Minecraft

Fellow preservice teacher and blogger Carmen Chandler gifted me an awesome new book,”Minecraft in the Classroom: ideas, inspirations, and student projects for teachers” by Colin Gallagher and nine other authors and editors.

        I haven’t had a chance to start reading it, but I intend to (when homework isn’t trying to eat away the last strands of my sanity). In the mean time, several of my colleagues have shared some amazing teaching resources for minecraft that I now want to pass on you you, the three or four people who will read this.

Britney Allen suggested the article MinecraftEdu: From game room to classroom. The article talks about several different ways to integrate minecraft into the classroom. The excerpt below is just one suggestion among many for teachers.

“New York City teacher and now-founder of TeacherGaming, Joel Levin … uses [Minecraft] to teach “digital citizenship” to his second graders. It’s a topic that encompasses ideas like internet safety, privacy, communication, and the lesson that actions have consequences, not only in the real world, but in the digital world.”

I followed the TeacherGaming link and came to a very useful website for teachers looking to integrate Minecraft into their classroom. TeacherGaming focuses on two main games to bring to the classroom. MinecraftEdu: “school-ready remix of the original smash hit game Minecraft, played by over 30 million people worldwide”, and KerbalEdu “lets students build rockets and explore the solar system with rockets they build, using the indie hit Kerbal Space Program”. I have seen my younger brother play with Kerbal but I have never given it a try, namely due to the fact that it doesn’t work on my computer (silly google chromebook, you’re hardly a computer at all).  Obviously I have tried MinecraftEDu as it would be a little silly to have done all this reading and research and not have given it a go.

Under the heading of MinecraftEDu there is a website link, which I naturally had to follow. The about page had this to say, “MinecraftEdu provides products and services that make it easy for educators to use Minecraft in the classroom”. There is a whole tab for resources for teachers which includes forms, wiki and live chat option. The creators seemed to have focused on the community aspect which is so strong in the original Minecraft and brought it over to the new Education platform.

Valerie Irvine recently suggested an article by John Miller “Literacy thought minecraft- Lesson design model”. The article looks at using Minecraft to encourage ESL students to work on their writing. Scripts that detail historical events are used and then played out in the game. Then students explore the game for a while and learn more about the scene through  non-player character (NPC). This is then written about in their journals. It is an amazing unit idea and I highly suggest you all go check it out!

MinecraftEdu ‏on twitter recently posted an article that featured Sara Richards and her experience, as a teacher new to minecraft, bringing the game to the classroom. She talks about her experience with her 3rd grade students as they explored the game together. The picture I liked most was what looked to be a class photo. To me, it illustrated the community feeling of minecraft which is often brings into the real world after a group plays together.

The last article I will talk about is Georgina Pazzi suggested article from BBC “Should parents ever worry about Minecraft?”. This article is several pages long but definitely worth reading as it outlines and addresses some of the major concerns of parents.

I am sure there are many more fun articles out there to check out. If you’ve written one you want to share or if you’ve stumbled on one and you want others to read it, leave the link in the comments and I will check ‘er out.

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