What is Minecraft: Education Edition?
According to their own website it’s “A game-based learning platform with standards-aligned content across K12 subjects and special features designed for classroom use. Minecraft is already supporting thousands of educators in over 100 countries.”
Minecraft states that “through project-based lessons, students build critical 21st century skills like collaboration, creative problem solving and digital citizenship”.
Looking at Minecraft from a structuralist approach, we can analyse parts of the “Education Edition”, and further discover why it is becoming the most used game in schools across the world.
After the games success and popularity in schools, Minecraft developed the education edition specifically including education lessons on a whole range of topics.
Categorised as a virtual world game, Minecraft is a game about placing blocks in a grid-style matrix (Mojang, 2015), where players are required to gather objects to create environments at will. Minecraft is a game that was created and published by Mojang. Minecraft is void of any traditional video game goals (e.g. accumulate points and complete the level) for the players to achieve, as it places a great amount of responsibility on its player to create their own personal goals (Marklund et al., 2013). Minecraft Edu is a school-ready remix of the original smash hit game Minecraft, played by over 30 million people worldwide (Creativeme.co, 2015). It contains many additions to the original game that make it more useful and appropriate in a school setting.
In “Investigating the role of Minecraft in educational learning environments. Educational Media International” is a research report by Noelene Callaghan, which Minecraft Edu was examined to see if it could be used to contribute to the teaching and learning of secondary students via a multiple case research study.
These are the results from this study:
It was found in this study that Minecraft Edu contributed to the enhancement of classroom learning. Collectively the factors of the students experience with the game, the capacity to collaborate as well as the role of the teacher contributed to a learning environment where students can be more engaged and more committed to their own learning whilst attaining learning outcomes. This permitted an observation of learning and contribution levels in two groups of students which led to the development of students’ cognitive capabilities in their application Minecraft Edu. This suggests that edugames such as Minecraft Edu may accommodate the varying learning abilities of students and may encourage teachers to use these technologies without apprehension. (Callaghan, 2016).
Callaghan, N. (2016). Investigating the role of Minecraft in educational learning environments. Educational Media International, 53(4), 244–260. doi:10.1080/09523987.2016.1254877
Karsenti, T., Bugmann, J, and Gros, P. P. (2017) Transforming Education with Minecraft? Results of an exploratory study conducted with 118 elementary-school students. Montréal : CRIFPE