3 Lesson Plans Using MINECRAFT
This teaching tool page covers two related resources: Minecraft and MinecraftEdu. Minecraft is a stand-alone video game that can be used educationally, but since it was not designed for these purposes there will be some challenges. MinecraftEdu is a custom-built modification of Minecraft that gives teachers and students more robust controls and features for designing and orchestrating learning experiences. It also streamlines the server creation and hosting process. And while MinecraftEdu increases the learning curve slightly, we think it provides a set of tools that teachers will find indispensable. For more informal or home use, the "retail" Minecraft should be sufficient.
Overall, Minecraft is an incredibly rich and deep experience that is just as much a creative platform as a game. It lends itself to all content areas and is perhaps the prime example of the possibilities of game-based learning to teach 21st century skills like problem solving, design thinking, collaboration, and systems thinking in ways that engage, empower, and motivate. It also presents a significant opportunity for educators to fuse curriculum development and learning design with game design, figuring out ways to create game-based experiences in Minecraft that teach students core content or 21st century skills.
MinecraftEdu is a custom modification (better known as a “mod”) that provides a set of unique tools that alters the original game and makes it easier to adapt Minecraft to a variety of learning objectives and classroom contexts. The most compelling features include the ability to easily and quickly create servers (worlds for a class to inhabit), a custom tutorial to acclimate a class to the basics of the game, specialized abilities like teleportation and player muting, and special blocks for embedding informational panels in the world or restricting access to areas or prohibiting destruction of blocks.
Features (borrowed from MinecraftEdu site)
- All special features are accessible through in-game menus... no config files or command lines!
- Write assignments and instructions that are visible to students.
- Students can use their names, pick a gender, and change their skin while playing.
- Password-protected "Teacher Mode" with access to many powerful abilities.
- Run a custom server for each of your classes with just a few clicks.
- Ability to save and load worlds and activites.
- Powerful world-building tools to quickly create your own lessons.
- Custom teacher-only blocks that can give information, create boundaries, or control where students can build.
- Teleport students, give items, and allow flying.
- Ability to mute/unmute and freeze/unfreeze students.
- Change the time, weather and game modes on the fly.
- Includes an expansive Tutorial World to introduce new players to the game.