Minecraft in the classroom

February 8, 2015 by Mike

photo-8609164It’s always interesting to read about innovative ways to use things students are already familiar with in the classroom and this post on the Atlantic blog this week attracted my attention in particular.  Already the world’s most successful computer game with well over 18m downloads, it seems that Minecraft is now gaining a new lease of life as an educational tool.

The idea is the brainchild of teacher Joel Levin, who modified the game for educational purposes.  Removing the ability for students to actually kill each other, Levin found Minecraft an ideal medium to teach a range of skills around themes such as geography and resourcing.  I was especially interested too in the application to digital literacy skills, the game stimulating a range of quite high-level discussions among students on current issues such as social networking and privacy.

From Shakespeare to spatial awareness, it seems teachers are increasingly following in Levin’s footsteps and MinecradtEdu has become one of the hottest open source projects in EdTech.  Oh, and there’s clearly money in it too… Levin has now quit teaching and his start-up company, Teacher Gaming, is doing really well.  Why didn’t I think of that…?