Minecraft can boost student outcomes, research shows

by James Reid09 Jul 2015

Michael Dezuanni, Associate Professor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) believes students should play more of the game, and not just in school. He said his research has shown that Minecraft can improve students’ problem-solving, engagement and creativity.

"I've had the opportunity over the last couple of years to work with a couple of schools using Minecraft in the classroom," Dezuanni told the ABC.

"We've seen some real success with engagement, problem solving students, with design and their creative work. The teachers working with those students have been quite impressed by the way students work with the game as well."

On 30 June, Minecraft made its entrance into education official, launching education.minecraft.net, a website which will act as a resource for schools to make the most of the game’s interactive learning tools.

The move was part of Microsoft’s Minecraft in Education program, a push to introduce the game into more schools and allow students to harness the educational benefits of the game now leading the gamification revolution.
"We've created this space to connect the community of educators and players with people looking to learn more,” Microsoft said in a statement.

“So, what can you do? Share your story. Ask a question. Find a partner to help create your first Minecraft lesson. Tell us what you've learned so far, and help inspire the world to change the way we learn."

Minecraft has now reached 20 million sales on PC and Mac as the game expands not just into homes around the world but also classrooms throughout schools, many of which already use Minecraft to show students the digital side of design, mathematics and science.

At Ormiston College in Brisbane, Year 1 students use Minecraft to build landmarks and then undertake creative writing tasks to discuss their experience.

An article in The Scientific American about the value of gaming in education called Minecraft “immersive and creative”, touting the game as “an excellent platform for making almost any subject area more engaging”.

"It's best to think of it as a sort of digital Lego," Dezuanni said.

"You enter a world and you have to gather blocks which become your resources, you do that by mining, and each of those items is a block. You then craft those mines into various items.

"You actually can't really win Minecraft. You get to share what you've created with others."

Minecraft was originally created by Swedish programmer, Markus “Notch” Persson, who, alongside Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, launched the game in late 2010.

It was later developed and published by gaming studio, Mojang. Last year, Microsoft purchased Minecraft and Mojang for $2.5bn.
 
 

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