Bedrock, Biomes, Creepers, and Teachers?

My youngest son is in second grade. There are a lot of things we could talk about, but the subject most often on his mind is the game Minecraft—what he’s building, what he has explored, and how he’s gone about doing it. His older brothers are into Minecraft as well and have been at it longer. My oldest son even did the world a favor by building a Minecraft Fenway Park.

Google the words “Minecraft in Education” and be prepared. From articles describing how teachers are using Minecraft in the classroom to the homepage of a small startup that looks like it wants to be your go-to source for Minecraft-enhanced curriculum, you’ll need plenty of time to wade through the results. Typing the word “Minecraft” into a search at a popular online marketplace for teachers yields 26 results. These include gameboards, spelling activities, and geometry lessons.

The popularity and education angle often noted in regard to Minecraft certainly supports the advocates of game-based learning, but what does it do for you? I can see where it might be a distraction, since there are some days when 99.98 percent of conversations between my youngest son and me revolve around Minecraft. On the other hand, this is no ordinary contemporary video game, lacking the blood, headshots, motion-intensive graphics, and contrived storylines that permeate so much of what is out there. It can work in the classroom.

So what do you think? Minecraft: good or bad for the classroom, and why?


4 thoughts on “Bedrock, Biomes, Creepers, and Teachers?

  1. It is a fantastic idea to use Minecraft in the classroom! It is a wonderful tool that can be used to teach spatial reasoning, problem solving, group cooperation, math, computer programming, and the list goes on. I think it is just like any resource used in the classroom; you just need to make a structured lesson plan (with some built in flexibility, of course) and manage it like it is a group activity. I think what would help with student distraction is to have the students make goals for their work within Minecraft that give them something to look forward to, such as build a town or city in game with a working factory to help with mining (you can create simple and complex machines in game). There are so many things to do in the game and with the mods (modifications) you can install.

  2. No way. Too much killing. If the villagers multiply you are forced to kill them because they will kill you. You tube shows home made mind craft videos, every one sounds like it is straight from “Die Hard”. Check out parent comments online. No way!

  3. Susan, the only time a villager attacks you is if you attack them or do something outright to upset them. If you are concerned about videos online,keep in mind that a majority of them are made by adults playing vith various different mods that add different aspects to the gameplay. It is a sandbox game and therefore open to different types of gameplay. In the classroom the concerned about any sort of vilence from villagers or monsters can be dealt with by simply turing off the ability for anything to spawn (appear randomly) and also by working in build mode.

  4. Anything a teacher can do to make learning more engaging for students should be applauded! Thanks to those teachers creative enough to know how to do it (and extra kudos to those who are willing to share {or sell} their ideas to those of us who are more “creativity challenged”!!).

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