We believe that Minecraft Education Edition is the perfect tool to bring education in the classroom to the 21st century. Minecraft is a lego type computer game, where players are able to create various constructions from different building blocks. In 2016 the game was adapted for schools with the release of Minecraft Education Edition. This new version of the old game includes both administrational tools for teachers to have control over their lessons, but also subject related modules (like programming or chemistry).
Here are the main advantages of using Minecraft as a teaching tool:
We would be able to provide a solution to the challenge "Promoting design thinking in education". Our goals align closely with the ones of the Challenge Owner. Design thinking is intrinsic to successfully deploying Minecraft as an educational tool by the teachers, which is exactly why teacher trainings are an integral part of our solution. At the same time, being a sandbox game, Minecraft is fosters design thinking in children as they have find creative solutions in the game environment.
There are two main components that comprise our solution:
In essence, Minecraft Education Edition is relatively easy to use. There are various tutorials that can get a teacher up and running. However, our experience so far shows that only really creative and motivated teachers are able to start using it individually. The main reason is a generation gap resulting in lack of general computer skills and gaming experience in particular.
When we do trainings for teachers we start with a basic intro into gaming, how to use WASD keys and mouse at the same time. With such an introduction the teachers are much better prepared when we go into the specifics of using Minecraft in the classroom.
During our trainings teachers:
The business model for the training is pretty straightforward. Most of the countries have allocated budgets for teacher trainings and our aim is to tap into them by partnering up with local training companies.
Even though Minecraft Education Edition is a product that can be used straight out of the box, we have already observed that the lack of prepared material creates a barrier for adoption. There is a need for an equivalent of a textbook or homework material to increase adoption as the teachers are getting familiar with the new tool.
For this we intend to create batches of exercises and lesson plans for different subjects all set in the Minecraft Education Edition environment. The exact subject and grades are up for discussion with respect to the local circumstances of the Challenge Owners.
For the monetisation and distribution of these educational materials we intend to partner up with one or more educational publishers in the local market. We are currently such a partner in Lithuania where we are testing Minecraft homework for primary school students. The educational publishers of textbooks are interested in such solutions as the competition and public pressure drives them to look for new and innovative educational material that would replace the paper textbooks or workbooks.
A big benefit of using Minecraft in schools is that it is owned by Microsoft. It is currently investing a lot in the education edition of the game with constant updates and improvements, community building activities and certified trainings. They have a long-term strategy to support this product.