Not only is Minecraft one of the most popular games on the planet, but the block-based building game has also been used to teach more than 85 million students basic coding concepts and computer science.
Minecraft has been a part of three different Hour of Code teaching initiatives and quickly became one of the most popular activities, no doubt because students were already familiar with the game, or if this was their first encounter with Minecraft, fell in love with its easy to pick up mechanics.
Code.org cites Minecraft‘s “vast virtual world” and “just enough structure in its uniform blocks and limited types” to help promote teaching of basic computer science concepts, but also algebra, chemistry, or this writer's own field, history.
One Maine elementary school teacher, Mike Harvey, uses Minecraft in his own Code.org curriculum and praises the game's “recognizable characters, elements, and event sounds” as attractive ways to get students interested in coding.
Coding has become one of the most popular extracurricular activities in schools, with many districts opting to add full-time, or mandatory coding requirements into its everyday curriculum. And while AP Computer Science programs don't need to be the ultimate goal here, getting elementary school level kids interested in coding will hopefully set them up for a future in the widely expanding coding market in the future.