Minecraft, could it be a school?

Thanks to @mgrundel and @PBJellyGames, I was recently the host of a Twitter chat on the #MinecraftEdu hashtag. I wanted to discuss what might happen if educators create a school that uses Minecraft as its main creation tool. I was particularly interested in engaging in conversation about how we understand our current use of Minecraft within Education.

When we play MinecraftEdu we are actively engaged in a great number of important and essential competencies that the chat participants identified:

  • critical thinking
  • design thinking
  • computational thinking
  • non-linear thinking
  • collaborative problem solving
  • creativity
  • game design
  • automation
  • engineering
  • historical research

The chat participants defined what we do in Minecraft for Education that aligns nicely with pedagogy currently taught in schools of education at the graduate level:

  • students as co-creators of learning experiences
  • organic collaboration of teachers and students
  • students demonstrate what they’ve learned in a personally meaningful manner
  • teachers learn from students
  • students push at the edges of teacher expectations and create an expansion of a lesson or unit

The conversation went further to include more ideas about how Minecraft in Education could be used to draw out other skills, achievements, behaviors, and ‘achievables’ that support the work being done in students meeting benchmarks and standards:

  • multitude of pathways to solve problems
  • multitude of problems that could be created to solve
  • experimental storytelling
  • iterative processes
  • conflict resolution skills and processes
  • students happily returning to their work to expand and grow
  • students writing resources for Minecraft

Interestingly, very few participants had experiences in teacher preparation programs or schools of education that prepared them as educators to face the differentiated classroom. And as classroom curricula become more standardized, meeting the varied needs of all learners in one room has become increasingly more difficult. Therein lies my interest in not only amplifying student voice, choice, and inquiry, but also trying out the idea of MinecraftEdu as the primary creation tool. So far, it is the single piece of software that allows for collaborative work in a range of content areas.

Ending with the big question about how Minecraft can serve as a tool to help us figure out larger social justice issues, we looked at the work being done here: Block by Block. Video games can help us improve real life for real humans. If you are interested in joining me in the push to make a MineSchool, where MinecraftEdu is the main creation tool used by all students for all sorts of interests and inquiries, please contact me. Thank you, @MeenooRami and @PlayCraftLearn, for the opportunity to be a 2018 Global Minecraft Mentor (by the way, it’s 2021, and I’m still a mentor).