Minecraft Education Edition: Surprise pupils to combat prejudice about the game

Minecraft Education

Approach the door of a school at the time of departure and ask for Minecraft. Surely many of the students answer will look at you with bright eyes to confirm you that yes, they know the game. And they use it in class.

From November 1 and have available the final version of Minecraft Education Edition. After a summer period in beta, so you can use in class. We talked with two regular teachers Minecraft in the classroom to better understand what, how and why learning with Minecraft in class, as well as contributions from the educational version and the process involved in deciding to include it in the educational process with parents, students and other educational community very attentive.

Minecraft Education Edition

Even before Microsoft was done with him in 2014, the Minecraft phenomenon soon to leap – natural – to the classroom. Ease of use, attractive among students and amazing creative possibilities were used by a version called MinecraftEDU.

This version was created in 2011 by two teachers and a programmer. In 2016 it is expected that more than 15% of students in countries such as Australia resort to Minecraft in their educational process.

MinecraftEDU adapts the open Minecraft world to a safe environment, with easier management yet controlled, ready scenarios for specific activities and adapted for use in class.

From November 1 can be used in class Education Edition Minecraft licensed $5 per student, lasting for one year

Therefore logical that earlier this year also confirmed that Microsoft, very focused in education, moved tab regard. The giant behind Windows acquired MinecraftEDU to move to integrate it into its ecosystem under the name of Minecraft Education Edition.

Since yesterday this version is now available in more than 10 languages. You can play on computers with Windows 10 and OSX Captain by individual licenses priced at $ 5 per student per year.

Minecraft Education
Image Source: Google Image

More control in exchange for some limitations

The educational version of Minecraft, without losing most associated with creativity and freedom value, adds more control by the teacher, and education focused on certain blocks. However, it’s not like Vanilla, as noted Sergio Cabezas, one of the most involved in the use of Minecraft classroom teachers.

“In the full version of Minecraft I miss being able to modify everything. The Vanilla version that is good about is that everything is changeable and with programs like World Painter or mcedit can vary all or introduce models previously made a three-dimensional modeling”

Despite this subsection, who used the full version in class will not hesitate to move to the exclusive education. His contributions in order to improve classroom use are numerous, and have convinced teachers and Leticia, elementary school teacher and usual game created by Mojand in class:

“The educational version offers many specific functionalities for teachers: huge blackboards in which to write, customizable characters that will display information blocks that control the space where players play …”

When you think of highest level projects in Minecraft, Leticia also makes us notice that expected next advances related to the inclusion of programming blocks to automate actions and to customize the game even more.

The educational version of Minecraft offers much specific functionality for teachers: huge blackboards in which to write, customizable characters you easily display information or to create local games

Something special and well thought out by MinecraftEDU was the subject of servers. For now Minecraft Education Edition has no plans to offer these services and will focus on providing local items that can configure the teachers themselves, and where students will be clearly identified on his own in Office365.

Collaborative items in a particular world will contribute up to 30 students. Along with the ability to save concrete progress, internal chat between students and teachers, real – time location of students in the worlds, the function to take screenshots by students as part of their portfolio of work for later evaluation or the role of an NPC (Non-Player Character) as a guide, are some of the peculiarities of the open worlds of Minecraft Education.

One of the attractions of the educational version of Minecraft is on annual leave. They are five dollars per student. In some centers, the price of these licenses is borne by them, since there are discounts for global purchasing. But if a student already has its own in Minecraft, you can use it in class without problem.

Why Minecraft in class?

Already used in the classroom MinecraftEDU version, so when earlier this summer, after a hiatus of several months following the acquisition, Microsoft opened a global beta to use which would be future Minecraft Education Edition, Sergio Garcia Cabezas not had to think a lot.

Sergio is Ed.D., director of Possible Lab and professor at the Higher School of University Studies La Salle. He currently heads the title of University expert in learning technologies and knowledge and teaches educational technology to future teachers of kindergarten and primary. But above all he is a convinced and practicing Minecraft in the classroom, as recently demonstrated in SIMO Education.

“I always thought that the game is the way children learn more effectively. It’s something intuitive, natural and above all, fun. Minecraft is all that and above gives the teacher a chance the be open game in which raw creativity player.”

But above we are talking about a game that students know and like a lot, which multiplies the motivation and interest around it.

