‘Minecraft’ finally takes the lead in the classroom

That’s right, gone are the days of building blocks and ridiculous board games, now Minecraft is taking over the classroom.

If you are unaware of the world of Minecraft, it is a combination of terrible graphics and Lego-style gameplay. Your goal: to build and create worlds using elements and resources that you find in the game. So why not build historic events and create problems that can be solved using maths or other subjects that haunt the classroom?

How the hell else are you going to get students to come in on a Saturday to practice maths? It now seems so obvious, in Seattle, a Saturday math programme incorporates Minecraft into calculations around volume, sizes and building in the game.

In Los Angeles, students are able to experience and create the worlds that are built by religion, giving their Humanities course a real world experience.

Marianne Malmstrom, who’s a renowned edtech consultant, explains why experimentation in this field is so important:

What we are observing with the phenomenon of Minecraft is that kids are starved for a place to simply play. They want their bricks! They want their friends! And they want a space to play and exercise their own creativity with their friends.

It makes perfect sense, no one said that a child has to be an actual engineer before they realise they don’t want to be an engineer, perhaps the keys is an augmented reality that provides children the knowledge of adulthood. Why not take a child to ancient Egypt to give a real world understanding?

Through Minecraft, students in New Zealand are recreating the history of the New Zealand people who served in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign by building it. Why not have a bunch of elementary students redesign, reengineer and then build a new Dundee waterfront in Scotland should look like?

Why stop there? Microsoft would never, adding onto their existing offerings, there are two new free services coming to the educators knowledge-arsenary.

Office 365 Education will receive upgrades in Microsoft Class Dashboard and Microsoft School Information Sync, helping teachers and empower their students even further. Why not get more education service providers involved?

Edmondo, an educational website that takes the ideas of a social network and refines them and makes it appropriate for a classroom, has announced that they will incorporate Office 365. Sway and Office mix will also transition into the Edmodo platform  and with the help of OneDrive, storing and sharing work with Edmodo will be child’s play.

Why not incorporate even more real-time student feedback solutions on the educators? Through the recent release of Microsoft’s Bing Pulse in the classroom, student and teacher communication gets even better.

There seems to be a lot of gaps in the education system, spaces that can be filled with technology and areas that can be improved through integration of empowering educators. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime, so why limit a teacher to a fishing rod?

Image: Kevin Jarret via Flickr



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