As parents, you know that Minecraft has been a revolution for your kids. What you may not realize is that Minecraft has created a revolution in educating children as well. Minecraft is a game built on the principles of engineering and coding. At STREM HQ, we utilize MinecraftEDU to capture those principles of engineering and coding to teach to your children. Here at STREM HQ, we're hoping this article helps you to expand the conversation with your child. When they jump into the back seat of your car excited about what we're doing and accomplishing at STREM HQ together, you'll be an expert too!
Minecraft is referred to as an open world or "sandbox". It is a 3D environment that allows its players to spawn, move, and interact in the Minecraft environment. It can be played in four modes: traditional survival, adventure, hardcore, and creative modes.
Traditional Survival: Players can gather, create, and stay alive.
Adventure: Players wander and interact.
Hardcore: Players can stay alive or lose everything.
Creative: Players build together freely, from huts to immense and intricate castles, etc.
MinecraftEDU is run on a local server controlled by a teacher. This allows the teacher to play directly with the class and allows the kids room to explore and interact with the teacher and each other. Classmates can work to independently code and build, or work together on a myriad of projects that would not be accessible to them in the real world.
Minecraft also enables kids to learn to program in the Java Programming Language. Students who want to write their own Mods have to learn the basics of Java in order to do so. Students gain a foundation in computer knowledge and language. For example, Minecraft players begin talking about IP Addresses, Servers and Clients, and Command Line operations.
One researcher in engineering education, Professor Debbie Chachra of Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering states in an article for Quartz, “To me, the remarkable part of students teaching themselves engineering with Minecraft is not what they’re learning, but how. They’re intrinsically motivated to learn—they’re learning because they want to, not because someone or something else is making them. They’re working autonomously but as part of a community, and they are learning as they make more and more challenging structures and devices.”
Cody Sumter of MIT Labs in Wired Magazine points to the coding and computer science potential of Minecraft, "Minecraft is accidentally, but quite stealthily, teaching some of the basics of engineering software to its millions of players. Notch hasn’t just built a game, he’s tricked 40 million people into learning to use a CAD program.”