How Minecraft and agriculture lead to an esports competition

Our world is changing around us in so many ways, and the climate crisis is proving to be one of the paramount challenges of the 21st century. As temperatures rise, our food systems across the globe feel the impacts of this man-made phenomenon. This heightens the pressing need to mitigate our carbon emissions, as well as adapt to climate impacts. We need to foster sustainability across all spheres, especially in the preservation and resilience of our agricultural systems.

Despite the fact that we all consume food every day, there is a disconnect between the needs of modern agriculture and challenges many farmers face due to climate change. So few of us truly know where our food comes from and teachers do not always have tools for raising awareness and educating on this important topic. This is why NASEF Farmcraft was developed. 

Farmcraft is a global esports competition hosted by the nonprofit NASEF and the U.S. Department of State. It is aimed at students grades 3-12 and participation is free for students from all over the world. This year we had participants from 68 countries! Teams register with the support of an educator or other adult sponsor and take part in a wide variety of activities that teach about the connections between modern agriculture, climate change, and biodiversity. …Read More

Are you teaching with Minecraft and Roblox? You should be

Millions of students use Roblox and Minecraft to create characters and build entire worlds. As educators search for ways to boost student engagement as they inject real-world relevance into their lessons, finding creative reasons to use these platforms in the classroom becomes their goal. Should you start teaching with Minecraft and Roblox?

“Why Minecraft? Why Roblox? Your students are already on these platforms and they absolutely love them. That doesn’t necessarily make for a great teaching tool right off the bat, but the engagement is there,” said Matthew Kreutter, a product manager for Connected Camps, during an ISTE Live22 session.

A Connected Camps team led session attendees through some brief examples of how they can begin teaching with Minecraft and Roblox with simple coding and building activities.…Read More

New Resources Supporting the Integration of Minecraft: Education Edition into Classroom Instruction Now Available from Discovery Education

SILVER SPRING, MD (Tuesday, May 3, 2022) Discovery Education today announced the availability of a host of new resources designed to support the integration of Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE) into classroom instruction. Accessible through Discovery Education’s award-winning K-12 platform, these resources complement M:EE’s ability to inspire student exploration, experimentation, and expression. Discovery Education is the worldwide edtech leader whose state-of-the-art digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place.

The Minecraft: Education Edition Channel, now available within the Discovery Education platform, provides educators useful lesson plans as well as ready-to-use activities that support students as they explore Minecraft Worlds and uncover important subject area content and skills. Furthermore, students can demonstrate creativity and showcase evidence of learning through an editable showcase board built within Discovery Education’s content creation tool, Studio. With Discovery Education’s dynamic set of learning supports, educators have a new set of resources supporting the integration of M:EE into Discovery Education’s math, SEL, STEM, and science lessons.

Connecting educators to a vast collection of high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, intuitive quiz and activity creation tools, and professional learning resources, Discovery Education’s K-12 platform facilitates engaging, daily instruction in any learning environment. …Read More

How Minecraft leads to engaging play and strong learning

Of all the tools available to educators today, Minecraft is fast becoming one of the most useful. It may seem strange that we say that about a video game, but it is the case. Put aside the popularity of Minecraft, which has sold over 200 million copies, and you find a game that is immensely engaging with today’s youth.

That singular nugget, engagement with youth, has allowed it to become a tool that helps educators teach students things like leadership, organization, physics, agriculture, and more.

One of the reasons why Minecraft and its various versions work so well as educational tools is because it isn’t an artificial game-based education tool. Too often students recognize when game-based educational tools just have a veneer of games layered over the top of educational tools. They see through this right away and therefore don’t become as engaged.…Read More

How to establish international collaboration with esports

As the high school esports club advisor for the William Penn Cybercats, I have had the opportunity to work with my students on some pretty awesome projects. From building our club infrastructure to coordinating a beyond the games challenge, to organizing our first esports teams in Rocket League and Madden 21, and participating in North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) Minecraft builds. But as a 2020-2021 NASEF Fellow, I was encouraged to go beyond my building walls in a way that enhances cultural understanding and international collaboration.

