Microsoft have bought a huge stake in the hit game Minecraft, from the previous developer, Mojang. They have since developed it into an online learning environment, facilitating game-based learning, about which you’ll be hearing a lot more in the near future.
Compared to ‘vanilla’ Minecraft there are several education specific things built in to the Education Edition. For classroom use it allows up to 30 users to interact in virtual environments which the teacher has full control in setting up and managing.
For many teachers the first major sticking point will be ‘I don’t know how to play Minecraft’ – but they don’t necessarily need to – they just need to be there to facilitate and direct the session in terms of learning objectives. We don’t think you’ll have trouble finding children that know their way around the world inside out if you want some tips!
How might I use Minecraft for Education in my lessons?
Let's say you are taking a history class, looking at the Roman empire. You could get the students to participate in building a forum or the coliseum. Not only is it a hands-on task that your pupils can get involved in - it helps them to really visualise what it was like during these times too.
One of our favourite features is the camera. Students can take photos with a Victorian style tripod camera in the game environment. These can be annotated and put in a portfolio, which they can then share with the teacher to keep a record of what they’ve achieved.
Teachers will be able to make good use of non-player characters – who are static in the game; your students will naturally want to walk up to them and press a button to interact. These characters can provide guidance towards the learning objectives, suggest ways to improve what the students have done if they’ve finished their objective, or give hints about the whereabouts of items in simpler treasure hunt style scenarios. The content can be as simple or as challenging as you feel the students need, and can be improved upon for future sessions as you see how they cope with it.
How does Minecraft for Education work with the systems I already have?
Office 365 accounts are used for login (which the school should already have) so there are no headaches with creating separate logins and forgetting another password. Once the session is set up it needs very little explanation; students can do it themselves or be guided by a teacher. But generally, the teacher has freedom to focus on those learning at different pace much easier.
One of the other concerns with online gaming is security. You don’t have to worry about that as Minecraft for Education is a completely closed system – it is only available within a school’s network so there is no issue with online bullying and trolling from anonymous strangers. Obviously there can still be issues with cyberbullying from students in the same classroom, but this is way easier to monitor than bullying that might occur on the playground, for example.
You can even use Minecraft to teach personal skills like politeness, assertiveness and sociability which could transfer to the students’ lives away from the keyboard – digital citizenship as well as real-life citizenship.
Minecraft in Education (Resources)
How can Hable help?Using our vast experience within the Education sector, Hable have developed a course to get schools set up and confident in how to use Minecraft: Education Edition. This can be fully tailored to your needs and requirements. Showing you:
- How it can fit in to and enhance your school’s curriculum.
- How teachers can set up clubs for Minecrafters
- The best content to use
Under Hable’s guidance, Minecraft: Education Edition has already helped many schools with cross-subject integration all across the school’s curriculum – science, IT, art, and English to name a few.
Please get in touch for more information or to book a call to discuss how Hable can help.