If someone had told me before I came to university that I would be learning how to use Minecraft in an Education degree programme, seriously – I would of laughed at them. Both my stepsons have been engrossed in the same game for the last couple of years and despite them excitedly showing me their weird and wonderful creations, I never really took a proper interest in how the game worked, what it really involved or noticed that in fact it was benefiting their education in more ways than one. Today we got a really deep and useful insight into how it worked and the many purposes it serves in and out of the classroom. However today’s lesson was totally different. It wasn’t just watching tutorial videos online or having a play around the iPad to get to know my our way around it. Today we became the pupils, and a group of young local primary school pupils became the teachers! Well I never…
When we found out that children from a local primary school were coming to show us how to use and work Minecraft I was feeling positive and looking forward to the prospects of…
- Working with children in this class in particular;
- Learning from the most experienced users;
- Understanding the benefits and areas in which Minecraft fitted relevantly into their education and
- Becoming more familiar with the game and gaining knowledge and experience that I can take forward with me in my own professional career.
As a prospective teacher I feel it is vital to ensure that my technology skills are up to date, relevant and I can use them to the best of my abilities in order to enhance my pupils educational experiences. As suggested by Bray (2012) “Games-based Learning has the most transformational impact when it is combined with good learning and teaching”. Marrying together my learning experience from the pupils today with a skillset that I am enhancing each year of my degree, I feel that Games-Based Learning in the classroom has the potential to be a tremendous success across many curricular areas. Beauchamp (2012, P.9) states that “Not only do [teachers] have to become familiar with the games, they also have to ensure that they make clear the way in which they want for the game to used.” Curricular areas that could be utilised with Games-Based Learning can include:
I regularly select and listen to or watch texts which I enjoy and find interesting, and I can explain why I prefer certain sources. I regularly select subject, purpose, format and resources to create texts of my choice. LIT 1-01a / LIT 2-01a
I have the opportunity to choose and explore an extended range of media and technologies to create images and objects, comparing and combining them for specific tasks. EXA 2-02a
I can use exploration and imagination to solve design problems related to real-life situations. EXA 1-06a
Through taking part in a variety of events and activities, I am learning to recognise my own skills and abilities as well as those of others. HWB 1-19a
I can work with others to generate, discuss and develop imaginative ideas to create a product of the future. TCH 1-01b
When exploring technologies in the world around me, I can use what I learn to help to design or improve my ideas or products. TCH 2-01a
It was suggested by Ofcom (2001) that “The use of computer games, particularly console games, is firmly embedded in 21st century youth culture.” If children already have prior knowledge and experience in certain areas in technology then they are set in good stead for their future in a classroom where technology is prevalent and also in a society out-with education where being surrounded by technology is now seen as the norm.
Today we were paired with 2 pupils from a local primary school. They showed us how Minecraft worked on their own tablets and gave us an informative description of how Minecraft works, how it can be used, what it can be used for and objects and building they had previously made. They told us why they liked using the game which included that they could be as creative as they wanted and there was no right or wrong thing to do. It allowed them to develop a space which they called their own and if they wanted to share it then they could do so by joining the same network as their peers and game virtually together. We were then given the opportunity to get hands on with the game ourselves, with the pupils giving us only verbal prompts and advice and were not allowed to take over. It allowed us to work as a team, use active listening and questioning skills and collaborate effectively and in turn it allowed us to gain knowledge on the game and the end product ended up being the Three Broomsticks from Harry Potter. The pupils were excellent in answering our questions and giving us prompts and advice. It also allowed me to see how much they enjoyed it and the many benefits they got out of it wether they realised or not that they were impacting their education. Some of which included:
- Strategic Thinking;
- Application of numbers;
- Negotiating Skills;
- Group decision-making and
- Data Handling Skills as noted by Beauchamp (2012).
Overall, I would have to say that today’s lesson was by far my favourite. I really enjoyed working with the pupils from the school and learning from them. They were passionate, engaged, motivated and were keen to let us in on the magical Minecraft world and the autonomous potential that it can hold. Utilising a game such as Minecraft in the classroom I think would be genius, as in just the few short hours we spent with the kids today, it was evident that it engaged, motivated and held the pupils attention. They were keen to learn, keen to show us their creations and was apparent that Minecraft is not just a game. It is a valuable resource and learning tool that if used in the classroom correctly, holds the key to pupil success and education satisfaction for both them and the educator. I will certainly be taking forward with me what I learned today, and building on my knowledge of Minecraft as well as recognising and researching for other ideas and areas in which it can be used in the classroom. It has already been downloaded onto my daughters iPad and we have started to create our own Barbie Dreamhouse. We are both enjoying getting to make our own designs and already she is starting to show me what else can be done!
Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary Classroom: From Pedagogy top Practice. Pearson.
Bray, O. (2012) Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education. [Online] Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education First Accessed: 13th March 2018
Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes, Ofcom (2001). [Online] Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/Microsofteduk/playful-learning-computer-games-in-education First Accessed: 13th March 2018
Images – Pixabay
Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence [Online] Available at: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf First Accessed: 13th March 2018