Dive Brief:

  • Wabasha-Kellogg High School (MN) Spanish teacher Glen Irvin writes for EdTech: Focus on K-12 that Minecraft enhanced his language teaching efforts by allowing him to build virtual worlds where students could create and interact with one another while practicing Spanish vocabulary.
  • Irvin suggests that educators looking to utilize Minecraft in their curriculum can test the waters with short projects when starting out, having them write, for example, sentences about a place using the language that they're learning and then creating parts of that place in Minecraft. They can then create a virtual walkthrough that involves having them practice speaking that language in the narration.
  • Eventually, Irvin writes, he used Minecraft to create an immersive virtual role-playing game called “El Mundo de Leyendas,” in which students were required to communicate entirely in Spanish, and he notes that engagement with the Minecraft approach resulted in 100% assignment completion.

Dive Insight:

Minecraft has proven beneficial in a variety of learning environments in recent years due to its existing popularity with students and the malleability of its open-world sandbox design. Basically, the game is what the user makes it. To make things easier for educators, however, an edition specifically designed for the classroom is also available.

Perhaps the game's greatest benefit is that no matter what primary subject is being taught through its lens, it also offers secondary learning opportunities for SEL and creative thinking. As a Getting Smart report detailed in August, 97.7% of teachers surveyed cited problem-solving as the top skill imparted by the game, with additional positive impacts on students' creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, decision making, communication and empathy

How did a Spanish teacher boost engagement through Minecraft?