There’s no doubt about it – Minecraft, the ‘sandbox’ or ‘open-world’ game that you can play on your computer, tablet or smartphone, has taken the gaming world by storm. Since it was released in 2011, it’s become one of the most popular games of all time. In fact, over 23m of us have bought it for PC and Mac alone (source: Minecraft). With it you have the freedom to create and build a world of your very own. In recent years, it’s been making a valuable contribution in the classroom too – helping children of all ages to learn.
What is it?
Earlier this year, Microsoft – who bought Minecraft in 2014 – announced it was going to create a new Education Edition of the game that is specifically for teachers to use in the classroom. The beta version will be available from May and will be available in over 100 schools across 30 countries worldwide.
The trial will allow teachers to test the software in their classroom and provide feedback to make the program even better ahead of a wider roll-out. From June, an early access program will be available to download for free in 11 languages and 41 countries.
How it helps students learn
Despite the simple graphics, students are able to create intricate worlds in a 3D environment to learn real world skills like working together and collaboration.
For many students, it helps bring the fun back into education and gives them a renewed interest in learning. And Minecraft isn’t simply limited to maths or science, it also helps to:
- improve reading and literacy skills by writing stories about their creations
- learn about impressive feats of engineering by touring the Great Pyramids of Giza
- create self-portraits and other masterpieces in pixel art
- discover more about DNA and genetics with science programs
- get to grips with ratios and proportions by building scale models
Plenty of support for teachers
Not familiar with the software? There are ‘Minecraft Mentors’ who can support teachers on their own classroom journey. Plus, there will be plenty of lesson plans, learning activities and projects available on the website after the trial period this summer. Visit the website to keep updated with latest news about Minecraft Education Edition.
Teachers will have full control over the experience and students will be able to log in securely with individual avatars and personalised learning experiences – it makes reviewing student progress easy.
Those who are already using Minecraft in their classroom have noted real improvements with students who don’t readily engage with their lessons.
Teaching kids to code
Microsoft isn’t the only one to bring technology to the classroom, the BBC has recently started to deliver its micro:bit computer to year 7 students to teach students how to code. Find out more about micro:bit.
For those students who aren’t in year 7, there’s always the Raspberry Pi – it’s one of the world’s most popular computers and can be found in schools too.
A free version of Minecraft is available for the Raspberry Pi – making it easy for students to take what they’re learning in the classroom home with them.
Can’t wait to get started coding with Minecraft and Raspberry Pi? View our range of Raspberry Pi products.
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