Minecraft = fun, learning and so much more

When implementing a new subject there are many things to consider, but most of all the learning that it enables is paramount. So what does that look like in our Minecraft class? In a world where we are so focussed on outcomes and most of them being linked to literacy and numeracy, the question has to be asked as to whether or not this subject provides valuable outcomes.

This week I asked a number of students what they have been learning from Minecraft, one response was particularly interesting:

This subject has especially helped me with teamwork, not just in the Minecraft class but in other classes too. With Minecraft it is so creative so to get around problems that occur you have to think outside the box, so I find it easier to work through problems in other classes and in groups.

There is quite a bit that can be unpacked from this one comment. On a personal note it made my day. From a teaching perspective I have noticed the positive impact working with others to solve problems has had on the students in this class, but was unaware of the students transferring it beyond the time they spend in Minecraft. When in the class the students are constantly questioning the building that they are doing and determining whether it is meeting the desired outcomes that they want to achieve. They are not working in isolation, they are co-constructing and seeking input from others who have skills in specific areas to ensure that what they are making is the best and in the process learning for themselves.

If you do a quick internet search for the 4 C’s of 21st Century learning/education you will quickly come across the following:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity and innovation

These are the key outcomes that I am constantly seeing in this class. It means different things for different students, but the key overarching concepts are the same.

So what does this look like for students in the classroom:

  • a group of students replicating an existing structure from the real world
  • creating an arena that will incorporate a game for teams to compete in
  • developing a mentoring program with students from the primary school next door that has a collaborative focus
  • incorporating the individual learning plan of a student to ensure a positive integration into the wider school community
  • running a server and making decisions based on needs and wants of peers
  • supporting peers in their learning
  • developing a lunch program for Grade 7 students that focuses on collaboration

In a world that is constantly changing it is important that we provide a platform for young people to experience authentic learning experiences that enable them to tinker, question, learn from each other, acknowledge, accept and appreciate difference and diversity for the valuable skills and knowledge that they bring. This has meant stepping back as a teacher and fostering the learning in a different way, one that means that I am learning as much as they are. It has required developing a different relationship with students where they are taking on roles not normally seen in a traditional classroom. At times this is uncomfortable – mainly for me – but exciting as it develops responsibility, initiative and a keen interest in their own learning.

2 Comments

  1. Dhanson says:

    I am impressed that you have manufactured and allowed various and different learning opportunities within the one class. It also ticks the ” authentic learning” box because what they do is immediate and real – and in real time. What an individual or group does is instantly observable by others – for better or worse.

  2. dbatty1 says:

    Yes, the instant authoring is something that many are only just coming to terms with, prior to such technology the audience one had was vastly different and much more controlled. It is something that we need to be aware of as social media etc… provides us with an immediate platform for our thoughts; which provide an insight for others regarding our beliefs, values and purpose in life. When I was watching the news this morning regarding the Aussie Swimmers this idea of identity creation was certainly floating around my head. I think our students are extremely lucky to have the opportunities they are receiving through Minecraft, it is their subject, it is their story and it is providing them a well supported place to learn about the use of such technology and the power of it.

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