¿Hablas Minecraft? How Glen Irvin Teaches Spanish Through Minecraft
Here’s a story about digital learning that’ll get those creative juices flowing. Glen Irvin, a Spanish Teacher and Tech Integrationist in Wabasha, Minnesota and our 2016 Educator of the Year, uses a combination of Minecraft and Schoology to help students learn to speak a new language.
You heard that right. Minecraft, the wildly popular video game used to build elaborate structures in fantastical 3D landscapes, can also be used to build vocabulary.
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With more than 100 million copies sold worldwide, Minecraft has captured the attention of a generation of kids. And teachers, such as Glen, have begun to see its educational potential, so much so that Minecraft released a new version meant for the classroom.
“I feel it's my duty to find ways to engage all of my students and to tailor the content of my classes to fit their unique ways of learning,” he says.
Glen embeds instructions and materials students need for Spanish-language assignments within the game. He also combines the core principles of Minecraft, the creative capabilities, and the structural physics with his lessons.
For example, he challenged his students to work in groups to create a rollercoaster that takes passengers on a tour of el cuerpo (the human body). Armed with a list of required vocabulary terms, the class created each body part in the game, learning the words for each part in Spanish.
After each group built their ‘anatomy parks,’ the entire class used Schoology to ‘ride’ the roller coasters via embedded video and vote on their favorites, like in the video above.
Game Like Glen
In an effort to inspire and support his peers, Glen has graciously made these resources available:
- A detailed look at how he uses Minecraft and Schoology together
- A video about his Minecraft journey
- All of his Minecraft lesson plans
Enjoy and make sure to send Glen your thanks by either commenting on this blog or reaching out to him via Twitter (@irvspanish)