Exploring Game Based Learning: Minecraft #gbl

Game-based learning (or #gbl), is a growing trend in education. Gaining strength right beside gaming, is an increased interest in what have been dubbed "The 4 C's"—creativity in particular.  It's not difficult to see a link between the two. In the words of creativity guru Roger von Oech, "Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father."

In a recent article, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction and Apple Distinguished Educator Courtney Pepe, shared "4 games worth trying" for introducing gaming in the classroom. Among her four picks, was Minecraft, a popular game where individuals dig (mine) and build (craft) 3D blocks in an imaginary world.

Pepe includes a fun example from Matthew Farber, a Social Studies teacher, who uses the game for project-based learning on American colonies by having students use Minecraft to "create worlds that are reflective of the original 13 colonies including crops, climate, and societal structure. They then create videos intended to showcase their understanding of their colonies." (see sample student video via vimeo).

Intrigued? (We sure were!)

If you are interested in trying out Minecraft in your classroom, be sure to check out Atomic Learning's new series Minecraft and Project-Based Learning which guides you through the basics using Craft-Academy—an easy-to-implement project-based approach to educating with Minecraft, developed by teachers and students.

And, for a live, hands-on experience, be sure to register for our upcoming webinar within Chris Miko of Craft-Academy on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM CDT. By the end of the session, you will have a solid foundational understanding of how to get started with Minecraft. (To fully participate, you'll need a Minecraft account—educators can purchase a license from MinecraftEdu for $18 at https://minecraftedu.com/purchase—but if you would prefer to just observe we're good with that too.)

FAQ's:

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE THE MINECRAFT SERVER LICENSE?

No, just the individual license.  You’ll be given access to the presenter’s server during the webinar.  If the checkout process is showing the Minecraft server, you need to change the quantity on the server license from 1 to 0 (it defaults to 1).

DO I NEED A MINECRAFT EDU LICENSE OR IS MY REGULAR MINECRAFT LICENSE OK?

You can use either.  Purchasing the edu license is merely a discounted option.  If you have an existing Minecraft username, that’s just fine!

I ACCESS MINECRAFT ON MY XBOX.  IS THAT OK?

The server we’ll be using only allows for the PC or Mac desktop version.

IS MINECRAFT AVAILABLE ON ATOMIC LEARNING?

We’ve just added a new training series on Minecraft in the Classroom.  It can be found at http://www.atomiclearning.com/k12/minecraft-project-based-learning-training.

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