How Minecraft Can Be Used in Education

You may know that Minecraft is popular with gamers, but did you know it's also becoming trendy in the classroom?

Gamification and video games as a learning tool have been a hot topic of research for the past few years, and while Minecraft was originally designed as just a game, it turns out that the flexible, sandbox nature of the game makes it a perfect tool for teachers of any subject.

What Is Minecraft?

In Minecraft, players can mine and craft 3D building blocks of different materials within a generated world of varying terrain. It's a sandbox game, meaning there is no overall quest or plot — players decide what they want to build and do.

MinecraftEDU

From the beginning, Minecraft was used by creative teachers as a tool in the classroom to bring historical buildings to life, encourage students to work together on group projects within Minecraft, etc.

In 2016, Microsoft released a version of Minecraft specifically for educators called Minecraft: Education Edition or MinecraftEDU for short.

The basic core of the game is the same, but the education version adds extra features. Students can download the game at home without having to pay for their own version of the game, and they can take photos within the game and share them with other students.

Resources

If you're ready to start using Minecraft in the classroom, here are all the resources you need to get you started.

Overviews

New to Minecraft? Here are some introductions and overviews so you can see if it's something you can put to use in your classroom.

Research

Is Minecraft actually an effective tool for teaching? Find out what the experts have discovered.

Tutorials

If you're ready to get started, here are some beginner tutorials for you to learn how to play.

  • MinecraftEDU Wiki: a great place to get started learning about MinecraftEDU, from installation to lesson plans.
  • Minecraft Education Edition Resources: check out these tutorials for complete beginners to get started playing the game, and then put them in action with lesson plans grouped by age.
  • MinecraftEDU Controls (PDF): a basic 1-page instruction sheet on keyboard and mouse controls in MinecraftEDU.

Videos

To see how MinecraftEDU looks in action, watch these video tutorials.

Lesson Plans

Now that you know how to play, here's how you can apply your new skills to teach children in the classroom.

Mods

Tired of the basics — or need something special to bring your lesson to life? With mods, anything is possible.

  • qCraft: a mod that brings the principles of quantum physics to the world of Minecraft.
  • Galacticraft: a mod that allows you to explore the solar system in your own spaceship.
  • Custom NPCs: add custom characters to make your world more interactive.

Blogs

  • The Minecraft Teacher: all about computer teacher Joel Levin's experiences in using Minecraft in the classroom.
  • MinecraftEDU Elfie: this blog is by a secondary school teacher in Victoria who is interested in leveraging technology to engage and educate students.

Forums

  • Minecraft Teachers Google Group: a Google Group dedicated to helping teachers use Minecraft to facilitate learning. A great resource for materials and discussion.

Conclusion

While Minecraft seems like a simple game at first glance, its simplicity makes it ideal for using in countless creative ways to supplement your students' learning. Get started with the tutorials and lesson plans above, and your students will be more immersed in learning than ever.


Further Reading and Resources

We have more guides, tutorials, and infographics related to technology and learning:

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