How educators can use Minecraft in the classroom

Completed

Now that you've been exposed to Minecraft: Education Edition and why it's a valuable tool in education and in the educator’s toolbox, let’s explore how Minecraft is being used in classrooms today.

Educators can use Minecraft: Education Edition for:

  • Content delivery 
  • Discovery learning and inquiry 
  • Project-based learning
  • Creativity tool for expression and student voice  
  • Formative and summative assessment

Graphic of remote learning with Minecraft showing ways students work in the worlds. Individual worlds, groups of students in the same world, and all students in one world.

Students play Minecraft in different ways – they can play each player in an individual world, you or a student can host multiple players in a single world, or you can host your entire class in a world!

Review

Content delivery with Minecraft: Education Edition 

The Minecraft: Education Edition interactive digital environment allows educators to be as creative as they like when designing learning journeys for students. Educators can supply directions and scaffolding as learners explore worlds.  

Chalkboards and Non-Player Characters can be utilized to display learning objectives, important content, or support on chalkboards for learners in the game.  

The Natural and Artificial Light lesson is an example of how educators can create a tutorial for students to learn and demonstrate understanding of the content.

Screenshot from in-game play showing direction keys and NPCs that can be used in game. Step 1: Watch video Step 2: Talk about light.

Graphic of ways to start using Minecraft in the classroom. Substitute, Augment, Modify, Redefine.

Minecraft helps transform the way you teach. You begin with just substituting something you already teach with a Minecraft element. You can then augment your teaching, modify your teaching, and eventually redefine your teaching by having students create something they wouldn’t be able to with another tool.

Connecting discovery and inquiry-based learning to Minecraft: Education Edition 

Minecraft: Education Edition is a versatile tool for inquiry-based learning environments. For classrooms that are student-centered and inquiry-based, Minecraft: Education Edition offers unlimited possibilities for engaging learners of all ages and abilities.

What makes the experience of Minecraft: Education Edition so well connected to inquiry-based learning is that it's an immersive environment where the only limitation is your imagination. Minecraft: Education Edition offers students the freedom of creating things of their choosing and interacting with them. Students create visual representations of how the learning connects to their learning and experiences.

The Minecraft: Education Edition lesson titled The Unity in Diversity: Cells allows for student ownership of learning within the learning environment.

Screenshot showing a cell built in Minecraft: Education Edition in-game.

Project based learning and Minecraft: Education Edition 

Minecraft: Education Edition fosters a project based learning environments. Educators create learning opportunities where students develop deep content knowledge and critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. Project based learning unleashes a contagious, creative energy among students and educators.

Check out the lesson Detecting Wildlife Crime for project based learning.

Screenshot showing multi-colored shipping containers in Minecraft: Education Edition.

Student voice and Minecraft: Education Edition 

Today’s students are encouraged to develop agency, learning through relevant, meaningful, interest-driven learning. Tools like Minecraft: Education Edition supply a creative outlet for learners to express themselves freely. Educators encourage student voice and ownership of learning.

Students can illustrate their thinking with screen recording walkthroughs of their worlds to share their learning experiences with others.

Both students and educators set learning goals and show how competency will be demonstrated in Minecraft: Education Edition worlds. Together they can use a Minecraft: Education Edition build and use it with other tools to encourage student voice. Students can actually put themselves in the world to express their learning by incorporating a green screen tool!

Students can use Minecraft to report from the International Space Stationcreate a walkthrough of a museum about themselves, and even introduce themselves at the beginning of the school year. Now that Flipgrid, a free video discussion tool for students, is directly embedded into Minecraft, student voice combined with student choice is a snap!

Screenshot showing student using a green screen to record themselves in video with their background showing a pyramid in Minecraft: Education Edition.

Assessment with Minecraft: Education Edition

Minecraft: Education Edition provides an interactive digital environment that allows students to create learning for all to see. Traditionally students demonstrated concepts with models, diagrams, written compositions, or posters.

Today, students can demonstrate learning inside an engaging virtual world, enabling them to use everyday items and share their learning with others. Students can demonstrate learning of key concepts using in-game tools such as the camera, Book and Quill, and portfolio features that allow students to capture their progress and make their learning visible. Consider allowing students to build three-dimensional concepts as formative checkpoints in the learning process or as a summation of learning. Assessments that are ipsative, or individually goal oriented, provide valuable feedback that propels student learning forward while leveraging student agency.

The Mindful Knight  lesson is an example of using the Book and Quill to document learning throughout a lesson.

Screenshot showing Book and Quill in Minecraft: Education Edition.

Watch

Choose one of the videos listed below or watch all three. How are the systems and educators in these videos using Minecraft: Education Edition as a learning tool? 

Watch (4 minutes 18 seconds)

Imagine all the possibilities within your learning environment. Watch the video example, Coral Crafters – How Minecraft Helped the Oceans!

Reflect

  • What are the possibilities with Minecraft: Education Edition for the learners in your system?
  • What connections did you make with content and Minecraft: Education Edition?
  • What are your next steps?

Next step

You are now ready to reflect on your new learning. Move on to the next unit, Reflection.