Microsoft seems to believe that their popular open world building game “Minecraft” has a huge potential in education. This belief is apparently fuelled by actual experiences of classroom teachers who have used or are using the game to foster creative thinking and help kids in class learn better through technology.
According to a report in Tech Times, it is because of these experiences that Microsoft is setting up a portal where teachers and educators can share examples of what they are doing in the classroom and how they are using the game as a tool for teaching and learning.
The Microsoft in Education team is going to launch a new forum called Minecraft in Education specifically for this purpose. Elementary school teachers who use the game to teach mathematical concepts such as area, perimeter and volume can post what kind of activities they ask their students to do. Middle school teachers who come up with a more interesting way to teach history or ancient civilizations through the game may also share how they do it. College professors who have explored how groups of students can collaborate on a Minecraft-based project may also have something interesting to post as well.
The game's open world sandbox gameplay allows its players and in this case, the students to do whatever they want within educational parameters of course. The report said that the “only limit in the game is the user's imagination” thereby allowing students to “reimagine art, master problem-solving skills and explore their own creativity.” Given the game's possible use in collaborative building projects, it also fosters communication and problem-solving skills among the students.
Minecraft is just one of the tools that the company wants educators to use in the classroom. This and other technology tools such as Office 365 and Bing Pulse will be showcased by the company during the International Society for Technology in Education Conference in Philadelphia from June 29 to July 1.