Minecraft Education at MINECON Earth 2018
On Saturday, September 29, the global Minecraft community tuned in for MINECON Earth – a live broadcast during which we announced game updates and celebrated a year of innovation and creative new content. A cast of YouTube creators hosted the show, with spots featuring several Global Minecraft Mentors. Here is the full broadcast, and below a recap of the education announcements:
NEW MINECRAFT HOUR OF CODE COMING NOVEMBER 1ST
We announced that on November 1, we will launch a new Minecraft Hour of Code tutorial. In the Voyage Aquatic, you and your students will be able to explore aquatic worlds and uncover hidden treasure – all with the power of code. Discover loops and conditionals, two fundamental computer science concepts, and meet some very awesome YouTubers along the way.
Hour of Code is a global movement that reaches millions of students in more than 180 countries with free, one-hour tutorials (translated into 45 languages!). Anyone can learn to code, and Hour of Code is a great way to learn basic computer science in just sixty minutes. We have reached more than 96 million Minecraft Hour of Code sessions in the past four years. Help us get to 100 million this year!
Visit code.org/minecraft to learn more – and check back in on November 1st to start coding underwater.
CHEMISTRY IN MINECRAFT AND REAL LIFE
Yammy, a YouTube creator from Leeds and one of the MINECON hosts, did a game show segment answering questions from viewers about her life and interests. Yammy explained that if she wasn’t so busy streaming YouTube videos, she might have been a teacher. She still loves teaching others how to create compelling video content or to play Minecraft, insisting, “Teachers of any kind are super important.” (We certainly agree!)
Yammy then introduced Dr. Kate Biberdorf, a chemistry professor at University of Texas (she goes by “Kate the Chemist”) who did a live experiment on air to celebrate the new Chemistry features in Minecraft. You definitely don’t want to miss the two of them making elephant toothpaste.
In January, we launched the Chemistry Resource Pack, a feature that allows players to craft compounds and items using new crafting tools, such as glow sticks, rapid grow fertilizer and underwater torches. Make pigs fly with helium balloons, blow up shipwrecks with underwater TNT, and see what elements make up different blocks. The Chemistry Resource Pack is now available for both Minecraft: Education Edition and Bedrock. Learn more, and download a guide to the compounds and features at aka.ms/chemistry.
BUILDING EMPATHY AND IMPROVING ACCESSIBILITY WITH MINECRAFT
Patricia Romero, an educator at the American Institute of Monterrey in Monterrey, Mexico, was featured in a segment about her students’ contributions to the Minecraft Coral Crafters project. We ran a build challenge at her school, during which students designed underwater sculptures in Minecraft: Education Edition that represented their Mexican heritage with aquatic themes. One design was selected to be brought to life, and constructed out of a material that support coral growth. The sculpture was secured to the ocean floor in Cozumel, Mexico, by scuba divers – including the students who designed it. Watch the video for the full story:
Stephen Reid, a Global Minecraft Mentor and founder of Immersive Minds, talked about Refugee Crisis, a Minecraft map and lesson that invites students to explore the refugee experience fleeing war for safe haven. The project demonstrates the challenges of decision making under pressure, and helps students build empathy and collaboration skills. Refugee Crisis has been used by educators in Sweden, Wales and France.
Special Effect, a UK-based design studio, released a long-awaited product feature earlier this year called Eyemine. Eyemine uses eye-tracking technology to assist physically disabled people to play video games. In this MINECON segment, a young man with cerebral palsy named Ian demonstrated how the technology works. Eyemine shows the incredible possibilities of assistive technology for gamers, allowing people with disabilities to join gaming communities, play engaging and fun video games, and maybe most of all – to be creative. Learn more about Eyemine in this Microsoft blog post.
For those interested in what else was announced at MINECON Earth, here is a full list of updates coming to Minecraft from the Mojang team including the Village and Pillage Update, cats, pandas and the taiga biome.