Microsoft explores how Minecraft can be used in the classroom

Minecraft is a game that introduces an ability to learn, play and educate, all from within it’s colorful blocks. Your imagination is the driving force behind your creations. What Minecraft offers is a truly unadulterated video game playground for both young and old. From the recreation of famous landmarks to the integration of fully functioning computers, within your game world. Minecraft sets no limits on what you can dream up.
With the abilities Minecraft offers to its users with coding, collaboration, creativity, and out-of-box thinking, educators have become increasingly interested in implementing this game into their curriculum. One such person is Aaron Mauer, Instructional Coach for Bettendorf Middle School in Iowa. Recently he had the opportunity to guest post on Microsoft’s education blog and had this to say:

We teachers hear so much about Minecraft, yet so many of us really have no grasp of the power of the game to enhance our classrooms. Minecraft at its very core can do so much to help students build the all-important 21st century skills.

For his post, Aaron Mauer broke down his ideas for using Minecraft in the classroom. One example was mixing math with Minecraft to help students in learning. Utilizing measurements like perimeter, area and volume can help students in building objects within the game, but also help build their mathematical skills and understanding.
To establish this idea of using Minecraft as a tool for learning, the classroom environment must be one geared towards a culture of learning. In order to achieve success with such a curriculum, the five C’s, as Aaron points out, must be in place. Critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, Common Core and communication are necessary in order for a game like Minecraft to work within the classroom. With an entire classroom working together as a team, the true value of Minecraft and its abilities to create can be realized.
Minecraft in the Classroom
When Microsoft purchased Minecraft, they had a vision of using its mass appeal to spur young kids and adults into fields like coding and video game design. To help drive home this idea, Aaron Mauer has helped create a crowd sourced OneNote notebook on using Minecraft in the classroom and its benefits. He also writes in his own Minecraft blog, Coffee for the Brain, about his experience using Minecraft within his curriculum and the possibilities for widespread use. With educators like Aaron Mauer pushing for an education agenda, more in line with critical thinking and creativity, we may very soon see Minecraft games across more classrooms.