Over the last twelve months, Microsoft has been heavily investing in technologies that will transform the classroom, and one of the most popular of these technologies has been Minecraft.
In a new blog post, Microsoft’s vice president of worldwide education, Anthony Salcito, explains that by creating a virtual world and then advancing in it, students can learn digital citizenship, empathy, social skills and even improve their literacy – while getting real time feedback on their problem solving skills from the teacher. “More than 7,000 classrooms in more than 40 countries around the world are already using Minecraft,” he says.
Salcito highlights how Alfriston College students in New Zealand are partnering with Auckland War Memorial Museum to learn the history of the New Zealand people who served in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign by re-creating the landscape in Minecraft, block by block. Meanwhile, middle schoolers are learning the building blocks of computer science in an online Minecraft coding camp. Elementary students in Scotland are learning about city planning and engineering by reimaging, redesigning and then building in Minecraft what they think Dundee waterfront should look like.
Recognising the popularity of the technology, Microsoft is acquiring MinecraftEdu and investing in a new and expanded version of Minecraft for the classroom called Minecraft Education Edition.
“Minecraft Education Edition will be shaped by a growing community of educators throughout its development this spring and through the educator community online at http://education.minecraft.net,” Salcito says. “I’m happy to share that this site will also boast a new Minecraft Mentors programme, matching educators with experience using Minecraft in the classroom with those looking to try it for the first time.”
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