Minecraft is a popular software used by many people worldwide and is owned by Microsoft. Ever since its inception, teachers have been using it as a teaching tool. In 2012 MinecraftEDU was introduced, allowing Minecraft to be safely used by teachers to encourage their students to creatively express their learning and ideas. Most importantly, MinecraftEDU allowed many teachers to see that this tool could be used successfully in their classrooms. In Northern Ireland this software has been made available free to all Secondary school students and is actively being used by many schools worldwide.
MinecraftEDU offers templates and mods that are specifically designed for education. Privacy settings and having access to a MinecraftEDU provider allows the school to have greater security and flexibility. Teachers can provide specific permissions that enable them to design learning experiences in a safe environment where creativity can flourish.
With the help of the SCEA Innovation Grant, we have been using MinecraftEDU in the Year 7 classes this year as part of a Sustainability project where students have created their own sustainable house and block in a “Virtual World”. As a result of this project students were completely engaged with the task and were motivated to complete the task to their best of their ability. We are also hoping to start a Minecraft Club in the Junior school for the Years 3-6 in Term 4 where students during lunch times will be able to complete specific tasks that is assigned by the teacher.
How this software can be used is limited only by the imagination of the teachers and students. Some learning tasks that MinecraftEDU could be used for include:
- Creating communities with buildings that comply to particular specifications and dimensions
- Creating functional features such as fences, using algebraic formulas
- Calculating the area/volume/length of specific structures
- Creating text, signs and directions within the game
- Communicating via the on screen text function
- Creating an explanation/procedure for specific tasks e.g. How to make a ….?
- Giving oral, written or pictorial instructions to teacher/peers or other audience on how to complete a task e.g How to make a chair
- Using mathematical, scientific and technical language to explain processes and procedures e.g. how to make obsidian, how to make an electrical circuit
- Collaboration and problem solving: how to reverse engineer a procedure, how to fix a broken circuit, how to divide a complex task into manageable chunks with everyone taking on a valuable role.
- Teaching students how to code
Head of Innovation – Swan Christian College