Minecraft: a learning aid for Education

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Minecraft is a video game that essentially is a virtual land and the users can create their own worlds. These are made through the construction of blocks, done by mining for building resources. This game really stretch’s the user’s creativity.  As you may have already heard, Minecraft has taken a key role within classrooms throughout the world. Minecraft: Education Edition is an ‘open world game’ that can lend itself to the education curriculum. It contains many features that enable it to lend itself to the classroom.

Students can use their Office 365 Education accounts which enables them to have a simple sign-in. These accounts are secure and already have their information embedded. Minecraft lends itself so well to collaboration as up to 30 students can be actively working within one world, at one time. Teachers are even able to create an ‘non-player’ character. This character acts as a guide for the students, it will give instructions and provide information. A Chalkboard can be used within the games, they are there so that teachers can post learning goals and tasks. Links can even be added through the ‘non-player’ character as a point of reference. To document their development throughout the game, there is a camera option which will take screenshots.

There is a range of lessons for the educators which cater for age and lesson. You get objectives, questions, activities and learning criteria is each of these lessons. Here is an example of the lessons plans for each age groups.

Ages 5-9
Ages 10-13
Ages 14+
Creating a Virtual Community Preventing Urban Sprawl City Planning
Factors & Multiples Loss of Biodiversity Sustainable Living
Landmarks in The Community Ignoring Climate Change Solar Planning
Story Setting Fraction Stories Rube Goldberg MAchines
State History Deforestation Animal Farm
Area & Perimeter Storytelling

To start using Minecraft: education Edition you need to be signed up to Office 365 using the school or district email. You will then need your operating system to be either  Windows 10 or OS X EI Capitan. Then lastly, you just need to download and enjoy!

There is an early version which is available for free, however the full version will cost you between $1 and $5 per user, per year. The price will vary depending on the size of the school and qualification for volume licensing. If you want to find out more visit the official Minecraft: Education Edition website, or watch this video to see how pupils enjoy using Minecraft in the classroom.

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