Minecraft: Education Edition Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Minecraft: Education Edition RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Let's Stop Debating... Minecraft is Definitely an Educational Game https://www.gameskinny.com/ux5xg/lets-stop-debating-minecraft-is-definitely-an-educational-game https://www.gameskinny.com/ux5xg/lets-stop-debating-minecraft-is-definitely-an-educational-game Tue, 16 May 2017 11:30:01 -0400 ReverendShmitty

According to an IGN report, Mojang's behemoth title open world, sandbox title, Minecraft, has an astonishing 55 million monthly players as of February of this year. With players mining and crafting on everything from PCs to consoles and phones, the game is everywhere and played by people of all ages. 

And that includes children playing in schools.

Released on November 21, 2016, Minecraft Education Edition went live as a classroom-friendly adaptation for teachers to use with their students. Based on Minecraft Pocket Edition and featuring multiple tweaks (so teachers can institute additional rules and boundaries), Minecraft Education Edition can be employed by schools for only $5 a year, and it features not only pre-made lesson plans, but also custom plans uploaded by other teachers.

Why has so much work been put into getting Minecraft into classrooms Because it works. 

Studies have found that video games can be beneficial to a child's development, and Minecraft, with its focus on resource gathering and structure building, is particularly suited for making a child think in ways they hadn't before -- in essence, it expands their minds. 

The game helps develop visuospatial reasoning -- visual perception of objects -- and can change the way children view the world around them. The diverse biomes found in Minecraft contain everything from mountains to trees to volcanoes. On top of that, flora and fauna range from flowers to mushrooms and cacti, cows, pigs, and a dozen other objects children will grow to recognize.

Minecraft's emulation of the world as abstract items improves not only the ability to relate appearance to function, but also relate that to imagination. And that imagination feeds creativity; a requirement for nearly every field in the real world.

Creativity grows alongside intelligence, rounding out thinking and planning, and it leads to a healthy mind. Studies have found it is imperative for children to have creative outlets that enhance learning, and Minecraft is a fantastic alternative to more traditional methods.

Physical activities such as sports are often derided for economic reasons and the serious health issues they present. However, they are continually praised for their social and problem-solving benefits. Having children work together on teams emulates what they will face as adults, and it is a crucial skill for them to cultivate at an early age. 

But not everyone can play sports. This is especially true for children with medical issues, ones who can't easily leave home, or those who can't do so without assistance. Instead, Minecraft provides not only an outlet for creative expansion and fun, but an outlet that also provides social growth through Minecraft's collaborative exploration and construction tools. 

What's more, Minecraft's collaboration tools also lead to team problem solving, where children and students can work together, delegating tasks based on ability. They can also play toward their mental strengths, while also identifying their weaknesses -- or areas of improvement. Teachers can monitor play and then work toward directing children and students toward more focused curricula, or studies that improve areas of deficiency.  

For example, math is often the most dreaded subject in school -- and Minecraft heavily requires it. If the lesson calls for building a 4x4 house, it's up to students to do the arithmetic themselves, finding how many blocks they will need to build the house.

They'll then need to add a roof, a floor, a window, and a door. After they're done, they will have done multiplication, addition, and subtraction -- on top of properly building a small house. Extrapolate that scenario to something larger and more complicated, and the students not only face a more comprehensive challenge, but also a bigger payoff when they finish the problem set -- a beautiful home. 

By gathering the required resources, doing the math, and working together as a team, problem-solving, and building, students can grow myriad skills by using Minecraft as a learning tool. From math to science, critical problem-solving, and teamwork, students playing Minecraft are engaged in their own education. 

If you're interested in getting Minecraft Education Edition fori your school, you can find the requirements here.

