EducationWorld is pleased to share this article by education writer James Drzewiecki. Also, don’t miss the related article Site Review: MinecraftEdu.
It has pigs, creepers, spiders and even a dragon, and it’s all the rage with kids (and quite a few adults). Minecraft has over 100 million users across various platforms, and educators are increasingly using the game as a teaching tool. So what is it, and how can students benefit?
How Minecraft works
At its core, Minecraft is about placing and mining blocks. The game world consists of 3D objects—mainly cubes—that represent materials such as dirt, stone, various ores, water and tree trunks. Players gather these material blocks and use them to form various constructions.
When the game begins, players must work quickly, with friends or by themselves, to build shelter to survive the night (when all the monsters of the world come out). Once they finish a day (20 minutes in real time), users repeat the cycle, building more complex shelters and stocking up on vital resources in order to survive.
Available game modifications, called mods, add a variety of gameplay changes. One mod, MinecraftEdu, is designed to make the game more classroom-friendly. The mod allows educators to incorporate their own curricular content and run a custom server for each of their classes.
Benefits of Minecraft in the classroom
With the right imagination and creativity, teachers can implement any sort of lesson into the world of Minecraft—the possibilities are endless.
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