Exploring Minecraft, developing a deeper understanding of the world around us

Each week, Wednesday lunchtime is a hive of activity. A creative buzz fills the air as students play in their virtual playground. An average of 30 students attend weekly, building together, sharing ideas, making new friends, having fun and learning together, much like the real playground! Minecraft club has created opportunities for students to form new social groups irrespective of age and language ability. Listen to what some students think:

The International Baccalaureate (IB) ‘values education more as the transformation of personal understanding and the collaborative construction of meaning…conceptual understanding is a significant and enduring goal for teaching and learning’

Exploring ‘big ideas’, concepts and principles that transcend subject content are essential to developing deeper understandings that learners can use to make sense of the world around them presently and beyond the four walls of the classroom.

As we inquire further into the nature of some of the key concepts that the IB identifies it soon becomes clear of the far reaching potential of the development of conceptual understanding that Minecraft offers.

Here is an overview of some key concepts, identified by the IB, that Minecraft supports to develop understanding:

Aesthetics– understanding creation and critical appreciation of art, culture and nature.

Communication– effective communication requiring a common ‘language’, written, spoken or non verbal.

Communities– groups of people sharing common characteristics, ideas and beliefs.

Creativity– inquiring into different perspectives, exploring new ideas and valuing them to solve problems and challenges.

Culture– exploration of human communities.

Global interaction– connections among individuals and communities.

The following articles make the case for Minecraft being an integral part of our learning landscape that needs to be embraced and encouraged. Furthermore the creation of minecraftedu by teachers for teachers recognises the potential of the platform to engage and educate.

Why Minecraft in the classroom matters Dave Guymon

Passion-Based Learning, Day 1: Probing Minecraft’s Appeal Matt Renwick

Artists like Adam Clarke use Minecraft and traditional art to inspire & engage participation in creative thinking and practice

Our recent Winter Olympics Minecraft project recreated Sochi and a spectrum of winter sporting events, from ice skating sheep to mine cart bobsleigh (see above).

Embracing Minecraft in schools requires balance and structure but as is true with all contemporary digital media, it offers transformational potential for learning which I am sure the 30 students in our Minecraft club and students in schools and organisations around the world would agree.

Developing a deeper understanding of the concept of change possibly requires further investigation if we are truly to redefine the learning experience of today’s learners moving beyond traditional schools and ‘classrooms’.

‘Change is a conversion, transformation or movement from one form, state or value to another. Inquiry into the concept of change involves understanding and evaluating causes, processes and consequences.’ International Baccalaureate.


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