You may have noticed, or been told by your excited children, that we have installed MinecraftEdu on a standalone server at school and will be running two Minecraft after-school clubs this term. In doing so we are something of a pioneer and there has been noticeable interest from other schools across Essex who like the idea but haven’t yet, like us, made the move to introduce Minecraft at school.
You may or may not know much about Minecraft, but here are some answers to questions you may have:
What is Minecraft?
In their words:
Minecraft is a game about breaking and placing blocks. At first, people built structures to protect against nocturnal monsters, but as the game grew players worked together to create wonderful, imaginative things.
It can also be about adventuring with friends or watching the sun rise over a blocky ocean. It’s pretty. Brave players battle terrible things in The Nether, which is more scary than pretty. You can also visit a land of mushrooms if it sounds more like your cup of tea.
I’ve highlighted the bits that we’re going to be focusing on. How can we be so focused? Here’s how:
What is MinecraftEdu?
In their words:
MinecraftEdu is the collaboration of a small team of educators and programmers from the United States and Finland. We are working with Mojang AB of Sweden, the creators of Minecraft, to make the game affordable and accessible to schools everywhere. We have also created a suite of tools that make it easy to unlock the power of Minecraft in the classroom.
MinecraftEdu is just like the Minecraft that you may have bought for yourselves or your children, but contains a Custom Mod that allows us as teachers to control and extend whichever aspects of Minecraft we choose. By doing this we can make the playing experience as educational as possible whilst still being loads of fun. So, there’ll be no monsters or killing, but there will be building, problem solving, surviving, team building and much more.
In their words:
Every day, more and more teachers are using the world-building game Minecraft to engage and educate. The game is a true phenomenon and gamers young and old are using it in countless creative ways. Practitioners of Games Based Education have realized the potential and have embraced Minecraft in classrooms around the world.
Minecraft is designed from the ground up to be open-ended and modifiable, allowing it to be tailored for any curriculum. Minecraft can support your goals whether you are teaching to Core Standards, allowing your students to an opportunity for creative expression, or anything in between.
The game is being used to teach more than just computer skills. It easily lends itself to science, technology, engineering and math explorations (STEM). But beyond that, language teachers are strengthening communication skills, civics teachers are exploring how societies function, and history teachers are having their students recreate ancient civilizations. It is not an exaggeration to say that the only limit is imagination!
We are very excited about the introduction of MinecraftEdu to Holy Trinity and can’t wait to get started! There are going to be trial runs with staff and then Team Tabecat next week before after schol clubs start the following week.
Initially we are running two clubs, one for Years 3/4 and one for Years 5/6, each hosting 24 children. Access will be via the same form as the other clubs. We expect them to be over-subscribed. If we can do more in the future (for more children and other year groups) we will, but every extra club offered by the school requires an extra member of staff and an extra room and there are lots of other clubs that need them! We will also be looking at ways to incorporate MinecraftEdu into curriculum in places we feel it will enhance the children’s learning. Some of the children were asking this week if they would be able to access our MinecraftEdu server at home. This is something we are looking into with the intention of making possible, but we want to get it up and running at school first.
Before I sign off I’d like to say thank you to Lewis Taylor, the onsite support technician from our technical partner Joskos. A Minecraft player himself he has done a brilliant job of setting up MinecraftEdu at Holy Trinity, and whilst it would have been possible without his help it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as easy. He will be helping out in some of the MinecraftEdu clubs and is at least as excited about it as the children are!
If you have any questions about the introduction of MinecraftEdu please contact me at school. For more information about MinecraftEdu you can visit the website, and/or watch the YouTube videos below featuring the co-creator of MinecraftEdu explaining a little more about what’s in store.
Computing Teacher/Subject Leader
Note: We cannot control content on YouTube. It is recommended that you watch the above videos via this page rather than going to the YouTube site.