If you have a young person in your home, chances are you’ve heard of, or are familiar with Minecraft. Minecraft has over 100 million users across various platforms, and educators are increasingly using the game as a teaching tool.
Minecraft is about placing and mining blocks. The game world consists of 3D objects—mainly cubes—that represent materials such as dirt, stone, various ores, water and tree trunks. Players gather these material blocks and use them to form various constructions. When the game begins, players must work quickly, with friends or by themselves, to build shelter to survive the night (when all the monsters of the world come out). Once they finish a day (20 minutes in real time), users repeat the cycle, building more complex shelters and stocking up on vital resources in order to survive. MinecraftEdu, is a spin-off of Mine craft, designed to make the game more classroom-friendly. It allows educators to incorporate their own curricular content and run a custom server for each of their classes. Some of the benefits of using Minecraft in the classroom are that it:
- gives students the freedom to create, pushing their imaginations to the limit and allowing them to be creative in ways not possible in the real world.
- is inherently about problem-solving, the game can inspire students’ higher-level and critical thinking.
- is also a very social game, where students can rely on other players for help in the sometimes-unforgiving Minecraft world. When students work together, it builds positive classroom climate, teaches the benefits of collaboration and facilitates teamwork in a way that’s more organic than, say, being assigned to work together on a project.
Check out this video for a glimpse of Minecraft. The possibilities are endless.