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Report – Minecraft University

Posted on: Thursday 07 July 2016 3:46pm by Jessica Thornsby

How is Mindcraft being used in the classroom and at home and what does it offer that traditional education methods may not?

Takeaways

  • Minecraft is a world where children are the experts
  • Minecraft is a great opportunity to engage children in a wide range of different subjects – from global warming, right through to the issues impacting their local community
  • Minecraft can give children access to places and things they wouldn’t otherwise have access to, including imaginary worlds inspired by famous paintings

Detail

Minecraft is nothing short of a phenomenon: it’s gone from indie game to household name in just a few years, and its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Today Minecraft has ‘captured’ millions of young users who play the game themselves, but also enjoy watching other people exploring the world of Minecraft on YouTube.

Recently, educators have begun recognising Minecraft’s potential to educate, and in this session a panel of experts provided a unique insight into all the different ways that Minecraft is being used in the classroom and at home.

Education Coordinator of Brighton Digital Festival Donna Comerford spoke about her own experiences of using Minecraft in the classroom, particularly when it comes to teaching SMSC (spiritual, moral, social and cultural development). “Minecraft’s educational potential is striking, particularly considering it wasn’t designed with any educational purpose in mind,” she said.

Microsoft STEM Programme Manager Stuart Ball, also spoke about Minecraft’s potential in the classroom, but warned against being too rigid in the way we use Minecraft to educate. “Respect the imagination of the child. Don’t turn it into something that becomes just another educational piece of software. If you do, they’ll suss us out and move onto something else.”

MindcraftStuart also introduced us to 7 year-old YouTube sensation Solly the Kid, who shares his Minecraft adventures with tens of thousands of viewers and hundreds of subscribers worldwide.

Minecraft artist and digital producerAdam Clarke shared case studies of several exciting Minecraft-based projects, including Tate Worlds and We Are The Rangers. Joseph Palmer also shared some interesting work that BlockBuilders are doing with Minecraft, including creating Minecraft models of nature reserves so children can explore the effects of various disaster scenarios, such as flooding.

Out of all the contributors, and in the whole session, Solly gave us the best explanation about why Minecraft is so hugely popular amongst children, and why Minecraft is increasingly finding its way into the classroom: “My favourite thing about Minecraft, is that anything you can imagine, you can build.”

And here is Solly’s video of his day in Sheffield and the Minecraft University session:

Jessica Thornsby

About the author

Jessica Thornsby

Can Studios, Technical Writer

Jessica Thornsby studied Creative Writing at the University of Bolton. She has a background in technical writing and reporting, music journalism, and digital marketing. She is the co-author of O’Reilly Media’s iWork: The Missing Manual. She works as a technical writer at Can Studios, an award-winning team of developers, designers… Read more

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