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Welcome to Nethermined -- North East England's Largest Unofficial Minecraft Event https://www.gameskinny.com/bnpg2/welcome-to-nethermined-north-east-englands-largest-unofficial-minecraft-event https://www.gameskinny.com/bnpg2/welcome-to-nethermined-north-east-englands-largest-unofficial-minecraft-event Wed, 18 Jan 2017 10:17:38 -0500 ESpalding

There are plenty of generic gaming conventions which happen around the UK throughout the year, but rarely is there a convention which is dedicated to one particular game. On February 11th and 12th, the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne welcomes the return of the unofficial Minecraft event Nethermined. It will take place at Northumbria University events suite within the universities Student Union building.

The event welcomes many popular Minecraft YouTubers such as SeaPeeKaySirCutieYuki, and TheOrionSound, who will be hosting panels on all sorts of interesting Minecraft topics and showing what they do in real-time by playing live, as well as giving fans the opportunity to meet them.

Another large part of the event is the parent-focused Adult Education sessions, as well as Minecraft EDU workshops. These sessions give parents a look at how Minecraft is used for educational purposes and what skills their children are learning/using when they are playing the game. It also gives children the chance to learn new in-game skills by working through different challenges and scenarios.

A spokesman for the event says that due to the success of this area last year, it has been one of the main focuses of the event this year:

"At our last event we piloted EDU Minecraft Workshops, something that has not been done before, as we wanted to bring a new dimension to the event. We have sessions that are run by dedicated Minecraft Mentors for kids of all ages to play Minecraft that have challenges included within the sessions, so that they can develop their skills and work on unravelling situations through their own decision making and outcomes.

This was a resounding success at the last event, much more than we had initially anticipated, so this time we have really enhanced this fourfold at the upcoming event where we will be able to offer the workshops to many many more of our attendees!"

Visitors will also be able to take part in competitions and challenges in the LAN area, where 20+ PCs will be set up to play on. And like any good gaming event, there will be a whole host of traders from all over the North East selling all kinds of merchandise and wares. A selection of retro and arcade games will also be available to play, so there really will be something for everyone at this year's event!

"We simply aspire to provide a better event each time and offer something different to an ever expanding audience. We also want to provide a platform in promoting local YouTubers, Gaming organisations and businesses within the north east whilst also developing new relationships within the UK as we look to expand our own horizons.

We have been to many of these events in the past and they all seem to lack in the areas that we see as key and are always keen to enhance. I suppose that’s why they have been a great success and hopefully continue to be so."

On top of all the Minecraft fun, the event is bringing local indie developers into the fold, where they will get the chance to exhibit their games to a local audience. Already confirmed are Coatsink, the Sunderland-based developers responsible for the VR title Esper 2 and popular platformer Shu (check out my review of Shu).

Header image provided by Nethermined. Artist MissDerps.

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Why "Minecraft: Education Edition" is Such a Great Idea https://www.gameskinny.com/561ij/why-minecraft-education-edition-is-such-a-great-idea https://www.gameskinny.com/561ij/why-minecraft-education-edition-is-such-a-great-idea Tue, 21 Jun 2016 18:07:25 -0400 Donald Strohman

Many games have unexpectedly come out of nowhere to sweep the world by storm, but very few of said franchises can say they're trying to make a difference in the community. For every gaming fad that has come and gone, Minecraft has done a surprising job of keeping itself relevant over the years thanks to its dedicated fan-base and the production staff in developer Mojang. It's not surprising that audiences have been exposed to the franchise in different ways, such as Telltale's Minecraft: Story Modebut who would have ever predicted the eventual release of a Minecraft geared towards educating its younger players? Yet, the better question might be: "Why did it take so long for something like this to happen?" 

What is Education Edition's purpose?

Educational games have always been a fundamental part of growing up in the modern day, from Jump Start to the obscure Mario's Time Machine, but when was the last time a big name such as Minecraft was ever tied to the "edutainment" movement? The official website describes Minecraft: Education Edition as:

"An open world game that promotes creativity, collaboration, and problem solving in an immersive environment where the only limit is your imagination." 

