Crafting an Education
Using Minecraft in your learning
Abbreviated notes By Heather Martinson
From a talk given 6/28/13
Learning in Minecraft can be faster than traditional methods of education, as children are often far more motivated, get more practice, and feel that what they are learning is useful.
Minecraft is a great hook on which you can hang many different school subjects. Doing schoolwork that relates to Minecraft is automatically more interesting because it's something they're interested in.
Absence of Threat
Age appropriateness: for younger children, the monsters in the game might be scary. You can avoid them by playing in safe mode. In creative mode, the monsters are present but do not attack. They will fight back if provoked.
Children may play with others on servers. Online safety can be increased by playing on private servers, where you know everyone present. If they do play on public servers, you can turn off chat to avoid inappropriate conversations.
Most children will also find themselves watching instructional or entertaining YouTube videos. Some of these may have strong language. You may want to preview the videos yourself or ask that they turn off the sound if it concerns you.
Movement is an important part of any learning experience, but Minecraft is a sedentary activity. Therefore, time on the game should be limited so that they children may participate in a variety of learning experiences. These can relate to Minecraft.
Many parents are worried about their children being addicted to Minecraft. This is a legitimate concern, as many children would literally spend the entire day on the game is it weren't regulated by parents.
Passion vs. Addiction
Helps you feel fulfilled
Willing to work for
Failures are learning experiences
Leaves you with feelings of guilt
Hides the use of
Failures are emotionally challenging
Being There Experiences
One way to encourage movement is to go on field trips that relate to things they experience in Minecraft.
visit historical buildings
visit architectural feats
visit a farm
visit an arboretum
visit a wild animal sanctuary
go on a survival trip
Some ideas of ways to use minecraft in your learning:
(Many of these are ideas collected around on the Internet)
Players can use the Book and Quill within the game to keep a log or to communicate information to other players.
Contribute to minecraftwiki.net - older children may write informational texts in a collaborative, multimedia environment.
Create a scene from a book.
Research an event or battle to recreate on Minecraft.
Write how-to guides for building structures, mining, fighting monsters, and other in-game activities.
Write day-in-the life journal entries about their characters, making up back stories for their characters. Who are they, and how did they end up alone in the Minecraft world?
Read books that relate to the topics explored in MC.
Write reviews of Minecraft updates and mods.
Basic math: For example, they need 3 sugar cane to make one paper, three papers to make one book, and three books bookshelf. How many papers are needed to make a bookshelf? What about two bookshelves? Notice that they may end up doing this math without you even giving an assignment!
Geometry concepts: dot, line, plane, cube, length, area, volume, 1d, 2d, 3d
Experiment with simple machines like levers, doors and buttons.
Redstone circuitry provides an interactive environment to build basic logic circuits. Children may combine them for more sophisticated purposes. Mistakes don't hurt anyone or destroy expensive electrical components and players are actually learning the basics of digital circuitry!
Certain game add-ons provide basic programming opportunities.
Using Redstone circuits, children can experiment with note blocks and learn about notes, octaves and chords as they make their own songs.
biomes and what lives/grown in them - habitats
geology and mineralogy
weather and seasons
Make a gallery of fine art
Architecture - make famous buildings
build things with ABC blocks