El Paso's YISD Takes Minecraft to a Whole New Level!

31 Oct 2022 Minecraft Education Key art

Minecraft to a Whole New Level!

In the Spring of 2022, the Board of the Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) in El Paso, TX approved a very exciting district initiative. YISD was adopting eSports for the entire district, allowing all students and teachers to utilize new and engaging tools to learn and problem-solve.  One of the big components of this huge endeavor would focus on using Minecraft Education Edition in both a competition and lesson format.

As the buzz around eSports began to increase, many teachers found the need to reach out for help in how to utilize Minecraft Education Edition within their classrooms.  Teachers were beginning to understand that Minecraft was SO MUCH MORE than just a game.  It is a learning experience that ALL students throughout the district could participate in.  With every one of the 55 campuses in the district opting to take part in the eSports initiative, the two Innovative Learning Specialists would not be enough to meet the training needs of all 3000 teachers.

El Paso's Teach Knowledgey Badges

There has always been a high need for training on digital tools throughout the Ysleta district, and the Innovative Learning Specialists developed, created, and maintained a complete digital badge site for both teachers and students.  This site is a nice one-stop-shop for on-demand learning, and adding Minecraft courses seemed like such a logical step.

One of the Learning Specialists is a Minecraft Global Mentor, and had access to some great Minecraft Teacher Academy resources.  After recording voice overs, videos and reformatting the course to fit the district’s digital badge needs, the new Minecraft Virtual Teacher Academy was ready to publish on the digital badge site.

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A total of six hour-long sessions make up the academy, starting with the very basic components of Minecraft, such as moving and acquiring inventory items. Each lesson increases in complexity and rigor, with the last 3 modules focusing on using Redstone, Chemistry and Coding.   Every lesson was built using Nearpod™, so there would be no scrubbing through videos or activities without completion.  When one of the modules has been concluded, the teacher must take a quiz and upload required components of their lesson.  If the teacher passes with an 80% or higher, a digital badge and certificate of completion is emailed to them.  The Advanced Academics Department got wind of these learning opportunities and now allows the courses to assist teachers in earning their required yearly 6 hours of GT credit.

Currently, there are only lessons for teachers, but student modules are in the planning stage, and will be part of the site soon. The YISD eSports program brought such attention and focus on learning Minecraft, and the excitement and anticipation has grown by leaps and bounds.  Who knows how many expert Minecrafters YISD will have a year from now!

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If you would like to take part in the YISD Minecraft Virtual Teach Academy, please CLICK HERE to get started.  Would you like more information about building on-demand learning opportunities or creating digital badges?  Reach out to Mesha Daniel at mdaniel@yisd.net.


Mesha Daniel is Minecraft Global Mentor, a Google™ Certified Trainer and Coach, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, and an Apple™ Learning Coach.  She has been in the Education realm for over 30 years, trying to spread the love of technology to all.   You can find her on Twitter @MeshaDaniel, and her YouTube channel is chock full of videos on using Minecraft Education Edition with students.