English Adventures with Cambridge: Language Learning with Minecraft
19 May 2021
With a virtual environment that’s ideally suited for immersion and interactive learning, educators around the world have used Minecraft to teach language. Today, we’re excited to announce a new learning resource that brings Minecraft: Education Edition together with the world’s most recognized provider of English language exams, Cambridge Assessment English.
English Adventures with Cambridge is a story-driven language learning experience created by the experts at Cambridge Assessment English in collaboration with Minecraft: Education Edition. Set in the virtual environment of Minecraft, this new world immerses students in a unique, three-chapter language learning experience where they’ll go on adventures, meet interesting characters, and solve engaging puzzles as they build their English skills.
In English Adventures with Cambridge, language learning takes place through practice and exposure to natural, contextualized language. The learning experience is intended for students aged eight and up or at level A1+ of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). At that level, it’s helpful to use visual clues to discover and practice new language concepts. Repetition, mistakes, and exposure are crucial components of learning, and the unique world helps consolidate knowledge and increase motivation, engagement, and confidence—all necessary components of successful language learning! The Cambridge team designed the world with simple but powerful premises in mind:
- Using the language is more important than knowing facts about it.
- Learning experiences should be relatable to real life.
- Errors should be treated as a natural part of learning.
- Students learn grammar and vocabulary most usefully when they’re within a meaningful context.
- Extensive exposure to the language facilitates learning.
The story begins in the hub world, an island with a magnificent library at its center. Who runs this massive institution? Your very own fairy librarian! They’ll be your students’ guide and the one who provides their missions. This world offers learners the chance to start slowly with relatively simple puzzles that show them how the game works, introduce core concepts, and help them build confidence. It’s also a lovely place for students to explore and take in the immense architecture as they practice matching object descriptions, following instructions, spelling, and listening comprehension.
But all’s not well in the hub world: Pages from two books are missing, and the stories in the books are broken! Your adventurers need to enter the broken stories one at a time to fix them. They’ll have to muster their courage and enter the Book of Treasure and the Book of Snow, each with its own unique landscape and adventure.
When they embark on their adventure into the Book of Treasure, learners will find themselves on a lush tropical island with beaches, mountains, jungles, and even a wrecked pirate ship! They’ll go over familiar vocabulary as they learn new words, all while employing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Students will practice fulfilling requests, following directions, and writing in context as they complete their quest and restore the story.
You may want to put on your parkas for this chilly excursion! The Book of Snow plunges students into an icy world with a massive mansion where they’ll build on the learning from the previous adventure. Here, learners will consolidate the vocabulary they’ve learned that deals with written and spoken directions. They’ll practice understanding descriptions of people and places while building new vocabulary in context. All the while, students will strengthen their skills by finding people based on how they’re described and matching colors as they develop the ability to take directions and communicate in context.
Each time a student has completed a quest, they’ll return to the hub world where the librarian congratulates them and provides their next mission.
The activities capitalize on the engagement benefits of gamification with a trophy system that encourages students to replay the lessons and earn rewards. To scaffold the lessons for learners who need extra help, the world features hint blocks that can help get students unstuck. They shouldn’t feel ashamed of trying an activity more than once or requiring support. It’s all part of the learning!
And for your intrepid explorers who love to uncover everything a world has to offer, several hidden secrets reward learners for their curiosity. These might come in the form of a funny line of dialogue, a hidden object, or an extra reward for completing optional puzzles. These bonuses demonstrate that curiosity is its own learning skill.
You can find an outline of English Adventures with Cambridge and supporting resources for teachers and students on the lesson page. To learn more about this amazing new resource, head to Cambridge Assessment English’s page, where their team is also providing options for learners who don’t have access to Minecraft: Education Edition licenses. You and your students can also join a special live lesson with members of the Minecraft and Cambridge teams. Register now and join us on May 26 at 9:00 AM PT. We’re excited for students to learn English alongside a splash of adventure, a dash of magic, and a touch of wonder that will make their language learning memorable. Start your adventure through the English language today!
Looking for a place to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition? Check your eligibility and download the game here.