November 29, 2018
Minecraft is one of the most popular video games ever made and now it is making way into McPherson Magnet classrooms. History students in the seventh grade at McPherson Magnet downloaded educational Minecraft so they could use the buildings blocks to build historical medieval castles. The seventh graders have the ability to do most things you could do in regular Minecraft all for free. Mr. Turner’s history class tried Minecraft late last school year but this is the first time it was used as a class assignment. The seventh graders could work alone or join each other’s worlds if they wanted to work together on a castle.
We interviewed seventh graders who were given Educational Minecraft and asked them what they were doing with it and what they thought. The first student we interviewed was Kenneth Sutherland. We asked him if built anything and he did. Then we asked what he built and he said: “I created the Blenheim Castle.” Then we interviewed Roman Early, another seventh grader. We asked him what he used Minecraft for and how it can be used by students. He said “I used Minecraft Educational Edition to build castles in Minecraft. I think that Minecraft is really useful because it can make your ideas a reality and there’s plenty of ways to make that happen because of the diverse amount of blocks in Minecraft.” The seventh-grade students are able to use Minecraft to build anything they want and they are making use of it. We also interviewed Mr. Turner who is in charge of making sure Minecraft is being used by seventh-grade students. He had this to say about Educational Minecraft. “It has such potential,” history teacher Mr. Turner said. “Students were able to recreate historical buildings, cooperate with one another, and have fun. My kids built the outsides of castles with towers and moats and decorated the insides of the castles as well. They made great halls and throne rooms, classrooms, and dungeons with intricate details. They were engaged in the process and often gave up their lunch to come in and work on their projects.” Of course, not every student is interested in Minecraft and those students chose to do a different assignment. But Minecraft can be a fun way for students to express themselves while still doing something productive for school and hopefully it can be used in schools across the countries.
Microsoft who owns Minecraft has allowed some school districts, including OUSD to use a special version of Minecraft for educational purposes. Orange Unified has purchased a license for its students so they could use it at schools across the district. For now, it is only used by some seventh and eighth grades, but in the future, it can be used by all grades as technology advances and schools get more technology dependent. Technology is making learning more advanced and interesting and Minecraft is another way to push learning forward. The future has no limits and a fun game that involves planning and building can advance students education in many possible ways.