MinecraftEdu: sandbox-style teaching in the classroom

Developer: TeacherGaming (with the official support of Mojang)

Genre: sandbox, exploration, open-world

Educational purpose:it provides tools to set up an interactive lesson; it has been already used for teaching Math, History, Art, Science, Music and others.

Target audience:grades 6+

H&H taxonomy class: any of them, depending on the content provided to students.

Release date: 2014

Platforms:PC/Mac/Linux

Web: http://minecraftedu.com/about

Minecraft has been one of the most popular games in the recent years, with 16 million copies sold, just considering the PC version. The game is set in a randomly generated world, made of cubic blocks. It is a survival game, where the player is able to collect blocks of various materials (wood, stone and so on). The blocks can be placed to build structures or used to craft tools that can be used to collect more valuable resources (for mining gold, the player must use a pickaxe).

Minecraft can be also played online, and this is one of the main reasons of its success. Everyone is able to set up a server on his own machine and play with his or her own friends.

The company TeacherGaming created an enhanced version of Minecraft, called MinecraftEdu, specifically targeted to classroom teaching. It contains all the features of the original version, and additional management functions, in order to control more precisely what the students are able to build, and how can they interact with the world.

The license includes the access to a huge library of lessons and activities, and they can be used to teach a vast range of subjects. They include Math, History, Art, Programming, Music and more.

Its sandbox and creative gameplay is suitable for a broad range of subjects, including Cultural Heritage: it is possible to set up easily an historical reconstruction of a particular event, with “info blocks” that can provide additional information.

Besides, it can be applied also to the Natural Heritage and Awareness field: a large part of the Minecraft gameplay consists in the farming of plants and cereals, which can be later collected as a source of food. Although the graphics is stylized and simple, the actual interaction with the enviroment can be modeled quite realistically.

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