Minecraft's Education Edition is Here and Ready to Kick Learning Up a Notch (BAM!)
We live in a world where technology develops at an incredible pace. From exoskeletons controlled solely by brain power to swarm drones working in unison to complete a single task, it's easy to become fixated on what's next.
Yet, even though we're experiencing a similar revolution in digital entertainment with virtual reality and graphic realism, a game resembling the graphic prowess of the 1985 Dire Straights music video "Money for Nothin" is now the second most popular game of all time. I'm, of course, referring to Minecraft.
But what Minecraft lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in the seemingly unlimited possibilities of it's gameplay. I mean, numerous players have built working smartphones in the game, one that even allows you to make pixilated video calls with real people in the physical world.
It's no question, Minecraft has taken the world by storm. It has enabled well over 100 million registered users (as of early 2014) to build their own worlds, battle other players swords, and destroy hideous creatures. And while some adults watch perplexed as younger generations log hour after hour in this game (an estimated 1 billion hours + by 2013), some are embracing it as a tool to get students excited about learning. In fact, this incredibly engaging game is a mandatory part of the curriculum in both Sweden and Denmark.
With the explosion of Minecraft in classrooms around the world, the game's creators decided to build a new version dedicated to teaching and learning. And it's now available for early access.
This educational version has fewer enemies and new tools for both players and designers. There's a new in-game camera that allows players to document their progress as they build and complete quests. Teachers will also have characters that they can program into the game to play support roles, including guiding and monitoring students during gameplay.
Just think about that for a moment. You can now implant the rules for an assignment as a seamless part of the game's storyline for a more immersive experience. And as exciting as this new development is, the more interesting part of all this is what educators and students will do with it.
The real value of Minecraft isn't the game itself, rather what the game inspires in its players. Now with a focus on education, it should be fascinating to see how it and curriculum are blended together. One thing is for sure, educators and students are only limited by their own imaginations.
How would you use Minecraft | Education Edition?