Minecraft Games As A Learning Tool

by Seelyon

Minecraft and Minecraft games are everywhere these days. With Minecraft captivating an audience in the millions and countless games like Minecraft attracting an equally big audienc

Minecraft and Minecraft games are everywhere these days. With Minecraft captivating an audience in the millions and countless games like Minecraft attracting an equally big audience is there potential for child learning?

As someone who's played Minecraft since its public inception and having watched my younger cousins, children and their friends hooked on Minecraft I thought I would investigate further on the potential. To learn more about what Minecraft is currently doing in the educational space I recommend stopping by MinecraftEdu.com

I'd love to hear players, parents and even teachers opinions on the subject so be sure to participate in the duel below and the comment section further down the page as well.

Images on this page are used for review purposes and are provided by game media departments for the purpose of review and critique.

Do You Think Minecraft (And Games Like It) Can Be Used For Education?

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More Information On Minecraft & Minecraft Games

Minecraft has exploded from a release in 2009 (full release in 2011) to become available on a variety of platforms including PC, consoles and smartphones. The game has players entering a world of Cubes where they can destroy and place blocks to create structures.

While Minecraft is the main discussion on this page I do often refer to "Minecraft games", by this I mean other sandbox games like Minecraft that offer similar sandbox gameplay that I believe also have learning potential, these include:

  • Roblox: A game that lets players design their own virtual worlds and code objects within them, highly popular with a young audience already.
  • Kerbal Space Program: A game where players design space ships with realistic physics to try and reach other planets.
  • BlocksWorld: A Lego style building game for iPad, perfect for learning and creativity in a younger demographic.

Are Minecraft Themes Child Appropriate?

One of the first issues of using Minecraft (and Minecraft games) as a learning tool is the themes within them. Minecraft does feature combat in the survival game mode but does not in the creative mode (which is ideal for the learning process). Even considering the game has combat in it, this only takes place at night as a survival mechanic.

This isn't combat just for the sake of it like in a Call of Duty title and definitely is no where near as graphic, with no blood of any sorts and puff of smokes being the general death animation for the monsters in the game. 

It's also important to be aware that Minecraft does have multiplayer functionality, as such these interactions cannot be protected. As an official learning tool though Minecraft could be limited to single player or school based multiplayer servers where only children within the same school would be able to connect through the school's current computer network.


The Educational Elements To Minecraft

So where do the educational elements of Minecraft start to show themselves? The most obvious is in the creative freedom. Players can build a house from dirt, wood, stone, sand, gold, diamonds and other combination of block types. Don't want to build a house? Build a castle, a boat, a skyscraper and anything else that you can imagine.

With Minecraft's in built electricity system (Redstone) players can also create machines to perform various tasks, which offers great opportunities to learn about circuits. Playing with circuits in Minecraft is both fun and much safer than working with electricity circuits in a real world environment and also much more customisable.

What other learning elements does Minecraft involve?

  • Reading: There are plenty of reading elements and writing in Minecraft.
  • Geography: Players can explore hills, snow, oceans and other environments. With a map system there is also an element of map reading.
  • Geometry: It's easy to build shapes in Minecraft and it's a great way to teach children about shapes.
  • Math: Everything in Minecraft has numbers. From the required number of items in crafting to the size of building a wall math is everywhere.
Updated: 08/30/2019, Seelyon
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