STEM Learning in Minecraft
The Innovating Pedagogy 2019 report: Exploring new forms of teaching, learning and assessment, to guide educators and policy makers was recently released by the Open University. This is the 7th report in the Innovating Pedagogy series and this year the report highlights 10 forms of learning that are already in currency but have not yet had a profound influence on education. The report states that
“the core of learning is found not in what is defined in the curriculum, but in how teachers help students discover new possibilities from familiar things, and then from new things.”
The role of teachers to design and create innovative and engaging learning experiences is once again captured in this report. The role of teachers in creating meaningful learning experiences was also to the fore in a recent study visit on digital game-based learning to Luxembourg with the ET 2020 Working Group on Digital Education: Learning, Teaching and Assessment. In a world where digital games are now part of our culture, their role in teaching, learning and assessment continues to grow.
During one of the presentations on the study visit we learned about a new Minecraft world that has been created by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, CCEA, in Northern Ireland. They have developed a Minecraft world on the topic of the Vikings which is designed for primary aged students.
The Viking World has 11 areas of enquiry and students will have opportunities to combine their computer learning with classroom activities, where they build boats, engage in simple experiments and much more. The resource has been developed so as to encourage and support cross-curricular learning by combining Science and History and a range of other curriculum areas, see below, in one set of learning activities. CCEA recently completed a pilot with the Minecraft world in a small number of schools and since January 1st, a rollout to all schools has begun.
CCEA sees the game providing a rich learning context where students can develop a range of 21st century skills such as teamwork, collaboration, problem-solving and much more. The designers of the game hope that it will support blissful productivity, where young people are learning without even knowing it.