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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Using Minecraft in the classroom.

Using Minecraft in the classroom.

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I'm teaching Junior (Year 7) Geography for the first time in a number of years this year, and I'm looking for a way to liven up the teaching - make it  more student-centered and allow opportunities for creative approaches. One of the topics that we look at is different biomes and ecosystems, and I was thinking that it would be fun to get students to create virtual models of a particular environment in Minecraft, and then act as virtual 'tour guides' showing everyone else around their model.

I've seen Minecraft in action, and I've heard lots about its benefits in the classroom, but I've never actually used it. I work in a 1:1 iPad school, so access to the technology shouldn't be an issue. I was hoping that the collective wisdom of the Edutopia community might have some advice on how to proceed. What kinds of things should I look out for? What kind of ground rules would be valuable? How much freedom should I allow?

Thanks in advance.

If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here's a link to the Minecraft wiki: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Minecraft_in_education

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Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

Keith, my experience with Minecraft, particularly the Educational version, is computer based, not tablet. That said, my sense is that you probably already have the skill sets needed in house (your kids) to run a simple private server. From there, the sky is literally the limit. Do you know how many of your kids have purchased Minecraft? That could be one important constraint right off the bat...

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Kevin,
Thanks for the reply. All good with the private server, and we're all good with kids having a version of Minecraft. I was hoping for more pedagogical ideas about employing it - I think I've got the technology side of things covered.

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