Minecraft is Educational? Kids Mine at School
Minecraft is one of the most popular video games available, and kids love building things using the materials acquired in the game. For kids who love gaming, imagine bringing their most beloved games into a school environment. That’s exactly what Microsoft is doing with MinecraftEdu.
What is MinecraftEdu? It’s a new version of the video game designed specifically for classrooms. The game is currently in production. What does Minecraft have to do with education? As it turns out, building with the three-dimensional blocks and tools of the popular game can stimulate kids creatively, much like LEGOS or other educational block toys can. The game can reinforce hand-eye coordination and allow kids the freedom of making their own creations come to life.
MinecraftEdu will be available for testing this summer. The game will be fully customizable and adapted for the classroom, and teachers can adapt the game to any type of learning/curriculum situation to make it more relevant to learning.
So what makes Minecraft educational? Experts say that it’s great when used in collaboration with math, science, art, and any type of computer classes. Also, when schools purchase MinecraftEdu for their classes, they also get a copy of the original Minecraft game to play, which is essentially, a completely different game, yet still available if desired.
This seems like an amazing idea. Kids love video games, and relating game play to learning seems like a natural way for kids to absorb information and enjoy learning on a totally new level. Maybe gaming companies should consider adapting more video games for student gameplay-how much more would kids love school if they knew they could play video games while they were there?
Schools and teachers can use the Hosting Service that Microsoft offers to host MinecraftEdu, and this involves activating servers from the hosting panel, but this is a simple process for schools to engage in. It costs $25 per month for subscribing to the hosting panel, and one server can accommodate up to 30 game players at a time. This is a monthly fee, but the game software is a one time fee of $41.
The game comes with a teacher tutorial, as well as modifications so teachers can control the game at the push of a button. Teachers can also download extra features that incorporate specific lessons into the game, in order to customize it even further. MinecraftEdu is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms.
What do you think about teachers using Minecraft in the classroom? Does it make learning more fun, or does it make kids think of school when they play Minecraft, making it a negative?