Minecraft may not look like much at a glance, but it has been a total game-changer in so many ways. Since its release in May 2009, the game has sold millions of copies and has built large communities of players that make the most of the unlimited possibilities that a sandbox game brings.
Players have been coming together and collaborating in Minecraft for years, either online through a server host or locally on consoles. Thousands of amazing projects have been created over the years, and it’s particularly engaging for younger players.
Educators discovered that the game even has a great deal of utility in the classroom in ways that were previously unheard of. As a result, an education edition of the game was made in 2016 for this very purpose.
The Education Edition is a modified version of the game that includes a tutorial for educators that may otherwise by inexperienced with the game. This allows them to get familiar with the mechanics and incorporate curriculum and lesson plans into the game. As far as tools for education, the Education Edition includes specialty blocks and communication tools that make the software much more suitable for being used in a virtual classroom setting.
On a base level, the game already encourages students to apply topics learned in school. When it comes to planning out and building structures, the player needs to count and measure out how many blocks they will need to make whatever they have imagined into a reality. Certain blocks can only be crafted using other materials, and a student will need to use some simple math to calculate how much of a resource they will need. For example, it takes nine planks of wood to craft a chest. If a player wants to make more than one, they will need to multiply the wood planks by however many chests they want to craft.
Education Edition can cover a great deal of subjects. Aside from the art and crafts side that one would expect, the game also supports lessons pertaining to math, science, history, language arts, and even programming. The game has tools that support all these different subjects and allows students to learn and apply the subject material visually rather than just taking notes in preparation for a test. This is especially beneficial for students with different learning styles since the more traditional method of teaching may not work as well for them.
Of course, the goal for any curriculum goes beyond just teaching a particular topic to students. The goal of any teacher is to help their students learn life skills that will benefit them beyond the classroom and the gradual climb up the educational ladder. Though it may just be a game, Minecraft Education Edition is capable of teaching young students a great deal of helpful life skills. When students work together to build in the game, it teaches them the importance of teamwork and the need for occasional compromises for the sake of completing a goal. They can expand their creativity while also learning how to problem solve when it comes to overcoming challenges and obstacles that they may face.
These life skills can even be applied in a student’s home life as well. Problem-solving will help them get along with their siblings easier by smoothing out any conflicts that may come up. Collaboration and teamwork can help strengthen family ties and allow for everyone to enjoy themselves in a leisurely activity or help get chores done in a fraction of the time that it would have taken if it had been done alone.
Minecraft Education Edition allows students to learn and have fun while they are in the classroom. The game provides an engaging outlet for the students to be both eager and excited to learn and apply what they’ve learned to their lives.