My niece and nephew are straight up addicted to Minecraft, so I thought to myself, “Self, what are your thoughts on how to use Minecraft for learning?” Good news, everybody! I answered my self this time! This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own.
How to Use Minecraft for Learning? It’s Easy.
Believe it or not, the pixelated cube world of Minecraft is one that’s chock full of learning opportunities. With all of the various mods, texture packs, and skins out there, plus the survival and creative mods of this game, there’s no end to the brain work that kids can do.
Texture packs are a great way to address the question of how to use Minecraft for learning. Texture packs are files that must be installed into what’s called a jar file. These texture packs change the look of Minecraft. How is this learning? Simple. Installing these texture packs requires your kids to navigate files and folders, get into the guts of Minecraft and alter certain files. It’s a simple process that is at the same time requires quite a bit of thinking.
Survival mode is another way that Minecraft can help stimulate your kids’ brains. In survival mode, you have to search for resources, use those resources to build objects that are required to get better resources, and ultimately build. All of this is a ton of fun, but it also requires a lot of thinking. How many wood blocks do I need to make wooden planks? How many wooden planks and blocks of wool do I need to make a bed? Does this ravine look like it could lead to a cave system? Oh look! I’ve got tons of resources. Time to plan the layout for my castle. Survival mode is the ultimate in answering the question of how to use Minecraft for educational purposes. Everything I just addressed requires situational awareness, critical thinking, math, and problem solving.
Creative mode is another good option when trying to decide how to use Minecraft for learning. In creative mode, you’re invincible, you can fly, and there are no enemies. But wait. Didn’t I just say that survival mode was great for making Minecraft a learning experience? I did, but creative mode has it’s merits, too. In creative mode, you focus on building. Building anything. Building everything. With whatever block you choose. And there are a GAZILLION blocks. Whether you’re building a castle with a moat, a pyramid, a town, or a rail system – yes I said rail system – it’s all imagination all the time. Creative mode gets the old Minecraft imagination cranked into overdrive. It also requires decision making, spacial awareness, and, in the case of red stone triggers and railway systems, some pretty heavy critical thinking.
If you have little Minecraft addicts in your house – and I know you do – challenge maps are another big one on my list of how to use Minecraft for learning. Challenge maps are just that – challenges. Living with Minecraft fiends, you’ve probably heard of Captain Sparklez. He’s a guy who does youtube videos of challenge maps. These maps require a massive amount of creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving. For example, one of the maps he did was a tiny floating world with nothing but a tree and some water. From that, he had to figure out how to get food, create stone, protect himself from monsters, and more.
These are ideas or assignments that you can give to your kids to make Minecraft a learning experience as well as keep it entertaining. Think about challenges you can give your kids. This an interactive approach to how to use Minecraft for learning. For example, ask them to build a maze for either you or their sibling to navigate. Maybe you’d like them to build a fully functioning house. Or how about seeing who can find the most of a certain kind of resource in a set amount of time. This keeps it fun and stimulating.
When addressing the question of how to use Minecraft for learning, there are many ways to approach it. It’s all about creativity on your part and on your kid’s part. Minecraft is an excellent vehicle for brain stimulation, so even though it gets super annoying to listen to the kids drone on and on about it, use it to your advantage!