It’s true…the Minecraft: Education Edition frenzy has finally hit the CA BOCES region in a big way over the past year-and-a-half. While Minecraft: Education Edition has been around for a few years now, many schools in our area are just now discovering the power and resourcefulness that comes with using it in the classroom.
When the pandemic hit in spring of 2020, a lot of teachers were forced to pivot to many online resources that might now have always been familiar to them. One of these software tools was Minecraft: Education Edition. The digital nature of Minecraft: Education Edition makes it an ideal tool for meeting students in an area they mostly enjoy (video games) and combines to form over 1,050 different pre-made lessons and activities of varying age levels, subject matter, and needed skill sets.
The lesson library (https://education.minecraft.net/en-us/resources/explore-lessons) is vast, fully-loaded, and includes some starter subject area kits to get started including lessons for Science, Math, Computer Science, History & Culture, Digital Citizenship, Social Emotional Learning, Equity & Inclusion, and much more.
Each lesson comes with student outcomes pre-determined, links to outside resources that might be referenced in the game, and even downloadable world files, as needed. Everything to get started is found here in this one-stop-shop for educators to browse, gather, and deploy.
Minecraft: Education Edition is free for Microsoft 365 schools, with the licensing coming alongside their M365 accounts. After downloading and installing the Minecraft: Education Edition software on their laptop or iPad, students login with their M365 credentials, and then can begin enjoying all the resource available.
Some lessons focus on the creativity side, like Build Challenges such as a Treehouse Building Challenge, a Pumpkin Carving Challenge, and more. Other lessons use the Minecraft worlds and blocks to create giant immersive worlds where students go on a journey to discover learning along the way, such as navigating their way through a plant and animal cell while seeing the organelles up close and a description of what each one does that they can add to their in-game journals.
It has been a hit with the students and teachers alike in the CA BOCES region thus far. More trainings are scheduled later this spring and summer, and we cannot wait to see what the teachers and students get to discover next!
By: Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Model Schools
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