Essential question: What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn?

I have to start this with WOW! I had no idea that there was a game like this that is designed for education. I really don’t know where to start. While reading the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute Blog about using Minecraft with the book The Giver it gave me a lot of ideas. Givercraft.com has the lesson plan for use in the The Giver, and Lord of the Flies.

MinecraftEdu has a simple setup system for classrooms where the world is already built and stored in the cloud. $20 a month activation fee is a fee I would be willing to pay. I think the program would be good for all students, it would give them a chance to interact with others, have an objective, and use their imagination to create what they read. I can also see it as a math tool, give them an objective and let them run with it.

In an article by Quinten Plummer in TECHNEWSWORLD, Microsoft wants to find ways to assist the pioneering teachers who have taught pupils through the sandbox construction game Minecraft (Plummer, 2015). The company wants to stay true to the game but incorporate it in education. In a statement from Microsoft they state they want to “shift from meeting kids on couches to engaging them in classrooms — where, even today, many kids receive their only serving of computer and desktop Internet usage, he noted. This initiative could cultivate coders and innovators from households that have no computer hardware or Internet access” (Plummer, 2015).

In an Article from Tablets for Schools they describe the game as “Virtual Legos”. Arryn Groom, a homeschooling parent, uses Minecraft as a tool to engage her kids across a range of subjects: “You have different options, different subjects (such as) The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. You watch videos, take quizzes, do building….” (Web blog, 2013). This website leads me back to MinecraftEdu, as a first stop. The site lists a few ways to use the game such as, reading comprehension, math, and history as a basis of constructing for understanding.

I found a video on You Tube, part one through eight that shows a computer teacher using it in his class of 2nd graders and it was very informative. The video links are under Teaching Minecraft, and then another set under using Mincraft all by MinecraftTeachr. I found the videos fascinating. The following video was recorded for a symposium where teachers were introduced to game based learning.

I had no idea there were WIKIs on the game to help you formulate how to build using math, and had no idea that you could shut off the bad things that can happen, and have a simple safe environment. As a gamer myself, I have only played, sorry to say, violent killing games. As an adult, it is an outlet for me, and considering when I was in the military; PlayStation was at its infancy, and Nintendo was king. There were no blogs, there wasn’t even a real internet yet so I have to continually remind myself this is all new.

If I were going to create a Mincraft game for learning, I would use it in literature like the Giver game. I would have kids create a world like the book and update it weekly with the story line. This would allow places, people, and events to come to life for the reader. I think it would be engaging for the kids to be able to play the story with friends. I think for the kids that have a hard time understanding the text, it would be easier to visualize it in a game and it would make the learning realistic. The other side is, kids have to learn the keyboard and the function of the keys and mouse.

When I seen it played and played a little myself, It was easy to manipulate and simple to use. I like the use in literature, more so than any other yet. I think with time, I will come to love it with math and history.

References:

Gamepedia. (n.d.). Retrieved July 4, 2015 from the Gamepedia Wiki: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Minecraft_in_education

Graham, L. (2015). Givercraft: #SurvivalCraft 2015 Retrieved from http://www.givercraft.com

‪Joel and Pat Chat about Games Based Learning [Video file]. Retrieved from

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKiU42gSXh0

MVLRI (January 26, 2015). Simply Engaging and Utterly Consuming: #Givercraft 2014:

Michigan Virtual Learning research Institute Blog.   [Web log comment] Retrieved from

http://www.mvlri.org/Blog/ID/77/Simply-Engaging-and-Utterly-Consuming-Givercraft-2014

Plummer, Q. (July 5, 2015). Microsoft Anchors Minecraft Strategy to Education.   Retrieved

from http://www.technewsworld.com/story/82237.html?rss=1

Tablets for Schools (2014). Teachers! Learn How to Use Minecraft as an Educational Game

[Web blog comment]. Retrieved from http://tabletsforschools.org.uk

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4 comments

  1. wollert7790 · July 9, 2015

    Apart from some online education about Minecraft, I derived most of my knowledge from interviewing my 7 th grade friend. Needless to say, I missed the part where there is another version for education purposes. So $20 for classroom? I’ll have to look into this much better deal than my friend’s comment of $25 per player.

    Like

    • jnyboy1131 · July 11, 2015

      Yea its $20 a month for the server, game, and cloud space. It would be about $200 a year which is a reasonable price, I would pay it if we had the computers. MinecraftEDU is where you want to look, check it out.

      Like

  2. Scott Roleff · July 10, 2015

    You can also purchase Minecraft server software which allows you to set up your own server at your school. This option allows teacher control over everyone logged in and also limits student activity to the school. If I were to set up Minecraft in my school, this is definitely the way I’d go. After working with kids during Givercraft last spring, I realized how valuable it is to be able to teleport to student locations to see what they are up to. I also saw kids logging in late at night. I loved the fact that they were enthused but some of the kids had difficulty limiting themselves.

    Like

    • jnyboy1131 · July 11, 2015

      I would have liked to be in on the giver craft as an observer. I would love to just see it in action, and see how kids actually use the game in learning. I also like the server idea to control game play. Its bad enough that kids play other games late at night, I wouldn’t want that to be the case for a learning tool.

      Like

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