Key Points at a Glance:
- Video games, in general, are found to be good for brain development.
- Minecraft is used to encourage students to take up STEM.
- Minecraft helps introduce children to different subjects or cross-curricular learning.
Minecraft, a popular video game for kids and adults alike because of its similarity to LEGO, has been around for quite some time now (it was first released in 2009).
Over the years, educators have observed how Minecraft benefits children’s education. Read on to know these benefits and how this game is used to educate children.
Video Games, According to Research
When it comes to the impact of video games on children, parents are divided. One side is saying that these are good for children’s development, while the other side is more skeptical. Others see it as a negative influence on their children’s behavior and development.
According to a study, video games are good for one’s brain development, such as in retaining one’s attention and increasing the size and ability of some parts of the brain.
In fact, gamers have shown development when it comes to their visuospatial skills, or the ability to identify visual and spatial relationships between objects.
However, if not used in moderation, video games can also have negative effects, such as game addiction.
Now, imagine using games such as Minecraft for a positive purpose, such as education.
Minecraft in Education
In 2015, Minecraft Education was born with the goal of using world-building to teach a range of subjects, from mathematics and science to poetry and religion.
According to Minecraft Education, this edition of the game helps students by preparing them for their future. The game helps students develop their skills in problem solving, creativity, and systems thinking. All of these are crucial in whatever field and career one wants to pursue.
Aside from those, Minecraft is also used to:
- Encourage more students to get into STEM
- Teach leadership and encourage cross-curricular learning through creative learning
Subjects on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) may sound intimidating to many students. However, there’s also an increasing demand for innovative individuals in the technology sector, and Minecraft becomes a good way to entice students to get into STEM.
Schools all over the world have made use of Minecraft to make STEM and other subjects more fun and interactive for kids. Many teachers use the game to guide their students to come up with solutions to problems, such as designing and building a bridge that would connect two places over a large body of water.
These challenges blend the concepts from engineering, mathematics, and science through critical thinking and design. Students playing Minecraft learn to experiment with different designs and work with different materials.
In addition, the game can be accessed online and offline, allowing young students to do their schoolwork even without an internet connection.
Teaching Leadership and Encouraging Cross-Curricular Learning
A school in India, the Sat Paul Mittal School, also uses Minecraft Education to instill cross-curricular learning and leadership among its students. The school uses the game in all phases of a lesson, from introducing ideas, summarizing contents, evaluating students through activities, and so on.
A lesson, for example, can include different topics in one, such as volume and symmetry (which are math-related concepts), and the respiratory system (a topic studied in biology).
In another case, a cyber-security lesson was introduced by studying simple machines. In 2019, the school also organized a festival to encourage innovation, where students presented the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Minecraft.
There are more benefits to playing Minecraft than the ones discussed above, and as more schools make use of it, we are sure to witness more positive results in children playing the game.
Joshi, Monica. (n.d.). Minecraft: Education Edition at India’s Sat Paul Mittal School.
Kelion, Leo. (2016, January 19). Minecraft to launch education edition. BBC. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-35341528
Microsoft. (2020, May 15). How Minecraft resources help primary students in Northern Ireland engage in 21st-century learning. https://customers.microsoft.com/en-au/story/813449-ccea-minecraft-education-northern-ireland-en
Mojang. (n.d.). Powering up STEM with Minecraft. https://education.minecraft.net/content/minecraft-edu/language-masters/en-us/blog/powering-up-stem-with-minecraft.html
Nichols, Hannah. (2017, July 10). How video games affect the brain. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318345