In summation, this isn't just going to be a game that incorporates simple math problems or puzzles to solve. Rather, this kind of experience is more so an "educational adventure" that will allow kids to have fun while learning.

Due to the massive popularity of Minecraft, some teachers had already been using the game as a way to teach their students anything from science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to arts and poetry. The difference here is that Education Edition is designed specifically for students and school faculty to utilize the open world adventure aspects for assignments and lessons. 

Why is this Such a Great Idea?

Let's face it, the majority of the school assignments you were assigned growing up were never fun. Solving math problems in a textbook, learning a language through memorization and repetition, all of it never brought much enjoyment or results-- especially for children. You know what does yield more results for better grades and retaining knowledge? Making the assignments fun. Who didn't look forward to science classes that involved in class experiments or field trips that took you to interactive museums? Maybe it sounds silly to some, but children love to have fun growing up, so why not make homework assignments more fun?

Just imagine what the vast landscape of Minecraft can provide. Instead of sitting for hours creating a less than stellar Powerpoint presentation, why not create a more lively presentation in the game's colorful world? Why create models out of Popsicle sticks when you can just use video game blocks to build something even greater? It's all left to the classroom's imagination instead of being limited by the student's means, especially considering the fact that the game is offered as a free download to eligible students and faculty.

Should You as a Parent Be Concerned?

Maybe a child spending hours staring at a computer screen doesn't sound like the best idea to some, but let's not forget the fact that many students are already doing it, and not always for fun. The internet isn't just a place for YouTube and Facebook, it's an important tool students have to utilize nowadays. Whether it's looking through sources for a research assignment or staring at Microsoft Word trying to complete a book report, your kids are bound to be staring at their computer regardless of Minecraft: Education Edition's involvement. 

Rather, you should be excited that your kids have a new way of learning through their favorite video game. The world is always changing, so why not embrace the fact there's a video game that helps teach your children what they're already going to be learning? Plus, it could mean you don't have to sit there and try to help them solve math problems even you don't remember how to solve. Instead, you could be sitting with them and enjoying the game just as much as they are, and it's always a plus spending more time helping your kids have fun.

What Does This Mean for the Industry?

Depending on the reactions, Minecraft: Education Edition could signal a change in the way video games are presented to younger audiences. As much as Nintendo loves to appeal to families across the globe, they aren't exactly well known for making educational games, except for the occasional Brain Age. However, if Nintendo were to follow Minecraft's example, in trying to bring a well known IP into classrooms, we could possibly be seeing a lot more of Mario, Miis, or Brain Age in the near future. With Nintendo already looking to explore the mobile market in the form of Pokemon Go and Miitomo, appealing to younger generations in the form of educational and entertaining titles could be a great follow up endeavor. Maybe something like Wii Music could enter music classes in the not so distant future? Or perhaps, we'll finally see a return of the gloriously ridiculous Mario Teaches Typing

What Should We Take Away From This?

Be excited for the fact that we live in an age where video games are becoming a part of class. The closest thing I ever got to video games in school was a city bridge building simulator. For better and for worse, computers are here to stay as they serve an important part in today's industries. Would you rather see your child stare at a math textbook for hours trying to figure something out they barely care about? Or would you rather see them have fun in a video game they love while learning in a more enjoyable way? Let's hope Minecraft: Education Edition leads by example for future educational titles, as this could mean the start of a beautiful friendship with children and learning through entertainment.

Interested in seeing what Minecraft: Education Edition can offer your students and faculty? Be sure to check out the official website here for downloading instructions and a list of the perks playing this educational adventure will yield!

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Will the early access of Minecraft: Education Edition differ from Minecraft? https://www.gameskinny.com/s1gln/will-the-early-access-of-minecraft-education-edition-differ-from-minecraft https://www.gameskinny.com/s1gln/will-the-early-access-of-minecraft-education-edition-differ-from-minecraft Thu, 09 Jun 2016 11:59:59 -0400 JessicaKloss

Minecraft: Education Edition was first announced earlier this year, and now the early access is here. It's currently free to download for educators to use in classrooms so tell your teachers, guys, because there's learning that can come from playing this video game in school!

