This article describes the effectiveness of using the game Minecraft in a unit of inquiry.
I am not a gamer like my husband, but I became interested in Minecraft when it was all I heard about from a group of my students. They had joined the ECA last year for Minecraft and were pretty disappointed when they could not get into the second session.
My husband, who is the technology facilitator at ISS, and I started talking about how we could integrate Minecraft into one of our grade 3 PYP units of inquiry under the transdisciplinary theme: How we organize ourselves. The previous year we looked at systems in this unit but failed to bring it all together into a community of students who were collaborative, organized, and creative. Minecraft brought these skills and attitudes to the unit along with a whole lot more.
We have recently presented our unit of inquiry at the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong. (Click here to see our presentation). After reflecting on the unit with my grade 3 team in our PYP unit planner and sharing our journey at the conference in Hong Kong, I am better able to reflect on my own thoughts regarding the unit and how to improve it for next year.
- Students were engaged.
- Minecraft was relevant to them as some have played it before.
- Minecraft was also challenging to others who have not played it before and it was designed a bit different to what regular players were used to.
- The social skills of respecting others, resolving conflicts, group decision making, and cooperation were at the heart of this unit. These skills were developed and reflected on throughout the unit.
- The self-management skills of organization and time management were also needed and developed during this unit.
- Student who normally did not choose to work together found themselves communicating and working together collaboratively.
- The creativity of the students in the design of their building/system shined.
- The positive relationships built in the online learning spaces.
What did not work:
- More integration and connection to math would be beneficial. A unit on measurement would work with regards to planning the draft of the community on graph paper, focusing on size/scale.
- Continue to reflect on unit, including tuning in stage, learning experiences, and reflections so that the concepts are driving the unit.
I am happy to see more points for ‘what worked’. However, I know that addressing those points for ‘what didn’t work’ is crucial to improving the unit and maximizing the strengths of the unit.
I am excited to see where this Minecraft journey will take me and would love to hear about your journey with Minecraft and any integration into the classroom you can share.
To view more of my student’s work in their Minecraft world, visit our class blog at http://g3ss.weebly.com (student videos).
Sharyn Skrtic is an international primary school teacher whose career started in Cleveland, Ohio, teaching grade 2. She has taught in Düsseldorf, Germany, Hong Kong, and she is currently teaching grade 3 in Singapore at International School in Singapore (ISS). Sharyn enjoys teaching and she is passionate about differentiation, assessment, and technology. She blogs at sharynideas.com and tweets @Shaza33.
The original article can be found in Sharyn’s blog here.