17 Dec
2011
Posted in: Game
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The Minecraft Classroom

The sun breaks over the horizon and the children of the neighborhoods awaken; they excitedly get out of bed and wait for the bus to go to school as they stretch their muscles in the cold mist of the gray light of dawn. They get to class and play Minecraft. More accurately, MinecraftEdu.

The educational potential of Minecraft is subtly intertwined into the fabric of the game. Teachers are catching on. There is an international company that is in development that is dedicated to making game based education a reality. It all started with a computer teacher with a vision.

The Minecraft mod that is in development, MinecraftEdu, is a user friendly interface for server administration. Joel Levin, the computer teacher, noticed that “to get the most out of the game, you needed to have a strong technical background, be comfortable running servers, and be willing to troubleshoot problems at any given moment”. He wanted to change this, and let a wider audience make the most out of the game.

MinecraftEdu, which is offered at half the full price of Minecraft, lets teachers lead their students down lesson paths. The idea is to engage and educate the students. When students are playing Minecraft lesson paths, they do not get distracted.

Teachers have used the program to teach computer skills, science technology, engineering, math, and English lessons though explorations and playing; history teachers create real life scenes in history so students can explore the history they are learning about. A Danish English teacher noticed that when his students were playing Minecraft, they were “speaking unhindered and not contemplating correctness but more focused on making themselves understood”.

Here we have a program that makes going to class for children fun and engaging, where a deep understanding is valued over a regurgitation of learned facts from texts books. It will be interesting to follow this company; there will be updates on this topic.

So, what do you think?

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