The opportunities #Minecraft provides…
It has been one week since our server was opened up to the students at Riverside Primary School, within this short time they certainly have taken on board the concept of being supportive community members. They have a community farm organised already! Not to mention there is a group who have started mining together, enabling their efforts to have greater impact and meaning with regard to their sense of community. It is this concept of community and connectedness that I love about Minecraft. In the past we have engaged students in online learning that employs the use of reasonably flat environments, as a result the important aspects of play and tinkering are often not easily employed or are limited. In a space such as Minecraft the students are working together, playing together and tinkering together. They are relying on others to support them and they get to support in return. The play I see happening on the server resembles that which occurs in the playground or the backyard. It is this aspect that appeals to me most and I feel is most significant.
In a few weeks one of the students from Riverside Primary School will be setting off on a trip that will not see him returning to the school for some time. Contact with his classmates does not need to cease. You might be thinking at this point that this doesn’t sound unusual or hard to do. Well it isn’t! Students can blog, they can email, they can chat using video software and continue with their connectedness. Yet children like to play, they like to negotiate, they like to tinker, they like to engage in activities together that are more interactive than those mentioned. This is where Minecraft provides a great platform for the key aspects that support connectedness and community that young people are looking for to meet their needs. Time zones might prove a slight hurdle at times while this child is travelling, however, he can stay connected on the Minecraft server that his friends and classmates are on just by logging on. He can continue to be in the school playground or his backyard in a meaningful virtual setting, encountering all those incredibly important moments that cement friendships and make memories.
It is for this reason that I choose an external Minecraft server for our school server, enabling these students the opportunity to stay connected in a space that is about connected learning that is self driven and immersive.