Minecraft in the Classroom. But Why?

Minecraft, A game designed to allow players to build worlds and play collaboratively has gained great traction in previous years for its advantages as an educational resource. So much so that Microsoft have released an educational addition of the game which comes stock piled with lessons, resources and worlds for students and teachers to use in their classrooms. Minecraft Education is being used in classrooms throughout Ireland and the world today, and for good reason.

Increase engagement by using a child centered approach:

Minecraft Education is a colourful sandbox-style game. It allows users to explore, build and be creative in many fascinating ways. The students can re-build ancient worlds, design futuristic environments and explore worlds that teach students about science, art, music, literature and much more in a fun and engaging way. This colourful and interactive resource invites students to be the designer and interact with the learning in a way that textbooks cannot. Its simple and easy to use interface makes learning fun and motivates students to get involved.

Encouraging collaboration:

Minecraft Education allows students to all work on the same project in the same world. In essence, it facilitates collaboration by allowing different students to all work together on a similar task. Take for example the construction of an ancient roman building (tying in the history curriculum). Students can each draw and design their buildings after researching what they looked like. They can assign roles, discuss alterations and then finally begin building it using Minecraft Education game. They can be working on different devices and yet all working on the same building thus facilitating collaboration.

Fostering Creativity:

Creativity comes hand in hand with Minecraft Education and is something students love to explore. Minecraft Education allows students to design and explore in many ways. Students have to imagine what it is they want and design it using the simple building blocks they have. Like Lego, the possibilities are endless. Students might recreate the Titanic, design a space ship, make their dream house or re-build their school/village in their Minecraft Education worlds. The example titled “Tallaght 1916”  shows just one way in which Minecraft Education can be used to foster creativity and cover a broad range of skills and curricular subjects in the Irish Primary Curriculum.

The Minecraft Education Website outlines the many resources and lesson plans available to teachers and also provides information on how to download and purchase this software. Over the past number of years I have used Minecraft Education in 3rd class and 6th class settings and found it to be an excellent resource. For more insight on ways Minecraft Education can be used to support learning and good teaching practice check out some of the amazing work done by school children across Ireland by during a nationwide competition called Mindrising at www.mindrising.ie…

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