Ahhh, Minecraft. How you have changed my classroom, my teaching and my students in the last few years.
I am still a novice when it comes to Minecraft, but who isn’t? With the fluid nature of the environment, the creative options and the never ending worlds, it is impossible to say that anyone is an expert. I reference people like “Thorlar” a giant in the Minecraft world. The self-proclaimed “Pixel art king” (I mean, seriously, this dude is talented. Check out his YouTube channel as well). I have spent many an hour watching his artistic exploits through the online game streaming site “Twitch”. His ability to use Minecraft for such beautiful pieces of art on such a huge scale is magnificent. But still, I would say that even he is not an expert. There is just too much scope for this game. Even then, I use the term “game” looselyy, as it is much, much more than that.
Youtube clip: Thorlar world record attempt. Retrieved 26/9/15 from: https://youtu.be/DJRmloafpo8
My original introduction into Minecraft was through a colleague who wanted to use my class as guinea pigs for a gamification unit in 2013. I had no idea what it was and most of my class had never even heard of it. Fast forward two years and it is ERRYWHERE. There are even toys and colouring books in local stores. There is even “Minecraft for education” which has been specifically designed for use in the classroom for educational purposes.
I will admit that I have used Minecraft as a reward carrot for my class at times, and I am well aware that many other classes do too. But it is much, much more than that. There are plenty of resources on the web for how to use it for educational purposes. I have used it for Maths, English, History, Science and even Religion. The most amazing outcomes came from a narrative writing unit where the students wrote descriptive paragraphs about their “worlds” and turned these into stories. The rich discussions that the students get into around Minecraft is incredible. I have been able to do oral language assessments on students who are usually almost non-verbal in class based on their conversations while “in-game”. Seriously teachers, get on this. I mean it.
Still don’t believe me? Here, check this out….
Edit: Following on from a comment posted to this page, I have decided to discuss how I have introduced parents to the concept of gamification in the classroom on my Gamification page. Check it out!