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Is Minecraft Helping More Kids Get Into Programming?

Is Minecraft Helping More Kids Get Into Programming?

For parents concerned about their children spending a lot of after school time playing Minecraft, CNET has some words of advice for them: chill.

"When they move beyond the basics [of the game], kids can let their imaginations run wild, creating worlds with transporters, flying chickens or rain that springs up from the ground,” CNET says.

"Along the way, Minecraft's young players learn things like computer coding, engineering, architecture, urban planning and math.”

Many kids are learning the basics of programming through the popular game. Despite major efforts as of late to beef up computer science programs in America’s K-12 schools, it’s common knowledge that course offerings are still lacking on a national level. Does this make Minecraft far more than just a game, and instead a national asset?

Chris Riley, a programmer in Livermore, California, told CNET that he "likes how command blocks allow kids to 'learn from doing, not being told.' Riley plans to introduce his toddler daughters, Maisie and Ava, to the game to help them learn spatial awareness, creativity, project planning, architecture, engineering and programming. (Now that's what you call child's play.)” And programming dads aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the educational aspects of the game.

Minecraft has become a sweeping sensation in education- so much so, that Microsoft bought teacher-created MinecraftEdu just to build on the momentum. The official Microsoft: Education Edition will launch this summer.

"We realized very early on Minecraft was being used in ways we hadn't thought of when teachers started bringing it into the classroom..Over time we realized it was much more important than we thought. It was something we should support,’” says Vu Bui, Mojang's chief operating officer to CNET.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/30/2016

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