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Do You Believe in the Learning Potential of Minecraft in the Classroom?

Do You Believe in the Learning Potential of Minecraft in the Classroom?

Although Minecraft: Education Edition already launched in the U.S. at the beginning of the month and has been tested by U.S. teachers since June, Microsoft’s U.K. launch is just happening this week.

Ahead of the launch, Engadget reports that an expert for the U.K.’s Department of Education is skeptical about the game being a learning tool and instead is worried that it will turn out to be nothing more than a gimmick.

"I am not a fan of Minecraft in lessons. This smacks to me of another gimmick which will get in the way of children actually learning,” behavior expert Tom Bennett said according to Engadget.

"I would say to teachers: 'Do you need to use this game or is there something that is cheaper and better - like books?' By offering a game and a gimmicky way of learning a subject, you run a real risk of children focusing on the wrong thing,” he said.

Bennett’s comments are representative of the varying opinions that exist on both technology and gaming in education.

While many experts are in support of finding alternative ways to teach children using methods that mirror their interests outside of the classroom, others believe these efforts are ultimately just a distraction to learning.

"Some argue that Minecraft can be a distracting classroom environment despite a teacher's best intentions, or that by adding structure to an inherently free game world, kids are more likely to tune out of the message,” says Engagdet.

Regardless, Minecraft has found its place in education long before Microsoft released its version of the game.

In 2011, educators created MinecraftEdu, the basis of the polished tool Microsoft has just released. After Microsoft purchased Minecraft’s development company Mojang in 2014, Microsoft immediately began working to create and release an education edition -- an updated version of MinecraftEdu built on teacher feedback. 

Education World asks of its readers: Do you believe in the learning potential of Minecraft: Education Edition? Take our survey below.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

11/21/2016

Do you believe in the learning potential of Minecraft: Education Edition?

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