Minecraft is a virtual land game that was developed by a Swedish developer named Markuss Perrson. The players can create their own world and experiences, using building blocks and resources embedded in the game. The purpose is to build a world and maintain health within it. You begin the game by choosing a character appearance and working your way through the virtual world to complete assignments and tasks.
Three learners in grade eight from Colquitz Middle School visited our EDCI336 class to educate us on Minecraft and how it is being used in the classroom. Minecraft is used in their school during “mini-X”, which is a block offered in their timetable as an alternative to being apart of band or orchestra. The teacher sets up the server where the students set up the rules and expectations and manage it all on their own.
What about privacy and safety?
Student identification is important to consider when implementing this in your own classroom due to protecting the privacy and security of your students. Teachers must go over the risks of being apart of this network and receive informed consent prior to allowing access to the game. The safest way to do this is by using an ipad or a home desktop screen. There is a way to set it up so that it runs on a secured wifi network where there is an option for children to only play with one another.This becomes a “locked” server where students can only play if they are given access. However, there are open servers where anyone can play on them, and this becomes a red flag for teachers and parents. This is where students become involved in a world where nothing can be controlled or managed by an adult.
Is Minecraft educational at all…?
YES! There are “education kits” on the minecraft education website with suggestions based on subject area. Visit https://education.minecraft.net/ for more information. Some additional ideas are listed below.
-Allows students to work towards a shared goal – constant rumble of conversation and problem solving back and forth among students. It is not just an individual process, students really have to work together and collaborate as there is a constant need and constant reply between students in the game.
-Teaching about ancient civilizations – looking at characteristics, art and architecture. Children can be split up into teams and establish the social hierarchy among one another. The teacher then brings the teams into a desert biome where they have to go into the world without any resources and come together to maintain health by building an entire civilization.
-Extreme environments – building their own way to survive.
-Learning about coordinates to navigate through the virtual land world – grade 7/8 cartesian coordinates in math curriculum. They learn to use their own GPS systems.
-Curricular competences and core competencies are established through these activities – creative and critical thinking, communication, and community building.