At the opening of Microsoft’s Xbox booth at this year’s Gamescom conference in Cologne, German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted the need for improved learning practises for today’s children. “It is our duty to update all the conventional studying techniques for the new generation,” she said.
Chancellor Merkel went on to explore Microsoft’s Minecraft: Education Edition, which has proved itself to be a valuable, engaging learning tool. The solution can introduce a new approach to study and help children learn about a huge range of topics, from science, geography and history, to art, architecture, and much more.
Chancellor Merkel’s booth tour saw her participate in a demo in which a student built a helium atom, before filling a balloon with the newly created gas, allowing animals to fly – an observation that would certainly stand out more in a student’s mind than mere words in a textbook.
One student, Florian Wilhelm, also joined the Chancellor on stage, explaining the benefits of the game and how it helped them learn the characteristics of the different elements in the periodic table: “It is much easier to learn all these details and elements in chemistry with Minecraft”, to which the Chancellor replied “This is observable chemistry.”
Deirdre Quarnstrom, general manager of Minecraft: Education Edition also showed the Chancellor a few of the hundreds of lesson plans created by teachers from across the world, including lessons based on teaching economics, empathy, studying literature, and learning the German language.
“Educators and school leaders are looking for new ways to drive engagement in STEM learning, and research shows us that Minecraft’s unique ability to spark students’ creativity is a powerful way to do this,” Quarnstrom said. “The work of teachers like Mirek Hancl show that with tools like Minecraft in the hands of educators, we can inspire the next generation of creators, leaders and innovators. We know it’s engaging, we know it’s working and we know it’s reaching both boys and girls.”