You're probably wondering how it's different from the non-educational version of Minecraft so let's get into it:

  • There will be non-playable characters (like the picture above), that can be used as a guide to give information, hints, or a link to an external source to continue the lesson.
  • A camera and portfolio were developed so students can capture their work and place it in a portfolio that will keep track of their progression. It's an easy way for students to prove they've been doing what they're supposed to.
  • Up to thirty students will be able to work together in the Minecraft world without needing a separate server.
  • A chalkboard has been added to the gave so the teacher can provide instructions with a classical approach.

The complete version of the game will be available for purchase in September, and will cost in between $1 - $5 per user. The video game is thought to go through a lot of changes between now and then as more will be added based on educator feedback. For information on how to install Minecraft: Education Edition, you can visit their website.

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Game-Based Learning: How Teachers Use Video Games in Education https://www.gameskinny.com/vp3qn/game-based-learning-how-teachers-use-video-games-in-education https://www.gameskinny.com/vp3qn/game-based-learning-how-teachers-use-video-games-in-education Tue, 03 May 2016 07:30:02 -0400 ESpalding

The way in which we educate our children is constantly changing, as is the technologies and resources available to teachers. Game-based learning is not a new concept but in a time when children have more access to video games through mobile technology and home computers, it is something schools have started incorporating into their curriculum.

Speaking at the Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) in 2013, Katie Salen (a professor at DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media in Chicago) stated that there are six main reasons for incorporating game-based learning in the classroom. 

Everyone can participate

Whether it be through multiplayer or participating in forums and collaboration, everyone gets to be a part of the outcome. There are many educational games in the marketplace that have multiplayer settings. Games such as Sid Meyer's Civilization series allow students to play against each other in a turn-based strategy scenario where it is the aim to build a civilization and explore other cultures, learn about trade and become the greatest leader the World has ever seen. Alternatively, students can work together, debate about which technological discoveries to pursue next, who would be a good trade partner, etc. Working together and winning makes students feel like they have been part of a successful team and builds confidence and essential teamwork skills which they will need in later life.

The challenge is constant

Students can be continually tested as games get progressively harder and more complex. In this way, they can develop new ways of thinking. Take the cute puzzle game Cut the Rope by ZeptoLab as an example. Most people just see it as trying to feed Om Nom his candy, but as each level gets progressively harder, students are required to work through and solve each problem. One level may be as simple as cutting a few ropes, but then higher levels bring in obstacles such as bubbles or bees which require you to figure out a new strategy. Students must be flexible in their thinking and have to continually adapt to new challenges.

Feedback is immediate and ongoing

Children thrive on feedback. Whether it is good or bad, both greatly help in their development. In video games, the feedback in many games is instant – you pass a level, or you don't. When students complete a level or task, they are proud of their achievements, and it spurs them to continue and do more. When they don't do so great, getting that feedback makes them more determined to do better. In some games aimed at infants, a lot of the feedback is in the form of audio. For instance, the BBC has a website and app aimed at children of which there are many educational games for them to play. The games are based on the characters in the TV shows the channel plays. In some of the games, the child can hear their favourite characters say "Well done!" or "You are doing great!" and even "Uh-oh! That's not right. Try again". They get feedback while playing the game, not to mention the fact that they get excited because their favourite character is giving them praise and reassurance.

