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Teacher Adapts 'Minecraft' for the Classroom

Minecraft Classroom
The cult hit 'Minecraft' stands out from the current crop of video games as perhaps the most malleable, and its latest adaptation is as a classroom aid. Computer teacher Joel Levin at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School has adapted the game to teach an entire unit to his first and second grade students. Lessons start with Levin explaining the day's goals, but quickly move into the world of 'Minecraft,' in which students must work together and explore the vastness of its open-ended landscape.

Tasks range from building structures with limited resources to exploring areas modeled on real-life landmarks like the Pyramids. The nature of 'Minecraft' allows students an incredible amount of freedom in how to approach the problems of the day. That sense of liberation is what helps keep the students engaged. The simpler games and tools that Levin has previously used didn't have the same power to engage students; the free-form approach of 'Minecraft' means that every adventure into its universe can be a completely unique experience.

Having the students participate in a massively multiplayer game does have its dangers. As Levin told Ars Technica, he has had some students say nasty things to one another, and even destroy the creations of fellow students. But he sees this as an opportunity to teach the students appropriate behavior and social skills for digital environments. Levin documents his experiences at his blog, The Minecraft Teacher, a must-read for educators wondering how the game could be applied to their own classrooms.

Tags: education, gaming, JoelLevin, minecraft, school, teaching, top, video games, VideoGames