Category Archives: Minecraft

Notes concerning Minecraft, especially its use in schools, informal and formal education.

Microsoft purchase MinecraftEdu

As reported in a thousand newspaper articles, a million blog posts, and seemingly a billion edtech tweets, Microsoft have now bought MinecraftEdu, the, well, education version of Minecraft. They seem happy, TeacherGaming seem happy, edtech commentators and journalists have something to write about, and future uses of Minecraft in schools especially seem more likely.

As the website now says:

Microsoft will release an entirely new version of the game called Minecraft: Education Edition that will have many features inspired by MinecraftEdu. Microsoft will also use their impressive resources and reach to bring Minecraft into far more classrooms than ever before. We believe that Minecraft’s educational potential has barely been explored and that there are exciting times ahead.

THE journal digs a little deeper on this and mentions the enhancement of OneNote to make development within Minecraft a little smoother. Which sounds like a good thing; one of the enduring problems with game, simulation and virtual world use in classrooms is the fragmented timetable, and lesson blocks of an hour or even less. The pupil or student needs to be up and quickly progressing with something on-point, relevant and constructive, rather than spending a significant proportion of each lesson block undergoing initialization routines, or using laborious tools and routines that suck time away from useful activity.

How will Minecraft sit within the roll-call of digital games, environments and simulations used within education?

Thankfully, we should be getting a clearer picture by now. The early days of speculation-oriented writing on the use of this specific technology have given way to an increasing proportion of articles, papers and reports containing data of Minecraft use in formal and informal learning situations. I’m looking forward to seeing quality research and meta-analysis of these works over the next few years.

Minecraft in Northern Ireland schools

BBC News has a short piece today on the use of this particular software in schools:

Fifty-thousand schoolchildren in Northern Ireland could soon be playing one of the world’s most popular video games in class. Minecraft will be made available to every post-primary school as part of an innovative technology project.

The Guardian follows up with Minecraft free for every secondary school in Northern Ireland:

Minecraft will be given to secondary schools in Northern Ireland as part of a project organised by the annual CultureTECH festival and funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. The hugely popular building-block game will be supplied to 200 schools and 30 libraries and community organisations, which will all receive download codes for MinecraftEdu, the educational version of the game.

(Update: August 2015)

More from BBC News: Northern Ireland teachers to attend training school in Stranmillis:

Topics covered in the camp include classroom leadership, e-safety, helping pupils with dyslexia, using Minecraft in teaching, pastoral care and effective science teaching.