minecraft SEL

The fascinating link between Minecraft and SEL


Teachers say Minecraft helps students develop key SEL skills such as empathy and problem solving.

Other SEL skills students develop through Minecraft include creativity (95.5 percent), critical thinking (93.3 percent), and collaboration (91.1 percent).

Surveyed teachers also said they believe their students’ decision-making (88.8 percent) and communication (86.6 percent) abilities were positively impacted by the time they spent playing Minecraft, whether working in small groups or individually.

Roughly half (51.1 percent) said they believe Minecraft also helps students build empathy skills, which could be due to interactions with classmates, as well as with characters within the game.

“It is clear from our research that Minecraft creates opportunities for transformational learning experiences,” said Caroline Vander Ark, Getting Smart COO. “However, we also found that the most critical component to connecting gaming and student SEL outcomes is the teacher. The educators we visited and spoke with were transparent about learning objectives, promoted student agency and independence and acted as learning guides.”

Looking for inspiration to help you integrate Minecraft into your classroom? Here are 4 examples:

During ISTE 2017, Dr. Chris Haskell offered session attendees a look at how to quickly and simply begin using Minecraft during school. He also offered 15 specific classroom uses for the game.

Games are powerful motivators, and educator Douglas Kiang has woven the game into his instruction while keeping in mind five gaming dynamics that engage students.

Mark Stevens, an education technology instructor at Bowling Green State University, is employing an educational version of Minecraft as a learning tool, not only for school-age children and teens, but for his own students as well.

Jim Pike, a third grade teacher at Ascension Catholic School and director of education for learnbygaming.net, aligned mathematical equations to Minecraft structures to engage his students in mathematical processes as they created buildings and other structures in a game dubbed “Mathcraft.”

Laura Ascione

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