Learning happens by doing

"For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them." - Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

Many studies have seen that when people learn by doing, they are more likely to succeed and get a better understanding of the task they need to perform/learn. None more so than children. If for example, you wanted to teach your class how to wire a plug, instead of just telling them how to do it, you'd break out plugs and cable cutoffs and get them doing it. The same can be applied to certain video games. If you wanted to teach children about construction and structure, one game that could help would be World of Goo. The physics-based puzzle game developed by 2D Boy requires players to make stable structures such as bridges, ladders, and towers by moving black goo balls from one place to another. Players also have to deal with wind speed, gravity and buoyancy issues. World of Goo enables students to learn about basic construction as well as solving problems some structures may face due to wind effects.

 

There are many opportunities to experience failure

Failure isn't always a bad thing. It is one of the main ways in which we learn. "By trial and error" some would say. One aspect of game-based learning is that it helps children understand that failing something is ok and is just another excuse to learn from it, try again and succeed. Any of the popular puzzle games on the market cater to this. Games such as Amanita's Machinarium are full of puzzles which must be completed to progress in the game. If an attempt fails, students must then learn from what they've done and change their solution. Sometimes it may take a few attempts, but with each attempt students learning and evolve in their way of thinking.

 

Solving problems build expertise

This is very similar to the point above. The more problems a student solves, the more they are learning and are then able to pass knowledge on to their classmates. Students will retain the information which makes them more confident when dealing with similar problems.

 

 

There are some major games on the market that have grown so much in popularity, in the teaching field, that education specific versions of the games have been developed. The most popular at the moment is Mojang's Minecraft. An educational version, MinecraftEDU, was released in January 2016 by Microsoft, and it has already gained a huge following. The version was originally developed by Finland-based independent developer TeacherGaming and was already 4-years-old when Microsoft brought it. At the moment, teachers in 40 different countries use MinecraftEDU for lessons in an estimated 7,000 classrooms. Anthony Salcito, Microsoft's Vice President of Worldwide Education, says that with the right tools this could increase. In an interview with the BBC he said:

"Teachers are using Minecraft to do so many things, including teaching maths, science, religion and poetry. Once we make the tools easier for schools to get access to and employ, I think you'll see that number of classrooms grow quite quickly."

MinecraftEDU has been used in every subject area from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) to Language, to History and Art. Some of the concepts and lesson plans have even been tested in line with the US Common Core Standards to make teachers aware of where the game sits regarding the curriculum.

 

As well as Minecraft, another popular game in game-based learning is Portal 2. The website Teach with Portals has a whole host of resources and lesson plans dedicated to "playing with Portals". It is supported and developed by Valve and is accessible through STEAM for SCHOOLS. All the lessons meet Common Core Standards and can be used for Math, Game Design, and Language Arts but its primary use in education is in Physics. Using the DLC program Portal 2 Puzzle Maker, teachers can create their own puzzles. As the game is built around physical principles such as mass and weight, acceleration, momentum, gravity, and energy, there is a lot of scope for creating fun and informative lessons.

Some people are still skeptical about game-based learning, or the gamification of education, but studies have shown that there is a benefit to incorporating games into lessons plans. One such study by Richard Blunt. Ph.D. titled Does Game-Based Learning Work? concluded that when three educational games were included in the University curriculum for some Business and Technology, Economics and Management students, they scored higher than the students who did not use any games in their classes. Identical testing situations were employed in all courses while data collected included game use, test scores, gender, ethnicity, and age. There was no significant difference between genders or ethnicity groups, however, students aged 40 years and under, scored significantly higher than those aged 41 and above.

Game-based learning is an area which is constantly being researched and discussed in the teaching and game development communities. While schools and other educational facilities aim for new ways of engaging their students, game-based learning is something that is becoming more prevalent.

Do you think that game-based learning is a way forward in education? Do children really learn better when video games are used as part of their learning? We'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

References

Does Game-Based Learning Work? Results from Three Recent Studies - Richard Blunt Ph.D. (2013)

Katie Salen information from Game Design: The End of Education - https://thejournal.com/articles/2013/02/07/game-design-the-key-to-education

Resources

TeacherGaming - https://www.teachergaming.com/

Learning works for Kids - http://learningworksforkids.com/

Teach with Portals - http://www.teachwithportals.com/

MinecraftEDU - http://education.minecraft.net/minecraftedu/

CBeebies - http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/games

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Gamers Log Ep 2: Should Yandere simulator be banned from Twitch https://www.gameskinny.com/r4m9w/gamers-log-ep-2-should-yandere-simulator-be-banned-from-twitch https://www.gameskinny.com/r4m9w/gamers-log-ep-2-should-yandere-simulator-be-banned-from-twitch Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:20:58 -0500 Daniel Williams_2179

This week on Gamers Log: Yandere Simulator is banned from Twitch, Fire Emblem Fates is getting censored, & more!

Last week Twitch announced that they would not be allowing any streams of the game Yandere Simulator. Twitch has not given the reason why the game has been banned from their platform. We're discussing whether or not this is a good move. 

Fire Emblem Fates gets censored

In Fire Emblem Fates, Nintendo has decided to cut out a scene for the international release. The scene revolves around the protagonist and a female companion called Soleil, whose drink the protagonist spikes with a magic powder. This has been seen as a controversial scene, as resembles the much more predatory act of spiking someone's drink with drugs. We'll be discussing this scene and deciding if cutting it was the right call.

All this and more

As always, there is a lot going on in the gaming industry, so make sure to listen to the podcast to see what else has happened during the week. 

Remember, if you want to ask us some questions, send them to gamerslogquestions@gmail.com

Subscribe: Those Irish Gamers

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Mojang announces upcoming title Minecraft: Education Edition https://www.gameskinny.com/mfqvr/mojang-announces-upcoming-title-minecraft-education-edition https://www.gameskinny.com/mfqvr/mojang-announces-upcoming-title-minecraft-education-edition Tue, 19 Jan 2016 11:33:39 -0500 Jessa Rittenhouse

Enormously popular sandbox construction game Minecraft has long been used for educational purposes - and now Microsoft (which purchased Minecraft developer Mojang in 2014) has acquired the rights to the teaching tool MinecraftEdu, according to an announcement on Mojang's official blog.

MinecraftEdu was created in 2011 through a partnership between Mojang and TeacherGaming founder Joel Levin to help teachers use Minecraft in the classroom to teach a variety of subjects and concepts - everything from digital citizenship to physics and more. The intention was to make the game adaptable to the classroom, and to make it more affordable to teachers and schools that wished to implement Minecraft as a revolutionary part of their curriculum.

Now Mojang and Microsoft intend to carry on that tradition with the new Minecraft: Education Edition. The development of this new edition will be, according to the blog, "a collaborative thing," incorporating the ideas of educators worldwide, and will be available this summer as a free trial; additionally, all current users of MinecraftEdu will receive one free year of Minecraft: Education Edition. According to the game's FAQ, Mojang currently intends to offer the game to educational institutions at the cost of $5 per user per year. Unlike MinecraftEduEducational Edition will also be offered to homeschooling families.

Microsoft and Mojang hope to bring Minecraft to more classrooms than ever before. Image courtesy of PlanetMinecraft.

On the surface, it sounds like a great idea - the money that corporate giant Microsoft can invest into such a program can allow educational uses of the game to grow by leaps and bounds - particularly with constant input from experienced educators.

But there's also the concern that this could contribute to the growing monetization of learning. While this teaching tool has been made affordable to teachers and students, what happens if Microsoft decides that owning MinecraftEdu is not enough? Is there a chance that they could use litigation to stifle educational efforts that have used neither of these tools - projects like Molcraft for teaching chemistry, or the user-created, fully operational in-world hard drives?

Perhaps such concerns are merely alarmist, and Microsoft will simply continue to encourage such ingenuity, with or without their Education Edition. Only time will tell. 

For now, all we can do is wait and watch as we continue to build, grow, and - perhaps most importantly - have fun.

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