraft MOOC presentation by setting up this event on Facebook:

To which we added our postings to these Facebook Groups

And to these

Earlier Events

Fri 9 April 1000-1800 AEST – APACALL free Webinar

Sat 10 April 0700 Peter Omal hosts adobe Indesign free webinar

The time given is Jamaica time, meeting in Zoom

Sat 10 April Nazarbayev University’s Writing Talks series of free webinars

Jane Hoelker was promoting the Nazarbayev University’s Writing Talks free webinars offered starting April 3 at 10:45 AM and ending at 11:30 AM . The time zone is not specified, but here is the info.

NU Writing Talks, Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan

Join the free professional development online lectures called Writing Talks hosted by Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan. Every Saturday in April a different topic will be discussed by a new Panel from 11:00 to 12:30. (April 3rd begins at 10:45 with Welcome.)

NU Writing Talks | NU WCP Website

The Writing Center Program (WCP) at Nazarbayev University is pleased to announce the first edition of NU Writing Talks, a symposium dedicated to all aspects of academic writing and open to all perspectives on the teaching and learning of writing in English for academic and STEM research purposes. The aim of these webinars is to share experience and resources to support a wide range of learning outcomes and activities, across disciplines and institutions.

Symposium events will take place this coming April  3, 10, 17 and 24.

Recording in English, Russian and Kazakh will be made available after the live session.

Sat 10 April 1300-1500 UTC – VSTE Second Life Saturdays – repeats each Saturday

About this intitiative,

Jaz and Thunder are at VSTE Space in Second Life every Saturday morning from 5 am to 7 am Pacific time.

Feel free to come learn more about the VSTE VE PLN there. Follow VSTE on Facebook:

 Below are directions for joining the VSTE VE PLN in Second Life and Minecraft

Basic directions to join VSTE Spaces

If you don’t have a Second Life account get one, it’s free. We recommend setting one up at the Rockcliffe University Consortium’s Gateway here:

  1. Download and install the software.
  2. While your Second Life viewer (software) is open click this link
  3. and voila! Look for an avatar on VSTE Island and say, “Hey, I’m new!” We will take care of the rest.

Tue 13 Apr 11 am EDT Joe McVeigh and Sandra Story – Faces and Places across the United States

Here is a great opportunity for you (or your students) to practice your English and learn a little bit about the United States. On Tuesday, 13 April at 11:00 a.m. EDT (UTC-4) I will be in conversation with Sandra Story from the U.S. Department of State as part of a series called Faces and Places across the United States.  I’ll be talking about my home state of Vermont and what life is like here. To be sure that the conversation is accessible to intermediate level students, we’ll try to keep the language from getting too complicated.  The conversation will be held live on Facebook at this address:  I hope you can join us! If you’d like to share this opportunity with friends, colleagues, and students. In cast you aren’t free at the time of the live conversation, a recording will be made available on YouTube afterwards.

This blog is written and maintained by Vance Stevens
You are free to share-alike and with attribution under

The date of this update is May 21, 2021 12:00 UTC

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