Minecraft never ceases to amaze. The famous sandbox game developed by Markus Persson (founder of Mojang) in 2011 and launched worldwide with such success that Mojang itself was then bought by Microsoft in 2014 for about 2.5 billion dollars, for a while, is the focus of the debate of many parents and teachers who wonder whether it is good that the kids spend a lot of time before this “virtual Lego” or whether it is better to switch off and let them do sports and other “real” recreational activities.
Without going into the controversy “videogames yes or not”, let’s try to understand what can Minecraft serve from educational point of view and how it works. As for the development of cognitive skills, Minecraft can be used to develop complex numerical problems as the calculation of areas, perimeters and volumes of virtual 3D buildings that every player realizes in “creative mode” (in “survival mode”, instead, you can fight with other players, computer-generated or connected online).
Different environments to interact with
Minecraft proposes different environments, from the forests to the sea, from the countryside to deserts, so that little boys are taken to consciously interact with the surrounding environment and this can improve their “green” awareness. Also the animals that are on Minecraft should be looked after (just as happens in other famous social game as Farmville) and this is helpful too.
The blocks used to build in Minecraft have different properties depending on the “virtual” material of which they consist, and this gives an opportunity to find out how these materials are made and are used in real life: iron and gold, in Minecraft, are, moreover, made by melting rocks, while glass can be created by overheating the sand. With the “red stone” particularly players can realize a sort of electrical circuit and animate switches, opening and closing doors or create roller coasters and railways.
The importance of Minecraft mods
Thanks to mods made by experienced players, with Minecraft young boys can admire the reproductions of important monuments real or fantastic and from there get ideas for further reading historical or literary. If then the players will want, there is also a special software, LernToMod to learn how to create a mod, while thanks to CanaryMod and Scriptcraft the one who wants to, can learn to generate Java scripts.
If you wish to realize with your own eyes how Minecraft for enabling this, here’s a video to enjoy. If you want to be informed about news related to Minecraft but also to other social games or virtual worlds, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, also through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is even on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it and on Paper.li, as well as on Youtube).