Your kids could be doing Minecraft for homework soon

4 min read
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Minecraft education edition 2

Educational Minecraft has officially launched in South Africa. While at its core it is the same general experience, Minecraft for education does offer some unique advantages, but I find it most intriguing the myriad ways it could be applied in schools. I’ve already written before about the benefits of gaming, and integrating gaming into schools can actually make education more interesting for kids, while also helping to prepare them better for the modern world they will be entering when they leave school behind.

Minecraft: Education Edition can be played pretty much like normal Minecraft. However, there are some key differences (other than the fact it is only available for purchase to educators) that differentiate it, mainly around security. It’s much easier for schools and teachers to set up local networks for their students, allowing them to play with each other without needing servers or playing with strangers. Teachers can also set limits for the size of the world, or simply pen in students, pick them up and place them in particular areas as needed. Most importantly for educators, the education edition allows users to take pictures in games, create a portfolio and then export that portfolio; this means that teachers could ask students to take pictures of their Minecraft work, and then view those images without needing the game on their device.

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I keep thinking about subjects that could have benefitted from this in school. World War 1 is often taught in such a way that it’s just a series of boring battles and trench foot. But imagine playing Valiant Hearts as part of your education, and then building trenches in Minecraft and needing to show off your work with trenches, flags showing the different camps, and even automated machine guns? That’s what’s possible now, and makes subjects come to life in new ways, encouraging students to ask questions they might not have otherwise. At the launch event, the speaker even showed off a project students made that used Minecraft to show how blood could move to kidneys, prompting the movement of water that would fill up a bladder – all in Minecraft.

The latest research about the job market shows that creativity is paramount to success. But how do you teach creativity in schools? How do you foster creativity when you have a set curriculum to teach? Well, it seems that Minecraft: Education Edition might just become a part of that in some schools. I just wish watching and playing that game didn’t make me so nauseous – despite all my work to overcome simulator sickness, I still just can’t handle Minecraft.

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Last Updated: March 7, 2017

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Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    After looking at the header I’m just amused that Zoe turned D into a red-headed girl.

  • Original Heretic

    The sad truth about schools these days is that most of them just end up stifling creativity. Marks are more important than learning.
    It seems that most countries are determined to create a generation that won’t question, but just blindly follow.
    And if that is indeed the case, my lad is going to be a little hellraiser at school.

  • HairyEwok

    If Minecraft Education will be used on young kids (2-6 years), then we can expect to hear from parents how kids are hurting themselves hitting the ground, rocks and trees.

    Do they still even teach WW1 and WW2 in school, last I heard removed it and replaced it with learning the apartheid era.

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