Today a group of students from Colquitz Middle School and Spectrum High School came to our class to inform us about the educational benefits Minecraft creates within a classroom setting. Heidi James, a grade 7 teacher at Colquitz Middle School, introduced the Educational Version of Minecraft into her school a few years ago to allow students the option of creating projects in the world of Minecraft. Minecraft EDU is fairly new to school district 61, as it has only been implemented within schools in the last two years using a Microsoft server. There is a plethora of stereotypes surrounding gaming especially during school time, but the educational edition of Minecraft is a quality tool with meaningful purpose.

As a class, we were walked through a beginners tutorial of how to operate the game; before this I have had no prior experiences with Minecraft. It took me a few minutes to get the functions down, such as, how to jump, climb up a ladder, dig for resources, etc. While we were playing, we were in a student role. Playing as a teacher gives you different privileges and settings that you can opt to provide your students with or without. When in a teacher role, you can teleport and fly, which is useful when assessing students work. Teachers also have the ability to send students gifts, freeze their screen, change the weather, introduce villagers and monsters, enable chat within the game, and decrease or increase the level of difficulty.

As a class we brainstormed ways Minecraft could be used in educational ways:

  • spelling
  • creating civilizations in the social studies curriculum
  • developing communication and teamwork skills
  • science and/or physics
  • Architecture – building houses
  • pixel art
  • math: creating/recognizing patterns and x, y coordinates

Minecraft is an excellent way to introduce students to a new, exciting form of technology in a way that motivates and innovates students to work hard and remain on task. While this game can be used for an entire class project, not everyone has to partake. Just allowing the option for certain students to explore the functions and creativity of Minecraft for a project is completely fine. Before today I would never have guessed Minecraft would be considered as an appropriate way to use technology within a school. I find it fascinating the way teachers nowadays are going above and beyond to find different ways to present information rather than the traditional ways of posters and dioramas.

Lastly, before class ended, we touched on the concept and purpose of EdCamp, that being to gather educators in a room to talk about relevant topics that hold interest. We were asked to brainstorm different topics relating to education and vote on the ideas we liked the best. There were four topics to choose from; you picked the one you wanted to discuss and went to the location correlated to a specific topic of conversation. I chose to discuss how as teachers we need to make sure our students are receiving healthy, decent lunches. Other groups talked about mental health awareness and inclusion techniques within the classroom.


Photo attribution:

Education Edition 1.2- Official Minecraft wiki. Source: