Is Minecraft Educational? A Guide for Parents and Educators
Is Minecraft Educational?
Since its release in 2011, Minecraft has exploded as a global platform for young players. It has over 140 million users around the world. But what sets this game apart from all the other video games on the market? As a parent, you’re probably wondering if the game has any redeeming qualities. For example, is Minecraft Educational?
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is considered a sandbox game, which refers to its creative focus. Players can build their own worlds using various block materials. They can also explore these worlds and worlds others have built, craft new items to add to their creation, and collaborate on these projects with friends.
The game is available in different formats, including a console game for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation, Wii, and Xbox One. There is also a Minecraft app available for Android and iOS devices. Its popularity is evident in the fact that users have spent over $110 million on in-app purchases.
Players can also expand their gaming experience by logging into different servers and interacting with other users in a world. Since the pandemic, these multiplayer sessions have increased 40 percent with a 25 percent boost in new players.
So… Is Minecraft Educational?
Yes! There are actually many educational benefits for children playing Minecraft. (But we won’t tell them). Its open-ended creativity lends itself to being a great educational tool both in the classroom and at home.
Don’t just take our word for it though. A 2016 study by the BBC found that more than 7,000 classrooms around the world were using Minecraft in some form. Considering Minecraft’s continued rise in popularity, we think it's safe to assume that number has only risen since.
8 Educational Benefits of Minecraft
So teachers around the world are integrating Minecraft into their curriculum, but why exactly? Well, here are just eight of the many potential educational benefits of Minecraft:
1. Minecraft strengthens problem-solving skills
When your child enters the Minecraft world, they’ll need to develop plans to build a shelter, find food, and stay safe. Each day lasts about 10 minutes, which means your kids will need to think fast on their virtual feet.
2. Minecraft encourages reading and writing
To be an effective Minecraft character, students will need to communicate with other players in the chatbox. They’ll also need to be able to read the guides that appear on the screen. These skills can help them advance in the game, which is a big motivator for players.
3. Minecraft builds research abilities
It won’t be long before your child realizes that they’ll need to put in an extra effort to get ahead. That means looking up hints and tricks to help them advance in the game. Because of its popularity, there are many resources on Minecraft that your child can research. They could review some YouTube videos for hints, read endless how-to articles, or find books at your local library. What they learn here will serve them well when it comes time to research for projects at school.
4. Minecraft sharpens math skills
Building in Minecraft requires math skills, including calculating and estimating volume and area, creating complex shapes and structures, solving geometric challenges, dividing supplies, paying for and trading items, and computing time.
5. Minecraft expands imagination and creativity
Whatever your child can dream up, they’ll be able to build in Minecraft. They can use different materials to build a city, town, statue, forest, amusement park, and so much more.
6. Minecraft helps to develop coding capabilities
Players can use codes in the game to make it behave in different ways. This can include changing the weather, creating animals or pets, and traveling long distances. Students can also learn advanced coding skills like debugging.
7. Minecraft promotes career skills
Over and above building stronger academic abilities, Minecraft can also help your child cultivate career skills. For example, by hosting a server, students can become their own systems administrators. Hosting a server requires technical capability and understanding, supporting players using the server, and monitoring and updating it. Your child will also develop soft skills that come in handy in the workplace, such as negotiation, teamwork, and project planning.
8. Minecraft teaches about history and architecture
Building Minecraft versions of historical landmarks are one way that kids in the classroom can learn about history and architecture in a fun and engaging way. Students can also research important dates and events in human history, recreate these events, and map different locations. Some projects that others have completed include:
Users have even built Minecraft versions of natural sites such as Mt. Everest and the Grand Canyon.
Minecraft Education Edition
Minecraft even released a version specifically intended to be used as an educational tool within classrooms, Minecraft Education Edition. The education edition, which was released a few years ago, saw two million downloads across 115 countries within the first year. This edition has over 250 lessons that can help students learn valuable skills, such as coding, while being an engaging and creative outlet. Some of these experiences include:
- International Space Station – plan your own space station experiments
- Marine Biologist – experience being a marine biologist on a submarine
- Washington – tour 17 national landmarks such as the White House and Lincoln Memorial
- Mt. Olympus – learn about Greek mythology
However, as we’ve already discussed, players don’t need to be using the “educational version” for the game to help them learn and develop key skills, including problem-solving, collaboration, creativity, and more. It also ranks high on building STEM abilities.
Minecraft and your child
Despite its age and blocky appearance, Minecraft is still one of the highest-rated games for students and teens. As a parent, you can take comfort that they are actually learning something – or a lot of some things – while they engage in the gameplay. From strengthening problem-solving to enhancing reading, writing, and math skills, Minecraft’s use as an educational tool is almost endless.
Interested in utilizing Minecraft in your classroom, but not sure where to start? Engineering for kids offers dedicated Minecraft classes, with lesson plans that can be customized to complement your current curriculum. Find a location near you to inquire about Engineering For Kids' various Minecraft programs today!