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Why We’re Anxious for the Results of Educator-Testing of Minecraft: Education Edition

Why We’re Anxious for the Results of Educator-Testing of Minecraft: Education Edition

Minecraft is the second-most popular game in the world, second only to Tetris; on average, 53,000 copies of Minecraft get sold per day.

As with most things that capture the minds of our children, educators tried to find the game’s educational value early on-and succeeded.

In 2011, before Microsoft likely even seriously considered purchasing the best-selling game, teachers created MinecraftEdu, a school-ready version that featured classroom management tools, moderation tools, and access to teacher-created lessons and activities. h

When Microsoft purchased Minecraft from its creator, Mojang, Microsoft realized the massive potential of the game as a learning tool and decided to revamp the education version and re-release it with new features. Currently in its beta version, Minecraft: Education Edition is being tested by schools and educators all over the world. 

Here’s why we’re anxious to find out how this testing is going:

To Learn More About the Potential of Game-Based Learning in Teacher Training.

If Minecraft’s education edition is as successful as we predict it will be, that could completely change how the education community views game-based learning.

For instance, even though the product is still in its beta version, one professor is nonetheless using it to teach his education technology students techniques.

According to The Toledo Blade, Mark Stevens, professor at Bowling Green State University, is using the still-in-development version of Minecraft to teach students why gameplay has a place in the classroom. Stevens is committed to using Minecraft to show current students the impact of emerging technologies on learning, whether it’s the beta version of not.

If all goes well, Minecraft could soon become a staple in how teachers’ learn to teach.

To See What Kinds of Lessons and Activities Teachers Have Developed.

Part of the reason Microsoft released the beta version of the education edition this summer is so teachers could have time to test out the new features, but also so teachers could have time to develop lesson plans and activities for the fall.

What teachers have come up with could very well be indicative of a break-through in how learning happens in the classroom. Everyone- not just us- is excited to find out how teachers are able to experience success using game-based learning to teach a variety of subjects.

To Find Out If Minecraft’s Education Community Can Be a Valuable Tool for PLN Development

Because developing creative and useful lesson plans for Minecraft can be a lengthy task, Microsoft has created a portal of resources that is designed to help educators begin their journey.

Microsoft has even created Minecraft Mentors, a program that connects beginners with seasoned users of Minecraft’s educational features to guide use.

This can represent a valuable opportunity for educators to connect with individuals who can become staples in their Professional Learning Network (PLN), which will help them continue to grow as they receive support and feedback throughout their career.

And, Of Course, to Hear About How Students React.

We know that students love Minecraft outside of the classroom, but how are they reacting to Minecraft as an educational tool? What kinds of student responses have come up since testing has begun, and what do these responses mean for future involvement? We can’t wait to find out more.

The wait is almost over. Beginning in September, Microsoft: Education Edition will be available for schools to purchase at a price point of $5 per user.

Read more about the Education Edition here.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

8/16/2016

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