In our tight urban community, I have seen students enjoy cultural experiences that built on their understanding of the world around them, but I have never helped coordinate them. For my NASEF Fellow Capstone project, I and another fellow, Ashley Sheehan from Windsor, United Kingdom, coordinated to have an international Minecraft Build. The task was simple: have a team from each town build a part of their world in this cross Atlantic server, and then discuss those buildings with each other in a live chat.

I banded a small group of students together, and gave them the task. They decided to build the school, William Penn Senior High School, and the park just outside of our main entrance, Penn Park. Both are iconic spaces in the community of York City, Pennsylvania. Ashley’s team of students were going to build their two schools, the Green Room School and the Green Room Sixth Form both in Windsor, UK. …Read More

Free classes and practice problems in over 200 subjects

Many K-12 schools have closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More closings are sure to come. In response, Varsity Tutors, founded by Washington University in St. Louis alum Chuck Cohn, has launched a new service called Virtual School Day.

Virtual School Day: Nearly 200 free, live K-12 classes available all day long intended to help parents fill their children’s day with enriched learning. Some popular classes are “Intro to Spanish for Kids”, “Coolest Women in History”, “Java Programming Basics”, and “The Story of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”.

Virtual Summer Camps: Free half-day summer camps are a week-long, with enrichment-based classes in subjects like foreign languages, chess, theater, coding, Minecraft, how to be a detective, photography, and more. These live, interactive camps will be taught by expert instructors vetted through Varsity Tutors’ platform.…Read More

Microsoft extends access to Minecraft: Education Edition and resources to support remote learning

As COVID-19 concerns prompt school closures around the world, many educators are turning to remote learning to keep students engaged.  To help teachers and students stay connected to the classroom, Minecraft: Education Edition is now available through June 2020 for all educators and learners who have a valid Office 365 Education account. Please fill out this form to verify your account and request access to Minecraft.

We have also compiled a special Minecraft remote learning toolkit, which includes more than 50 lessons, STEM curriculum and project-based learning activities so educators can use Minecraft: Education Edition with their students whether they are in school, at home or in another remote learning environment.

Features like classroom multiplayer allow students to collaborate on projects in their Minecraft worlds, building, planning, learning and even chatting as they work together. (Download this how-to guide for using Multiplayer Mode.) When they are ready to document their work and submit their projects, students can use tools like the Camera and Book & Quill to take screenshots, write about their work and export their in-game portfolios as PDF.…Read More

4 benefits of using Minecraft in the classroom

When I met Grade 5 teacher Mark, he came to me with an exciting idea: He wanted me to work with him to teach creative writing through Minecraft in the classroom. I signed him up as my dissertation student in my Master of Education course, and over the following year we got to work on our project.

Minecraft is a sandbox computer game. It is a game that doesn’t have pre-set linear timelines, missions, or goals for players to follow. I like to think of Minecraft as a digital version of LEGOs. Players use base blocks to build imaginary worlds and characters.

Related content: 7 ways Minecraft can make learning exciting again…Read More

7 ways Minecraft can make learning exciting again

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.…Read More

Microsoft to launch full version of Minecraft Education on Nov. 1

Microsoft is finally releasing the full version of Minecraft: Education Edition on November 1, following months of beta testing and early access for classrooms. That free access will end upon release, when the game will be offered for purchase for the first time.

According to a recent announcement, more than 35,000 students and educators around the world have tried the program and provided feedback. A handful of new features will debut in Novemeber based on that feedback, including:

Classroom Mode: A companion app for Minecraft: Education Edition that enables educators to manage world settings, communicate with students, give items and teleport students in the Minecraft world. It displays a map view of the Minecraft world, a list of all the students in the world, a set of world management settings and a chat window. There is even a Minecraft clock to show time of day in the world. Classroom Mode offers educators the ability to interact with students and manage settings from a central user interface.…Read More