Minecraft’s annual convention — Minecon — culminated earlier this week in Paris, France, where Minecraft lovers around the globe gathered to share ideas and adoration for the immensely popular open-world game. Among the many topics discussed, the educational value of Minecraft was again brought into focus, offering some interesting new insights into ways teachers are using the game as a tool for learning.
Teacher-directed learning, although in slow reform, has been the heart of our education system since its inception. While teachers have much to impart to their students, it is important to understand the value of student-directed learning as well. “Self-learning,” says Minecon speaker Stephen Reid, “is more important than [simply] listening to what any teacher has to say,” as it emphasizes resilience and the ability to learn organically.
It is unwise to ignore the strong hold that video games have on this generation of students, especially when a game as popular as Minecraft offers such unique opportunities to engage them in fundamental academic concepts like trial-and-error learning and creative freedom — important conceits for young learners to grasp at an early age. Minecraft’s “forgiveness of mistakes,” as Reid puts it, serves a motivator for taking creative risks, helping players exercise critical thinking skills like Flexibility and Planning, simply by learning how to play the game.
To find out more ways Minecraft can be used as a learning tool at home and in the classroom, check out our full Minecraft PlayBook, and be sure to check back for our upcoming in-depth coverage of the game.