As more and more studies are done, and more people are made aware of the advantages that Minecraft can bring, it is being integrated more deeply into the learning journey that children are embarked on. Schools and other educators have embraced the technology that offers education and fun in one 8-bit bundle.
Minecraft in Schools
A school in the North of England has embraced Minecraft for students. At breaks and lunches, it runs Minecraft clubs where the students are able to come and play with other members of the school and it comes highly recommended by the teachers as an aid to help students understand shapes and structures without it seeming like education is being pushed on to them. It is also used in classes such as Math and Geography to give students an understanding of what they are learning and allow them to see how things are devised and put together in a practical fashion. It helps give students a grasp of 3D shapes and numbers in the classroom without long, drawn out explanations that can lead to further confusion.
The above school is not the only one to do this. Many other schools have started to follow this trend, teachers are able to plan Minecraft games and challenges around their lesson to give the students a practical lesson, letting them get involved fully. For many children, this method of learning is much better than theory and gives them a deeper understanding of what the task is and how to overcome it. It has taken hold as a learning platform in schools across Europe and the United States of America and it is continuing to become more and more popular amongst teachers as the game continues to become more well-known.
It’s a growing idea that is taking off across developed countries, with the aim of improving the learning conditions for children and giving them lessons that they can actually become interested in without having to be forced. It’s a great progress for learning and schools, especially with all the educational content that is out there available that could deviate children in classes and make them more likely to stop paying attention in a classroom. With a practical application such as Minecraft being added in, it will definitely help to keep it interesting to the younger generation and help them learn without it being obvious and in their face.
SEN (Special Education Needs) departments are also finding that Minecraft a very good tool to give the SEN students a sense of achievement and ownership in their learning. Every child is different in the way they learn and finding the appropriate way to keep them interested and encouraged is a large part of the learning process.
Children that suffer any mental disability, including Autism, can tailor-build the way they want to learn, and the way that they best understand by using the game. It gives them a practical understanding of the world around them, and can also help them feel a lot more integrated.
Minecraft does not require any skills to start with – they are built up as you play. In real life, not having certain skills can often pose a problem to children who have special needs in education, as they will find themselves unable to join in in certain activities or frustrated when there is something they do not understand. Minecraft takes this problem away. In the game, everybody starts off equal and then it is their own personal choices that define how the game plays out. Having an equal ground can go a long way in encouraging a child to stay with something and to want to be involved and keep coming back.
It can also help children who struggle in social situations – they are in their own world and they can go at whatever pace they choose, but they can also opt to have other people join their world and work with them on projects without the fear of high-pressure face to face interactions.
Minecraft in Teaching
Minecraft has taken off as an educational tool, with re-releases being made available which are tailored to teachers, including features to help integrate the game seamlessly into a classroom. While parents and teachers may be dubious that a video game can help their child in such a way, research is pushing to try and show all the advantages that can be offered by interacting with a child through one of their interests or hobbies. There are stalls in MineCon – a convention dedicated to all things Minecraft – that are purely dedicated to the teaching side of the game, where people can share ideas and lesson plans and talk about the ways that they have used the games in their lessons. They are able to view the way it has helped push an idea home to a child and how it has encouraged them to understand in a way that is comfortable for them. It can be scary, even for teachers, to bring in a new way of teaching or a new piece of technology, but with a bit of support and information available in various avenues, it could definitely make classes much more interesting for the students and ensure that they are all leaving the classes with an understanding that they might not have necessarily had beforehand.