“WITH THE RIGHT IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY, TEACHERS CAN IMPLEMENT ANY SORT OF LESSON INTO THE WORLD OF MINDCRAFT – THE OPPORTUNITIES ARE ENDLESS.”
Education World, “Thinking about using Mindcraft in your Classroom?”
On March 1, 2016, Flynn Fidgeon, Public Information Officer for the School District of Indian River County announced that the “world-renowned video game Minecraft will be available as an educational tool to students at Sebastian River High School, Vero Beach High School, and Strom Grove Middle School starting this week with the debut of MinecraftEdu clubs.”
MinecraftEdu is a remix of the global hit game Minecraft that lets players use 3D blocks to create their own worlds as they discover the creations of other players.
MinecraftEdu lets students start with a tile-based interface to learn the fundamentals of programming in a fun, accessible way. As students become more engaged in the game, they will be motived to find ways to automate usual MinecraftEdu commands. Whether students are brand new to programming or have novice experience, MinecraftEdu will be a fun, interactive way for students to learn real world programing skills.
Bruce Green, Assistant Superintendent, said, “Gaming is not only changing how students learn, it is also providing platforms for students to be creative, collaborate with others, and solve problems in very relevant and engaging ways. This is one of the most popular gaming platforms available to students today and I am very excited that our schools are providing these opportunities.”
According to 2machines.com “through experimenting and working together (with Mindcraft), kids begin to develop skills in creative thinking, math and geometry, and even a bit of geology. And to complete large tasks, they need to plan a strategy, define goals and work together to execute and see the mission through – sort of like having a real job.”
The Journal of Adolescent Research published a study comparing children that played video games to those that didn’t. “Video game players, regardless of gender, reported higher levels of family closeness, activity involvement, attachment to school and positive mental health.” Paul Adachi and Teena Willoughby, the authors of the study, concluded that “video game players had less risky friendship networks and a more favorable self-concept.”
“Mindcraft blowing up the classroom; educators say the game can teach everything from math to genetics.”
In a special report for USA on January 16, 2015 Kim Komando, the host of an American talk radio program about consumer technology wrote that “The popular build-and-survive video game Minecraft could very well be the most surprising success of this decade.”
Further, she highlighted “Five things Minecraft teaches kids.”
- It builds creativity. “Some of the things Minecraft players have built are truly staggering: massive vehicles, intricate skyscrapers, working analog computers and even the entire country of Denmark exactly to scale.” Click here to see it: http://www.komando.com/happening-now/250209/minecraft-players-re-create-an-entire-country-inside-the-game
- It teaches real-world skills. “Kids learn patience…kids learn perseverance…kids learn teamwork.
- Kids can play it anywhere.
- It’s kid friendly. “Mindcraft features a peaceful mode. This is the easiest setting and turns off all enemies. It also makes it nearly impossible to die, so you just explore and build.”
- It is fun for the whole family. “You can sit next to your children and give them advice, or create your own character and jump into the game using a different computer or gadget.”
Lastly, according to The Atlantic, “Playing Minecraft teaches kids useful skills. The most clearly visible are visuospatial reasoning skills – learning how to manipulate objects in space in a way that helps them create dynamic structures. Visuospatial reasoning is the basis for more abstract forms of knowledge like the ability to evaluate whether a conclusion logically follows from its premises.” Heavy.
Created in 2009 by programmer Marcus “Notch” Persson, expanded by a small team and advertised mostly by word of mouth, Minecraft now has over 100 million users.
Microsoft bought the game in 2014 for a staggering $ 2.5 billion. It is the most popular game in history.
Marcus “Notch” Persson (free image from http://www.rollingstone.com)