Minecraft May Finally Be Coming To US Schools

By Kim Bussing on September 11, 2016

CCSS NCSS-7 Word Search
Photo Credit: Minecraft: Education Edition

Shortly before the school year ended in June, 1,700 American kids got to do what most students can only dream of — play video games in class. No, the 100 educators that allowed this were not slacking off. They were helping Microsoft beta test a new Minecraft Education Edition, which the company plans to offer to schools across the globe within the next few weeks.

While the computer game, which challenges kids to use their imagination by building futuristic virtual worlds, has been offered in Swedish schools since 2013, it has not been widely embraced by educators elsewhere. But project director Deirdre Quarnstrom believes that this new education version, where students get to create their own stories and games, will be a huge success with both student and teachers.

Photo Credit: education.minecraft.net

Of course, the classroom version will have some differences from the traditional game you might play at home. Non-player characters, placed into the game by teachers, will provide guidance and narration, while a chalkboard will allow them to write instructions. A control panel called Classroom Mode will enable educators to grant students access to resources, monitor their location, send messages, and even teleport students to the right place should they wander off or get lost. Teachers unfamiliar with the game can select from numerous pre-created immersive lesson plans that range from exploring the Temple of Artemis to modeling biodiversity loss.

For educators concerned that bringing video games into the classroom might reduce classroom collaboration, there is a multi-player mode. Using this, students can enter other’s games and help their peers solve an issue they may be struggling with or test out new ideas.

Photo Credit: education.minecraft.net

However, while these features add more structure and allow teachers to give specific assignments, students still have complete freedom to use their imagination and creativity to program a game based on their interest, whether it’s a science-fiction movie or their favorite fantasy series. Quarnstrom says Microsoft has kept the game “pure” to ensure kids (aged 5 and above) have an authentic Minecraft experience." The director believes that "a lot of what creates that kind of magical educational experience is the no-rules sandbox environment. Students really feel inspired to keep going and set up their own challenges, which is exactly what educators want to see."

The students and teachers fortunate to be selected for the June beta test seem to agree. 13-year-old Elena Rezac, who built a quest-driven maze inspired by the science fiction movie,"The Maze Runner,” says that the game is “lots of fun because you can do whatever you want." Her teacher, Steve Isaacs, approves of the game because it encourages students to be inventive. The educator says that the game’s varied choices allow every kid to find an area where he/she can succeed.

Photo Credit: education.minecraft.net

The Minecraft Education Edition that is expected to cost between $1 to $5 a student, will be launched sometime this month. Meanwhile, educators can introduce gaming to their classrooms by signing up for the beta version. While it doesn’t have all the features of the final product, it is a good way how students engage with this popular video game, without paying a dime.

Resources: Fastcompany.com,the verge.com,cnnmoney.com

Listen to the Article: Play Audio

Create MLA, Chicago, or APA Website Citation

Create a website citation for this article. We support MLA8, MLA7, APA, and Chicago citation formats.

VocabularyPlay Game

assignmentsauthenticbiodiversitycollaborationcreativityembracedguidanceimmersiveinspirednarrationpeersslackingteleporttraditionalvariedvirtual
Name:
Date:

Reading Comprehension (7 questions)

  1. Why did some teachers allow kids to play Minecraft in class this June?
  2. Where has Minecraft been offered since 2013?

Critical Thinking Challenge

Should Minecraft be introduced as a mandatory subject or an...

Vocabulary in Context

The educator says that the game’s varied choice allows every kid to find an area where he/she can succeed.

In the above sentence, the word varied, most likely means:

(a) showing...

2351 Comments
to use your custom avatar.
  • madmaxThursday, June 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm
    bro i wish we had mincraft
    • ssssThursday, June 15, 2017 at 10:52 am
      minecraft is fun but it can get boring after a while but i stll like it .
      • Ben SmithTuesday, June 13, 2017 at 7:03 pm
        Go Donald Trump for the big win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • pro at minecrafFriday, June 9, 2017 at 8:58 am
          I love minecraft in srvivol mod
          • javajuiceThursday, June 8, 2017 at 3:52 pm
            minecraft is considered as cringy last year so im not playing minecraft anymore people like danTDM ruined it now its full of kids and people singing bad songs on youtube
            • MinecraftWednesday, June 7, 2017 at 4:45 pm
              I can't buy it on pc
              • HenryWednesday, June 7, 2017 at 4:42 pm
                I like minecraft because it's cool and i joined a world which I'm not ment to
                • ???Friday, June 2, 2017 at 10:55 am
                  #minecraft rules
                  • oman83
                    oman83Friday, June 2, 2017 at 6:48 am
                    minecraft is one of those good games to me i like playing the hunger games but im never the last one alive in hunger games because i kinda suck but its fun im only the best at shovel and egg games
                    • magickingwizard
                      magickingwizardThursday, June 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm
                      i like roblox

                      Recent Comments

                      random person wrote:

                      [what water goes with burger and...
                      Meet Martin Riese — America's Fi...

                      random person wrote:

                      that's just sad:( sometimes jun...
                      Thailand's Famous Macaque "Uncle...

                      random person wrote:

                      I saw one before believe me, y...
                      Chicago Botanic Garden Visitors ...

                      random person wrote:

                      that guy is crazy!!!
                      Running Tap Results In A Spectac...

                      Our Apps and Plugins

                      ALA