Learning and Leading with MinecraftEdu

I have been using MinecraftEdu with my students for over a year now. I took my first tentative steps into incorporating it into my world history course after doing quite a bit of research. I lurked in the MincraftEdu Google Group and quickly discovered that there were some incredibly talented educators in there just trying to figure out how to use the game as I was. I watched every video I could find on YouTube covering MCEdu and played Minecraft for hours before I tentatively took my first steps.

Those first steps were quite small. I had two teacher aides that were experienced players and had them create a modest medieval village I later used to unleash my classes into. I further developed several ideas for using MCEdu to help support my units on Medieval and Renaissance Europe which I’ll describe in more detail in a future blog post. I am a big believer in using active role-playing to teach and our virtual Minecraft worlds provided fertile grounds to explore the art of pretend.

My initial lessons were mostly very successful and energized my views on using games to teach my middle schoolers. I continue to be inspired by the output of several educators that have a much deeper understanding of the game than I do. The individual work of Eric Walker and Stephen Elford leave me speechless, while the efforts of Liam O’Donnell, Donelle Batty, and Jo Kay to showcase student innovation and creativity in game inspires me. I very much appreciate all of the hard work and reflective practices of so many other educators in the MCEdu community like Shane Asselstine, Carol Kendall, and Tim Wicks.

This brings me to the purpose of this blog. It’s time for me to add to the collective reflections of the community and share my gains and setbacks as I attempt to embed MCEdu throughout my curriculum. I’ll be posting on my progress as I research and develop a model that I can use to create quest-based lessons my students can use to support their learning. In my next post, I’ll outline the strategies I intend to implement as well as describe learning theories that form the foundation of my model.

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