Minecraft Education is game turned educational resource where you’re dropped into a pixelated block world in which you can explore build and survive using the objects around you. However, with its educational revamp, it’s now also a collaborative and versatile platform that educators can use across subjects to encourage 21st-century skills and help to achieve digital transformation.
And believe it or not, Minecraft Education is more than just placing blocks. I mean, if it wasn’t – you could probably just use stickle bricks instead!
Minecraft Education has a range of tools spanning much wider than a simple ‘point and click’, that are available for students to make the most of, from exploration and discovery to more advanced levels of coding.
Now if you were to set the task of encouraging children to get inspired and interested in playing computer games, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have the hardest of times setting the wheels in motion with this one. However, when it comes to teaching more educational topics, you may have a much harder time of getting things moving in the right direction.
In the past, it may not have been quite as hard to get children inspired in learning with a PC, after all they were a new and interesting way of learning. But with the digital revolution well in motion, many children are now just as savvy on devices as a lot of adults. Therefore, the ability to combine both work and play through the tool of Minecraft Education really is an invaluable one. Empowering and letting children learn through something they already have an interest in really is a fascinating idea.
But just how well does Minecraft Education combine the two very contrasting worlds of Education and Gaming? Traditionally you’d want to separate the two and after all, there must be some educational value there otherwise the only skill you’ll be teaching your students would be how to become the best gamer, not the best learner.
Back in 2014 when Microsoft acquired the games maker Mojang, the game was simply just that – a game. Since then however, Microsoft have rolled out the Educational Edition across classrooms around the world, with students far and wide being able to do anything from travelling the Oregon Trail, completing STEM activities along the way to creating a museum of the future.
The lessons available don’t just stop at that concept though, there are full lesson plans available to schools with access to the Minecraft: Education Edition, with activities ranging from mind-mapping to architectural design. To me, the immediate benefits of this are clear. Students can have a platform in which they can learn through experiencing a situation, rather than simply being told what it is and having to imagine it. This is something which enables all learners with varying learning styles to be able to make the most out of their learning experience.
You may well be still sat there thinking – that’s all great but can’t all this be achieved in the regular edition of Minecraft? Well not particularly. There are many things that you’ll get in the Education Edition which you won’t get in the regular version of Minecraft. For starters, you’ll have access to a wide range of lesson plans, but perhaps the most innovative feature you’ll be given is coding.
Coding is fast becoming a key component in the educational offering across the curriculum and now even within the working world. Plus, with jobs in the field predicted to rise significantly in coming years, the need for the coders of the future is a very important topic. This is where the Minecraft: Education Edition comes into its own.
With the ability to code certain aspects of these levels, students are being given a much more hands on experience of coding, whilst using a game in which they know and love. And I’m not sure about you, but as a student I would definitely be more interested in learning code when playing a ‘game’ rather than being stuck in a classroom watching a teacher try to explain it with a pen and board (no offence intended). As the code builder is a newer feature, you may be required to complete an additional download, however I’m pleased to say this is completely free and you’ll be able to access the files in your original download or alternatively find them here.
It’s quite clear to me that Minecraft: Education Edition has all the features and specifications needed to effectively help bring the worlds of gaming and education together, whilst developing student understanding and ability on a range of areas in the curriculum. For this to really be effective for your school however, you as an educator need to be as equally dedicated to delivering the same great lesson plans as in your regular lessons.
With an inspirational school linking up with an effective resource, the platform will be able to effectively deliver clear and positive learning outcomes to both students and teachers. But why just take my word for it? Watch this short video below and see just what educators are saying about the advancements in classroom engagement they’ve seen since incorporating Minecraft: Education Edition into their lesson plans.
In a recent blog where we discovered that STEM based jobs were due to grow at double the rate of other occupations, it became apparent that in order for schools to prepare students of today for the world of tomorrow, they must be inspired from an early age. Therefore, through utilising educational applications such as Minecraft, schools can act on this growing demand and inspire young students to go on and study STEM subjects throughout their educational journey, before it’s too late.