Minecraft in the Classroom

If you’ve spent any time around 6-12 year old students lately, you likely heard them mention Minecraft. It’s been around for several years now but you may not have experienced it. So, what is it?

Minecraft is a game where the player controls a character who will dig (mine) and build (craft) various blocks in a complex 3d world. The graphics are very “blocky”–everything is made of blocks: earth, wood, water, stone, wool, food, etc. A better introduction to the world of Minecraft can be found on this blog: http://minemum.com/what-is-minecraft

Students can learn to code, plan and complete complex tasks, and design their own virtual worlds. Many teachers are using Minecraft in the classroom for assignments; for example, instead of asking fifth graders to write a paper report on the Mayan civilization, how about asking them to craft a Mayan village instead? Minecraft allows them to do just that. This video shows students using Minecraft and teachers talking about how using the program has changed how they teach. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgTdmhV-Mxs

From the MinecraftEdu website: http://minecraftedu.com/

MinecraftEdu provides products and services that make it easy for educators to use Minecraft in the classroom. We make a special version of Minecraft specifically for classroom use. It contains many additions to the original game that make it more useful and appropriate in a school setting. We also offer a cloud-based solution for hosting Minecraft classroom servers so students and teachers can connect and play together. We also host a library of lessons and activities that are available for free, and there is a vibrant, active teacher community exploring uses of Minecraft in the classroom. Over 3,000 teachers in 40+ countries have used MinecraftEdu to teach subjects from STEM to Language to History to Art.

The College of Education Professional Education Unit hosted a Minecraft discussion last semester that was well-attended and piqued our preservice teachers’ interest in using the software in their classrooms. Digital citizenship, virtual classrooms, and gamification are all possible with Minecraft. Students love it and spend countless hours ‘crafting.’ How could we leverage their interest?

If you would like to experience Minecraft, come by the T.E.C.H. Playground…we’ll play and learn!

tb

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