A Teacher’s Journey with Minecraft, Part One

I have been teaching and learning with tech for years, both on the creative side and on the academic front. During that time I have experimented with gamifying my classroom (loved Mario Teaches Typing). As these games evolved, so did I. This lead me to believe that I was relatively well-versed on the newest, coolest things when it came to gaming. I have played video games since their inception in the ’80s and have an Xbox at home. I still play on the Atari 2600 system and use the Wii to do my workout and yoga!

I prefer RPGs and spaceships, so one would think that when Minecraft came out, it would have stirred some curiosity on my part. I had heard my students talking about it, but really didn’t pay much attention. My students talk about a lot of games and apps; but many are not quite my cup of tea.

Then I was introduced to Hour of Code (HOC). This enticed me because it was so different from my Intro to Computer Science class back in the day. I recognized that my students needed to learn digital literacy to be prepared for their future. When I took my classes in to participate in HOC, I was amazed at how many students choose Minecraft as the platform for their coding. I thought, if they are so excited and engaged about their learning because of Minecraft, what if I could use that same platform in my classroom and have that same level of student engagement while learning reading, math, etc. …the things we could conquer!

This brings us to where I am today. I could just create a lesson and have my students go for it, but I want to be true to my craft and demonstrate what it means to be a lifelong learner. As a mentor, I want to be just as adept as my students at creating in the Minecraft world. It’s important to me because it will empower me to really assess their understanding of the objectives and to be a true facilitator of their learning.

Over the next few months I will be sharing what I learn (triumphs and tribulations). I hope to gain knowledge of Minecraft: Education Edition as well as how it affects my teaching and my students’ learning. Join me on this journey! I invite all readers of this blog to contribute so that I am able to create an “Educational Cheat Sheet” to help other teachers new to Minecraft. Also new to Minecraft? Get started on your own journey here. Reach out to me online or join the conversation on the M:EE community forums and let’s learn together!

Diane Marie is a lifelong learner, musician, and educator. As an Active Learning Leader she promotes best practices in the classroom, collaborates with teachers to help them develop lesson plans that incorporate active, problem-based learning, using digital tools and other tech that connects to real world skills, blended learning environments, oracy, and student autonomy/self-evaluations skills. She would like to use Minecraft to support literacy, writing and to promote STEAM and favorite mob is the Enderman.