According to teams with Microsoft Roanoke County is among the world's top consumers of Minecraft globally. And teachers are using that to their advantage.
That includes second grade teacher Deede Clifford, who spent the day being the student.
“I can't believe more teachers don't use it,” she said of the game, “which is why I'm glad we're having more in-services so more teachers will be on board with it.”
She's getting trained by Microsoft teams on Minecraft in the school district's administration building.
“I simply click on that download icon,” said the instructor, leading them through an exercise.
Minecraft is the video gaming sensation every kid and a few teachers are raving about.
“They love it and they ask every day to do Minecraft.” Clifford said of her students, ‘like they never wanna miss school, because they're so afraid if they're gonna miss if we do something with Minecraft one day.”
“I have achieved celebrity status at the elementary school,” said Meg Swecker, a Technology Resource Teacher.
She's been using the educational version of Minecraft to teach students concepts they're already supposed to be learning about.
“There's a whole new way for them to be paying attention to what we want them to know,” she said.
The game is kind of like a hybrid of Tomagatchi and The Sims meets Legos: an interactive world where players have the freedom to build with an avatar.
For students that means using their imaginations to create the plant cells, maps and storybook scenes they're learning about.
Most recently, Swecker was using it to have students recreated the Jamestown settlement.
If it seems a little complicated, don't worry, say the teachers.
“You don't have to know anything, the kids will teach you,” Clifford said. Which is really cool!”
The kids think it's cool too, which is why these teachers are more than willing to meet them halfway.