What Minecraft Game Could You Create to Help Students Learn

So this week was the very first time I have ever attempted to play Minecraft, despite the fact that the game has been played here in my house on a weekly basis for at least 6 years.  All of kids have played and or still play so I had quite a few eager teachers.  First, I’m one of those people who doesn’t have a lot of stamina for computer games, I prefer to be up and doing “something” to any kind of sitting in front of the computer.  But I sat for about 30 minutes and let my 11 year old daughter take me through the steps of setting up for my first night in the world of MC.  It was fun! I enjoyed the “mining” and building my tools. I made a tiny little shelter and marveled at the ability to put a roof over my head.  I also had a great time bonding with my girl.  It was fun and creative.

After creating and playing I did a little research into how teachers are using it in the classroom.  I know that many of the teachers at my school have attempted to use it and even my sons have used the game to create settings and story boards for literacy projects.  The big question that pops up for me is the control of the environment and keeping kids on task.

Reading Lee Graham’s article about using MC in a MOOC environment was fascinating and I found myself wanting to be a participant.  Her class of 6 teachers were able to facilitate this environment with 20 teachers and over 700 students! What a ride that must have been.  Graham did address the issue of controlling the environment which was one I also had. Students whose teachers were less involved or non-present during the game play tended to perform more off-task behaviors.  These students were gravitating to playing the game they way they were used to outside of the classroom.  These issues were not a so much a product of the OOC but one of teacher behavior control.

If I were to use MC in my classroom I would want to have a controlled experience with clear goals outlined by myself.  To start I would get these ideas from other teachers on the net who have used MC.  I teach little one, just kindergarten. I’m not even sure that this age should be playing a computer game like MC in school.  BUT if I were to have an opportunity I could see building some virtual worlds for the students to play around in.  Counting and Cardinality with blocks, creating letters with blocks or an alphabet book.

Thinking outside of my age group I enjoyed reading Kriscia Cabral 2014 article on how her students were able to convince her that MC had huge learning potential.  In her post she describes several students who were able to MC as a motivation for deeper learning.  Ringing true throughout the MC argument is that as an emerging technology for education MC has many of the same benefits as many other technology applications.  These include:

Collaboration

Perseverance

Promoting creativity

and Problem Solving

Not to mention it is FUN!

References:

Cabral, K. (2014, April 10). Using minecaft as a learning tool. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/top-teaching/2014/04/using-minecraft-learning-tool

Graham, L. (2015, January 26). Simply engaging and utterly consuming: #Givercraft 2014. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://mvlri.org/Blog/ID/77/Simply-Engaging-and-Utterly-Consuming-Givercraft-2014

Minecraftopia (2016) How to Play Minecraft. Retrieved July 08, 2016, from http://www.minecraftopia.com/how_to_play_minecraft

 

 

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3 thoughts on “What Minecraft Game Could You Create to Help Students Learn

  1. ruralakteacher says:

    I had experimented with a class of three students with a MC project but I did not have all of the computer software so I got signed permission slips for them to play the XBOX version. It was a huge challenge because I was not in the game(just in the room) and the only control I had was to take away the student’s controller if they were not following directions. That approach proved to work but really a firm warning helped because they were having such a great time building Native Communities, they did not want to lose their time.
    After playing with my kids today, I am even more excited to get this into my room. I especially am excited for the close reading and MC learning that can happen. I never imagined gaming in school would ever be possible when I was playing Pitfall on the Atari in the late 1980’s.

    Like

  2. akreadingteacher says:

    Hi Melissa, I had similar thoughts about whether young ones should be playing computer games in school, but as I thought about it, I thought it might be just the “hook” or tool that some students need to express themselves. I was thinking that it would be possible to use in a Genius Hour setting, with kids having the choice. I wonder if this would have an effect on on-task/off-task behavior. We’d still need to set up clear expectations, of course 🙂 and be very “present” like you said!

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