Minecraft has pretty amazing potential as a teaching tool. In general, it promotes creativity and problem-solving as it boosts engagement. But it also can improve achievement when confident teachers incorporate it into instruction.
It’s easy for students to become absorbed in Minecraft worlds, mainly due to the game’s “sandbox” nature–it’s open-ended and offers unlimited possibilities for math, science, and building challenges.
And the game isn’t just for STEM classes, either. It can help build social and emotional skills, it can illustrate concepts found in literature and history classes, and more.
If you need inspiration, or just a little help getting started, you might find it in one of the following examples.
1. Minecraft has a fascinating link with social and emotional learning (SEL). A report based on interviews, a global survey, and case studies shows that 98 percent of teachers say problem solving is the top SEL skill their students learn from Minecraft. Students also develop creativity (86 percent), critical thinking (93 percent), and collaboration (91 percent). Half of teachers say they think it also helps students build empathy.
2. Gaming, including Minecraft, can be a powerful motivator to students, leading them to greater engagement and achievement. Students frequently walk away from homework when it is too difficult, but difficult games are another matter–kids walk away from games when they’re too easy. Difficult games present a positive challenge for students. A challenging task “stretches” a student’s brain, and the more a person expects his or her brain to do different things, the more pathways that person’s brain will develop.