Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Minecraft Edu

I have heard about Minecraft Edu, followed the tweets, blogs and general buzz around the use of Minecraft Edu in the classroom. But, I am not much of a gamer and whilst I'd seen my 10 year old play Minecraft wasn't really sure what it was all about. At the recent MIE Expert Hui in Auckland, NZ - Minecraft Edu was again raved about. After avoiding it due to to a lack of understanding and confidence, I thought, 'lets give it a go!'.

Well,  I was blown away with the students and Minecraft Edu.

First up, I spoke to some MIE's last term about using Minecraft. I asked my Year 10 Social Studies class if they would like to use Minecraft Edu, "Yes" was the general consensus. Right, next step, off to IT - how do I do this? They made it super easy, loaded it onto our class devices and stayed with me for the entire period! Did I mention I know nothing about Minecraft or Minecraft Edu!  But it reinforced for me the idea that if we as teachers stay away from what we don't know, we could deprive the students of some cool learning experiences. 

I gave the students a lesson to play - just play. This was so that I could see the level of expertise in the class, and M from IT and I could see how it worked.
Students were all engaged and talking about what they were doing. They were soon creating and several were exploring the Science elements. I was asked if they could work on it at home, or stay in at lunch. Students that preferred to work on their own were now collaborating. 
They are using Minecraft Edu to share their understanding of Sustainability. I will share how we go in a couple of weeks time in another blog post.
The Minecraft Edu resources are great and I really appreciate the lessons others have uploaded for a place to start. There is a course in the  Microsoft Educators Community

Whilst I don't yet fully understand how to use Minecraft Edu the students are great teachers! and our IT department are brilliant with their support.

p.s the 'Pause' function is brilliant - the most effective way ever to get everyone's attention!!