Okay so this week Minecraft: Education Edition just announced a new tool that have in beta called Code Builder, below is their release video.
Now, in case the title didn’t clue you in, I am so excited for this!! Minecraft has a lot of value as a teaching tool for many subjects, but the subject it has the most potential for is computer science. And now they are taking advantage of that!
This is one of the biggest reasons I think that Minecraft is so great, it’s developers are smart and good people, who have recognized its value in education and are doing a lot to make it easier for teachers to use.
The first article I read this week followed a group of 3rd-5th graders learning about game design in Minecraft. It details how the kids grew throughout the different mini-game designs that they went through. They built Ender Golf courses, Parkour courses, and Water Boat Racing tracks.
One really important detail in the artile was the fact that when the class started, many kids did not know how to use the chat box or even how to see what their username was. But as time went on they slowly started figuring it out and eventually were communicating a lot through chat. This is a skill that is very important now-a-days, with much of professional communication coming through email and chat rooms.
Another bit I liked about this story is how respectful the students were of eachothers’ work. Minecraft is a game where one misplaced block of TnT can set you back on a good amount of work, but as detailed in the article, one kid when she accidently broke a block spent the time to go through her inventory to find the exact block and put it back. This kind of repect for other’s work is something you don’t see much in kids, and I think its great that Minecraft can bring it out of them.
The article had a lot of cool ideas about ways to challenge students to be creative and constructive, I really liked it.
The other article I read was more of a call to action for educators to get in on the MinecraftEdu bandwagon. It did have a few cool ideas on how to use Minecraft in the classroom like loading premade maps to have students explore historical places, or teaching coordinate grids using minecraft blocks. However, the article didn’t provide much in the way of learning for me.
I hope to explore Code Builder once I have the chance to mess around with it, hopefully I’ll be able to write more on it soon.