Students in the Peace Wapiti School Division are using the world of Minecraft to learn. The popular video game is used as a learning tool primarily in grade 3-6 classrooms across the school division. Teachers who request access are using the game as a cross-curricular technological tool to teach math concepts, story concepts, and art designs, along with other concepts. Grade 6 teacher at Robert W. Zahara School in Sexsmith Robyn Allen says the lessons and creativity learned by using Minecraft will help students as they head into high school and even into post-secondary.
“There are several pre-made worlds and code-building programs built into the game for students to explore and the Minecraft Education team has various opportunities for teacher professional development and whole class lessons,” Allen says.
A positive from classes using the video game as a teaching tool is the student’s engagement. According to Allen, many students aren’t familiar with the game at first but they end up looking forward to their Minecraft education time where they build together and alone, as well as express their creativity digitally.
“They teach each other and learn through the experience of playing together. It is a great addition to the concept of gamifying the classroom. As a class, we set expectations for play, making the rules that all students follow together so Minecraft time can be structured, purposeful and fun.”
Last week Information Technology Coordinator for the school division Darcy Bromling presented his annual report to the school board, highlighting the division’s need to increase its wireless network capacity. The capacity was increased once already heading into the 2022/2023 school year from 360 MB to 450 MB. However, Bromling says the IT department has seen an average annual increase in MB by 20%. The increase in MB is contributed to the thousands of devices that are connected to the division’s network each day, including the Chromebooks used in classrooms, and apps like Minecraft being used in the classrooms.
Minecraft is currently being used as a teaching tool in 20 schools across the division.