Minecraft in the Classroom

I think my lessons are fairly engaging. But the second that bell went – literally, the second – the students gathered to discuss their next plan of action. Their next build. Their next tutorial on how to use Red Bricks, how to rewire a city, how to build the underground plumbing system. It was then that I realized that the most authentic assessment I will ever get with regards to creativity, problem solving, divergent thinking, oral communication, thinking (etc.) was during the lunch hour, when they were “playing” Minecraft.

(Also posted at http://Giftedclassroom.edublogs.org)

As a mother of two boys that use the Minecraft platform to build and design, I feel fortunate to have come into this classroom with a familiar knowledge of the potential of what this game can offer as it relates to learning, specifically around the concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).  The last few years, watching my children play and learn has led me to interest in the relevance of game-based learning platforms and to the awareness of both the benefits and pitfalls. Included HERE are a few current articles and links about Minecraft in education, along with examples and pictures.

In this video, a student demonstrates a world that he works on outside of school hours. The planning, thinking and co-authorship of this design and creation is at a level that I rarely see in the classroom. In fact, I can’t imagine anything that I could teach him to match the intricacy of thinking and design here. He incorporates math, science concepts, business, and art. He uses language skills to plan, think and communicate with his peers and spends hours reading and learning about servers, plugins and how to create his own Mods for game improvement. In the midst of all this, this same child reads about 2 – 3 novels per week.

I urge you to watch at least part of this video,

Minecraft in our classroom – next steps: 

-> Three students will moderate and control the server. All students and other members are ‘whitelisted’ which will ensure safety, privacy and protection.

-> Students will begin their first build – a school designed around the concepts of STEM and that will meet the needs of every single person (including teacher) in the class.

-> Students will begin designing the “Light Rail System” and will investigate the current discussions about the issue – http://hamiltonlightrail.com/  This initiative will support the Geography, Social Studies and Language curriculum (Ontario).

-> In teams, students will propose and design a space that is currently under much debate at the Tiffany and Barton street area in Hamilton in the Harbour West. They will have an opportunity to investigate current and past discussions and debates about the issue and then use their designs and ideas to propose solutions

We welcome collaboration and hope that parents, community and other students tap into our Twitter Stream @dwcatalysts or instagram pictures as we document and share these experiences.

 

4 thoughts on “Minecraft in the Classroom

  1. Zoe, you and I have talked Minecraft before, so there’s much head-nodding as I read your post. My only question: when are you going to play or come play with us? ;>

  2. Zoe, what you’re doing here in the classroom really interests me. I know that my Grade 6’s love Minecraft, and I love how you’ve linked curriculum expectations with something that the students enjoy so much. How engaging!

    Last year, I spent some time exploring gaming in the classroom, and while my students enjoyed what we did (e.g., using Nintendogs on the Nintendo DS’), I often found myself questioning how much time students were spending on the game versus on curriculum. While the lessons looked good on paper, I came to question them in action. What do you find? How do you pull curriculum to the forefront of these amazing Minecraft lessons? I’d love to hear more!

    Aviva
    http://www.weinspirefutures.com

  3. I’m a teacher at Da Vinci Innovation Academy in Hawthorne, CA and I began using Minecraft in my project-based classroom this year. I started using it to teach Electrical Engineering, but soon it spread to other classes and classrooms. Check out my blog about what we’re doing!

    http://www.Craft-Academy.com

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