Leticia Ahumada, music teacher in primary education, also shows her excitement when talking to Minecraft in the classroom. While Sergio emphasizes how open the game and promoting creativity as something to highlight when choosing Minecraft and no other game in the classroom, Leticia goes straight to the most practical.

“For me, the greatest value of Minecraft over other games is that his learning curve is very short, i.e. it does not take long to learn to play. With this in mind, teachers and children who have never played Minecraft can learn in an afternoon and start using it in the classroom with educational activities in the same week as you start using the program in the classroom”

Minecraft allows full control of what you want to do and serves as the ultimate vehicle for project-based learning

That curve almost nonexistent learning allows teachers do not have to spend many hours a management educational tool and to use these hours to really educationally valuable activities. On the side of students, whether already played at home or not, the start of activities need not be delayed to teach how that particular educational resource works.

The student does not buy it, strip prejudices community

“Normally they flipan. They do not believe it. But then they see it clearly. Children are much more open-minded than their teachers”

That answer Sergio when we chatted with him about the usual reaction to the use of Minecraft in the educational environment by the whole community is the most repeated.

For smaller the surprise comes from the fact that from the school, as Leticia tells us, are allowed to work with a game that is part of their reality outside of school.

“They perceive these activities as a reward and a treasure that must retain, appreciate the opportunity that has been given to do something different with Minecraft. Teachers can explain the subject as we’ve been doing life, but chose to do it with Minecraft, and that they know and it is unusual to find a student that you sabotaged a class with Minecraft”

Minecraft to use in the classroom there is a real confrontation between wonder and excitement in equal parts of students, and the rest surprise and prejudices around the concept of game

Especially hard it seems to Sergio reception, generally within the faculty and departments.

“Poor overall. The whole society is full of prejudice against video games, the school would not be less. Whenever I have to be doing education about the benefits of playing in the classroom”

Luckily it is not always. If the center, the direction, the cloister and the community is on its way to reform teaching methods, as happened to Leticia, Minecraft is an ally and not a headache for the companions.

“In my case the response was very encouraging, because from the cloister and the direction we were proposing a reform in teaching methods, and opted for Minecraft to be a very close student tool with which we hoped to reach students and bridging the digital divide teacher-student”

Monitoring in the workplace Leticia has been carried out by teachers has been intense.

“All the cloister was very aware of the results, and in the process some went to the classroom to see it. But use Minecraft in the classroom is a big change for some teachers and all agreed it should be done gradually.”

The work with parents, too complex, is more positive results in the case of Sergio. Not without a great effort by the teacher who wants and is convinced of the benefits of using Minecraft in the classroom.

“You have to do a lot of teaching. They do not think that will work. But it is a question of self confidence and convince them. It is easy to understand that this is good for their children”

The moment of empowerment for students, which not only breaks the technology gap teacher-student, but also family-student gap makes it worthwhile to use Minecraft in the classroom

Leticia confession regarding the exchange of experiences with parents, where the early reactions are most diverse. But very rewarding end, especially seeing the collaboration of the students themselves.

“There are children that ask you to take projects home to show them to their parents and parents who ask you to go to class to see what your child. And then, where you see a child explaining to his father or mother what he is doing, and the incredulous eyes of his father or mother not to repeat “I do not know how you do it, I could not do it,” that moment of empowerment for students, in which not only the technology gap is broken teacher-student, but also family-student gap makes it worthwhile to use Minecraft in the classroom and break the dogma that Minecraft is “that game to my child spends playing all afternoon killing monsters”

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Making sense of Minecraft in the classroom

After the surprise of the community, positive by students and usually more negative in the rest, it’s time to plan and take advantage of Minecraft in the classroom. And not everything. A touchy subject and should take care of is the integration within the teaching-learning process and maintaining interest over time.

“No decreases neither the interest nor the motivation. However, I recommend that you do not always use. It’s like always use a whiteboard or a type of book. Methods have to change “

Minecraft no longer a game, and if we take that part to make it a creator of activities, students will get tired of the game and lose its value

Leticia shares this view that Minecraft in the classroom because it itself has no sense and we would go to absolute failure. And the loss of attractiveness for students.

“Overall, I think it is important to create projects with a projection medium to long term and short activities that can be done in an hour, thus always keeps the attention and motivation of students. If an activity is too long, students lose interest and go back to get it is very complicated”

Leticia another pillar of the role of Minecraft in the classroom is that it is a game. And it’s part of its appeal.

