Games are an amazing way of educating yourself and boosting creativity. Exactly is true for the renowned Minecraft game, and that’s why a Swedish school has made Minecraft a compulsory addition to the curriculum for 13-year old students. The school has also made it must for teachers, hoping that this computer game will encourage the children to develop their thinking skills.
“It’s their world and they enjoy it,” said Monica Ekman, a teacher at the Viktor Rydberg school. “They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future. The boys knew a lot about it before we even started, but the girls were happy to create and build something too – it’s not any different from arts or woodcraft. The students themselves are enjoying the unconventional teaching method,” she added.
Released in late 2011, Minecraft has proven to be extremely popular with over 40 million registered players, and demands that players find creative solutions to construction problems. A similar project has surfaced up for Minecraft-based education, named as MinecraftEdu, which is the collaboration of a small team of educators and programmers from the U.S. and Finland. The group is working with Mojang AB, the creators of Minecraft, to make the game affordable and accessible to schools everywhere.
“Minecraft is an amazingly simple way to teach very basic spacial reasoning as well as community-centric thinking,” says SiliconANGLE contributor and editor Kyt Dotson. “It may be a game, but it also produces a creative ‘sandbox’ space that can be molded by virtual hands to create almost anything; but at the same time with multiple participants it requires a level of cooperation for any project.
“On YouTube, magnificent structures and projects have been displayed that took many man-hours and from three to fifteen participants. It’s a virtual Play-Doh combined with construction paper and crayons that works as a brilliant tool of education could teach not just how to use computers to collaborate but also introduce the next generation to virtual worlds.”