Minecraft: Education Edition
One of the world’s most popular video games could very well become one of the world’s most effective learning tools.
More than 100 million copies of Minecraft – a game in which players build, explore and survive in three-dimensional worlds – have been sold worldwide.
Understanding the value of Minecraft in the modern classroom, Microsoft released Minecraft: Education Edition, which schools in many countries have now integrated into their curriculum.
Minecraft provides an immersive digital environment where students progress through basic building to coding with blocks, Java Script and Python. It requires players to collaborate, problem-solve and think creatively – no wonder teachers and students are embracing this game-based learning platform.
Designed to accommodate varied skill sets and backgrounds, the game is compatible with a wide range of laptops and tablets, including low-cost Windows devices that are popular in learning environments.
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Minecraft in the modern classroom
Minecraft: Education Edition is immersive and intuitive. It can help students develop skills essential to life and career such as communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. There is curriculum support for STEM subjects, as well as languages, history and visual arts.
Students can explore real-world issues in imaginative worlds, learn coding through games, and even develop social-emotional skills, such as empathy and social responsibility. Complex concepts can be brought to life through 3D modelling, students can read and tell stories, explore and build worlds, recreate historical events, and design and discover landscapes.
Through the use of a camera and journal function, students can record their progress and document challenges and achievements.
Teachers can create lessons, challenges and simulations and assess student’s understanding of concepts.
Research indicates that educators and students see great value in Minecraft as a learning tool. Teachers love that Minecraft is flexible, secure and engaging, and can be used across all grade levels. Students also feel confident when learning with Minecraft. A Queensland University of Technology (QUT) study conducted for Microsoft found that when learning with Minecraft students believed they were better at maths and teachers believed that students’ learning was enhanced.
Supporting 21st century skills
Schools, workplaces and life in the 21st century are all digitally connected. We want the students of today to develop the skills they’ll need to pursue careers in a world that demands digital literacy.
Gaming, as a learning tool, helps students to develop technical device skills whilst also developing their confidence in embracing and adapting to ever-changing technology. As fantastic as these learning tools are, however, educators, students and support staff need appropriate support around their adoption.
The QUT study found that while most teachers were enthusiastic about the value of Minecraft in the classroom; some were not so confident in using the technology. To build skills and knowledge, schools can consider training and professional development resources such as Minecraft: Education Edition Teacher Academy. Free to access, teachers can view videos, tutorials and instruction on how to get the most out of the platform.
Technical difficulties can also create poor experiences and significant barriers to the ongoing use of games such as Minecraft. As IT Support staff play a key role facilitating and supporting new learning tools, it’s equally important to equip them with clear and current advice.
JB Hi-Fi Educations Solutions is a proud supporter of gaming and eSports in education. We can help your school embrace 21st century learning with a comprehensive range of devices and accessories, lesson plans, as well as the technical support of an experienced team of education technology specialists.
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