If you are looking to make relevant and real connections while being creative, try using Minecraft. Minecraft can be an incredible addition to the classroom.
Depending on the technology you have access to, how you might set up Minecraft differs. In many classrooms, Minecraft may be a once a week activity when visiting the computer lab. In other situations, Minecraft may be completed as a center on a classroom computer. Only you can decide how it will fit into your classroom.
Before you dismiss putting in the time and effort to use Minecraft in your classroom, remember you don’t have to be the Minecraft expert. You won’t be. I’m certainly not. Let you students be the experts. If the students are teaching you different elements of the game they are using higher level thinking skills. We all know that if you can teach something you really understand the content. Remember, you are the learning expert. You know what information your students are required to learn. So don’t worry if the students know more than you about Minecraft.
As the learning expert, your job is to decide how you use Minecraft in your classroom. By using maps, you can send students to places you are learning about in social studies. You can let students build the setting from a piece of literature. The integration ideas are only limited by your imagination.
If you want more ideas on how you can integrate Minecraft in the classroom, or if you want some research on gaming in education, try reading Teachercraft: How Teachers Learn to Use Minecraft in their Classrooms by Seann Dikkers. (Chapter 10 has lots of resources and ideas.)
Here is a description of the book.
Teacher Craft is about how teachers learn to use new digital media. Teacher learning is central to reform and change across subject areas and age levels, but how much do we really know about how teachers learn to try new lessons in classrooms? Minecraft is currently the game of choice for millions of youth and also for these seventeen teachers who claim it has transformed their classrooms. Its rapid adoption also provides a unique window of opportunity to look inside the recent memory of innovative teachers and unpack how they learned. Why did they pick Minecraft? More importantly, how did they pick Minecraft? Where did they hear about it? Who do they trust for ideas? How do they test new ideas? Can we begin to identify the trajectories of truly innovative teachers? It turns out, we can – and it may not be what you’d expect.
Seann Dikkers presented on his ideas on a Gaming in Education YouTube video.
Give it a try. You can do it!