Carl Manneh, Managing Director of Mojang, announced this morning on twitter that Minecraft will be making its debut as an educational tool. Mojang has signed an agreement with an unnamed company to accomplish this, and has plans to roll it out in Finland, UK and US in that order.
Manneh also expressed interest in getting kids to become school ambassadors, but was later surprised by the amount of volunteers, stating: “I’ll bounce some ideas of how we can do this in a structured manner. Stay tuned.”
While Minecraft’s exact uses in school are as of yet unannounced, an experiment conducted by Joel Levin, a computer teacher at Manhattan’s Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, reported on by ars technica was a huge success.
Levin had students begin out of the game, sitting and listening to him explain the lesson plan. They would then go to work in worlds created by Levin that had specific tasks to accomplish or puzzles to solve. No matter the puzzle, his students always had to work together. Levin had his students experiment with building structures out of limited resources or entering a fragile building without destroying it. Levin’s lessons were a huge hit and he believed that it improved his students behavior. In his interview with ars technica, Levin said:
“From day one, the kids are all playing together in a single world. They must share resources, take turns, work together, and, frankly, be nice to each other. This is usually the first time these kids have had to think about these concepts in a game, but it goes hand in hand with the big picture stuff they are learning in their homerooms. It’s amazing to see how many real world issues get played out in the microcosm of the game. Kids have territorial disputes over where they are building. Kids have said mean things to each other within the game or have been destructive with each other’s creations.”
Despite the occasional argument, Minecraft helped these students improve their team building skills. For younger kids, Minecraft can be used as a base for team activities. Older students would be able to test themselves with Redstone and its logical applications.
I feel that Minecraft has immense potential for the field of education. It can apply to a wide field of individuals and is only limited by one’s creativity. And I mean, come on, you’re playing Minecraft. Here’s hoping that Mojang’s program will take flight swiftly—we will be bringing you more information as it becomes available.