Minecraft. A useless video game that does nothing more than distract you and create an excuse for not doing your homework. Or is it? A recent Minecraft Mod, a program that alters the normal Minecraft world, has been released called MinecraftEdu which is specifically designed to help teach children important subjects and concepts, and many schools across the globe have already begun inserting this tool into their classes. Not only is the game a fun, inexpensive, and creative tool that keeps children interested, but certain aspects of it can be used to teach multiple subjects. First of all, let me explain the basic layout of Minecraft. As you begin the game, you can choose between two settings, creative or survival. In survival you start the game in unfamiliar terrain with nothing to survive on. As you play the game you have to gather resources and battle creatures in order to survive. In creative, you are given infinite resources to create whatever your imagination can think of.
Many of the simple objects and occurrences found in this game can be used as educational tools. The creative setting can easily be used to teach art, and also architecture as the students are forced to find somewhat unconventional ways to build their creations. Blocks in inecraft also react similarly to actual objects in real life. Watching sand or gravel fall teaches Physics, and calculating the time it takes for that object to fall teaches gravity and math skills. The student can also build creations using “redstone” which can be configured an infinite number of ways in order to power specific objects, which teaches engineering. For elementary age students, you could teach probability by counting how many of each animal spawns within a certain time frame. Other important skills can also be learned through Minecraft. Children can play in multi-player servers with other children in their class and use teamwork to create incredible things. Students can also build social and communication skills by using signs to talk to one another and plan out ideas. So as you can see, Minecraft, which started as just a game for bored children to play instead of doing their homework, has quickly turned into a vast educational tool that keeps children focused and interested as well as providing infinite learning possibilities.