“It is important to allow time for test, explore, build and destroy. Minecraft no longer a game, and if we take that part to make it a creator of activities, students will get tired of the game and lose its value”

The challenge of Minecraft Teacher Education

The use of Minecraft in the classroom means start of a path of evolution in the classroom. It involves especially teachers.

After initial denials or doubts, share good experiences in lectures, meetings of teachers, class blogs or just Twitter, has an effect. Growing interest in knowing how to efficiently use Minecraft in the classroom.

“From my company we are giving training to cabbages that are interested in the topic”

A quality that Sergio is among the teachers who show interest in using Minecraft in the classroom is an open mind. Do not be afraid to try something new and especially rid of prejudices.

“They have to be aware that learning the game is effective and, despite the myths about video games, in the end the experience of teaching and learning will be great”

“In my case I focus activities and challenges that students must solve. From this perspective, my role in the classroom becomes a guide and observer of the learning process. I walk around the room, I see what you’re doing, I answer your questions, I comment aloud, I throw questions to the air for me to respond, encouraging them to state their ideas to the group so that everyone knows what they are doing … “

The open world and creative freedom that Minecraft in education is an ideal scenario for teaching based on the project method and everything that has to do with teamwork.

“The project-based methodology, without textbooks, is best combined with Minecraft. Also the collaborative methodology”

Sergio gives a clue, very interesting in Minecraft: the teacher should not be afraid to play. Although agrees that its main role should be to guide the experience, he insists a lot to not miss the incredible experience of playing with their own students.

Common in the use of Minecraft in the classroom affects both students and teachers as Leticia. Regarding the qualities to be a teacher to use Minecraft:

“For me there are two qualities that are key to working with Minecraft in the classroom: patience and curiosity. Patience because being a video game situations that you need to get over to move forward, for example if a day internet not working as expected may occur. On the other hand, curiosity you must be born teacher and extend students”

Although the educational version of Minecraft is greatly enhanced by tutorials, worlds created by other teachers and ready to use in the classroom or complete tutorials, Leticia sides with the professor and his curiosity much of the success of the experience with Minecraft in classroom.

“Minecraft is a game with endless possibilities, and if the teacher has the curious can discover educationally get a great game. And this curiosity spread their students, they will achieve great autonomy in the game and be able to create their own educational content”

When problems arise it is time to pull resources and see to what extent the teacher has to save resources. Leticia raised the use of Minecraft between students of 4 and 5 years knowing that the learning period would be longer and risks. And their expectations were met.

“As I told before that his learning curve management game would be longer, so we spent a first week to learn. But later, when I began to pose little challenges I found that most children start soon tired the next day and did not want to do”

By observing the work of his students, Leticia understood why the rejection: “at that age, still have not fully developed fine skills needed to use the mouse and computer keyboard while” Or not enough to not feel quickly frustrated in handling Minecraft.

With a touch maker very interesting, Leticia managed to overcome the challenge and make a double learning.

“We put aside the challenges focused on building and we are dedicated to explore the world. And while I was looking for a way to adapt the keyboard for them”

The effect of using Minecraft in the classroom does not stay in the four walls of the center. Not even close . Leticia students return to class the next day wanting to show their progress made at home.

“Many students, after using Minecraft at school, go home, and return to class the next day telling who have developed a similar challenge done in class or a complementary activity … Learning is not left alone in the classroom, out of it and goes to their homes”

Changing the method and class, the assessment is as follows. This change does not come exclusively from the classical side, as noted Sergio, but affects students. If we want to have a collaborative evaluation, Minecraft, by the knowledge that they have the game and their extra motivation, it is a good starting point.

“It makes sense that if we are stimulating teaching where what matters is the learning process, then evaluate with a type test examination. We have to evaluate that process, the skills acquired and experience. And a tip … Why not also imply to pupils in that assessment?”

As in more traditional class settings, evaluation depends on the type of activities that you develop. For Leticia there is so much change in the evaluation if you already use methods that do not focus on display in a paper memorized knowledge through a final test.

“In Minecraft this test may be the end of the project, solving a challenge … like everything you do in the world is reflected and saved, the teacher can evaluate them any aspect without them having the need to fill out a paper with your name and answer questions”

With this new level in the educational process, it is easy to learn from mistakes and learn in more depth details where they do their best. And do not set limits, especially in an environment like Minecraft where almost everything is freedom and creativity.

“Never put limits on the imagination of kids. Never tell them that you cannot do.”