Few educators would be surprised to learn that Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time. Chances are, they know more than a few students who’ve spent countless hours mining and building in the popular virtual world.
What might surprise some educators, however, are the many ways Minecraft Education can be used in school to teach essential skills.
Minecraft Education, the education version of the creative, collaborative game, is specifically designed with features and content that make Minecraft easy to use in a classroom setting. With Minecraft Education, learners not only have all the resources to explore and build, educators have all the tools they need to support collaboration, assessment, coding and more. In fact, there are more than 600 standards-aligned lessons to engage students across the curriculum, from STEM, coding, digital citizenship and responsible AI use to history, language arts, and digital skills. It has been hugely popular with educators and students since it was released in 2016.
The collaborative game, hugely popular since its release in 2016, fosters team-building and problem-solving and develops many other competencies. Here are just a few of the skills educators are teaching using Minecraft Education.
In a digitally connected world, it’s important to cultivate the five competencies of digital citizenship: achieving balance, staying informed, being inclusive, remaining engaged, and staying alert. Educators in Miami Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) use Minecraft to instill essential digital citizenship and cyber-skills across their system, leading to job and career opportunities.
MDCPS integrates Minecraft’s cyber and digital citizenship skills throughout its traditional, magnet and career and technical education programs, expanding access to young learners in grades 3-12.
From events, such as Safer Internet Day, to integrating Minecraft cyber experiences into computer science and introductory cybersecurity courses. Most recently, the district partnered with Minecraft Education and Florida International University in a CyberFlorida grant focused on building teacher capacity in cyber education. Educators attended a weeklong professional learning cohort of 45 middle and high school teachers to learn Minecraft’s innovative cyber pathway and integrate it into their curriculum. Results from the grant demonstrated that Minecraft’s content was not only highly engaging but also viewed as a powerful teaching tool.
Computer Science and AI
Understanding computer science and artificial intelligence is crucial for today’s students who will enter a workforce driven by AI. Minecraft is becoming a dynamic platform for teaching skills related to computer science and AI.
The NYC Department of Education and Urban Arts introduce computational thinking, coding and AI to students with multiple transformative computer science learning initiatives focused on harnessing creativity and coding.
The district has integrated Minecraft’s CS progression in its CS4All program, building teacher skills in coding with Minecraft and introducing computational thinking and early coding skills in its elementary schools. Minecraft’s Generation AI learning experience for the Hour of Code was its most played tutorial, teaching tens of thousands of students responsible AI use. The district is launching “Creative Coders” with Urban Arts, part of a national Education and Innovation Research grant. Using Minecraft’s GameCode and Cyber curriculum, students from the district’s middle schools will design and code their own mini-games and build arcades in Minecraft, showcasing and sharing their games at the Battle of the Boroughs, NYC’s annual Minecraft esports competition.
For years students have been using digital tools to interact with peers across town or around the globe on solving real-world problems. But what about connecting with peers on Minecraft? Students from Los Angeles and Calgary engaged in projects related to sustainable urban design and city planning, fostering cross-curricular connections and encouraging active citizenship in their communities.
In the Reinventing Cities programs with C40, students in Toronto will redesign their schools for a better future, harnessing the limitless potential of Minecraft and giving voice and agency to how young people can redesign and innovate their community’s future.
In Level Up Los Angeles, LAUSD has partnered with Minecraft Education and launched a two-level esports competition. All PK-12 classrooms are invited to embark on an epic adventure and get ready to collaborate, compete and reshape the future of Los Angeles to help their city thrive in the midst of climate change.
Team Building Through Esports
From informal after-school clubs to highly organized and competitive high school leagues, esports is becoming increasingly popular in schools throughout the country. The benefits of an esports program are many. They appeal to many kids who otherwise wouldn’t be involved in school activities while promoting interest in STEM subjects.
In New York City, a districtwide Minecraft esports competition called Battle of the Bulge, has attracted over 1 million students, shaping the future of scholastic esports in the city.
Every school subject presents an opportunity for hands-on STEM learning, building literacy and identity in STEM for all students — and Minecraft can help engage students who don’t consider STEM an option for them.
Hillsborough County Public Schools in Florida is pioneering an approach that uses Minecraft to integrate STEM learning to build student skills for the future.
Hillsborough’s approach to STEM education includes using a network of collaborative partnerships, including institutes of higher education, business partners, philanthropic organizations and many STEM-rich cultural institutions. Through the use of experiential hands-on learning with Minecraft and cross-curricular collaborations, students of HCPS are prepared for college and career success.
Register for Level Up Learning
Learn more about the many ways Minecraft Education inspires creativity, teaches digital age skills and helps students learn collaborative skills in the Level Up Learning webinar series presented by Microsoft. Each of the five webinars focus on a different Minecraft theme and is presented by educators who have used Minecraft in educational settings.
Digital Citizenship and Cyber Fluency: Dr. Lupe Diaz, executive director of the Department of Career and Technical Education for Miami-Dade County Public Schools; and Carlos Vazquez, founder and CEO of Miami EdTech and GoSprout, will present this topic on Feb. 6.
Global Citizenship: Educators from the Los Angeles Unified School District and Calgary Board of Education will discuss how to use Minecraft to encourage students to become active citizens in their communities, on April 2.
Esports Webinar: Leaders from the New York City Department of Education discuss a districtwide Minecraft esports competition, on April 30.
STEM Literacy: Leaders Hillsborough County Public Schools will share how they use Minecraft Education to integrate STEM across all curricula, on May 28.
Laylah Bulman is a senior program manager and executive game producer at Microsoft for Minecraft Education. She has over 15 years of experience in immersive, game-based education and classroom teaching and leads strategy, content and new product development, reaching over 200 million students and teachers globally. Her achievements include launching the first statewide scholastic esports league and building significant educational partnerships, earning her recognition among the Top 100 EdTech Influencers. Her extensive background enriches her commitment to innovating education through gaming, computer science and esports.