Minecraft: Education Edition brings The Oregon Trail Into The 21st Century

Minecraft Education partners with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Roald Dahl Estate, and Smithsonian to develop collaborative and engaging content. Many adults today have engaged in learning through games – from designing history-themed board games to choose-your-own-adventure explorations. Educator practice and research over the past two decades documents the effectiveness of this approach. In the Level Up Learning study from Joan Ganz Cooney Center, nearly three quarters (71%) of teachers who use digital games reported that games have been effective in improving their students’ learning outcomes. Due to its open and immersive design, open world games like Minecraft can be utilized as a vehicle for storytelling, narration, and motivation in language arts and across the curriculum. Educators and students in 115 countries have begun their journey with Minecraft: Education Edition. They tell us that using Minecraft to complement their existing curriculum has helped them improve student engagement, collaboration, and creative exploration. We have also seen App Smashing in education as ground-breaking educators find multiple products useful to integrate technology into existing instruction. So we asked ourselves, what would happen if we were to use Minecraft as an example of Game Smashing?

You're about to begin a great adventure, traveling the Oregon Trail across the rugged landscape of North America.

It’s time to bring one of the most iconic games to life and reimagine it as a Minecraft world. Partnering with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Minecraft Education is proud to deliver The Oregon Trail Experience to educators and students around the world. Exclusively in Minecraft: Education Edition, classrooms can play through The Oregon Trail in Minecraft, from Independence, Missouri to the Oregon Coast.

We are delighted to partner with Minecraft Education, giving students a new way to experience one of the most popular educational games of all time, The Oregon Trail. Through the unique magic of Minecraft, students will be drawn to discover the wonders and challenges that pioneers encountered on this famous journey. -Caroline Fraser, SVP, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Over 15 learning experiences along the way enrich learning with activities in Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Visual Arts, and more and reach students regardless of grade level. Students can also add their own paths to the game and create their own 19th century communities along the journey.

The versality of Minecraft in the classroom continues to be demonstrated across the curriculum as well. This past Spring, we partnered with the Roald Dahl Estate on Imaginormous, a writing competition for elementary and middle school students. The winner’s story, Fluffletopolis, was turned into a Minecraft build by our friends at ShapeScape. We look forward to educators and students using this world, and the lessons we created alongside the Roald Dahl Team, to empower our next generation of storytellers and creators.

If you’re interested in getting started with an introductory level experience, Minecraft Education is partnering with Smithsonian for their Museum Day LIVE event on Saturday, September 23rd. By collaborating, we can bring together the amazing resources Smithsonian has with immersive Minecraft extensions to the existing lesson plans. Minecraft Global Mentor Ben Kelly already experienced these extensions with his students.

In an era where personalized learning is the goal, the ‘Museum of Me’ Project can be used to help educators find common interests with their students and identify career and curriculum areas to benefit everyone’s learning path. -Ben Kelly, Global Minecraft Mentor

We hope that educators around the world can engage students in conversations and activities ranging from how materials used for buildings is transformed over time, the size of the cosmos, and help their own students build a 'Museum of Me'. Be sure to download your free ticket from the Smithsonian site, and join in an incredible experience later this month.

In support of creating great learning experiences like The Oregon Trail, Fluffletopolis and Museum of Me, we continue to add features to Minecraft: Education Edition. Next month we will introduce three new features for students and educators alike. As always, we are incorporating other new features from other Minecraft versions like stained glass, crafting recipe book, ravines, parrots, and the most important Minecraft block, coarse dirt (if this doesn’t sound exciting to you, ask your students). Using Minecraft Structure Blocks, students will be able to export Minecraft creations in 3d and view them in Remix 3D along with manipulating them in Paint 3D. Educators can review geometric creations, create cut-away Minecraft models of plant and animal cells, and design cathedrals as part of a unit on the Middle Ages. With the new Minecraft: Education Edition Book & Quill, students can create their own combinations of images and writing, and export these for assessment and presentations. Students can now program Non-Playable Characters (NPCs) in the game using basic logic to create custom artificial intelligence as part of their worlds. Please share your experiences with your community and with us at @playcraftlearn and through our educator community site on education.minecraft.net.