What can you learn from games anyway?

I love video games and I love the lessons that they can teach to kids. So what can we learn? Well obviously a game geared towards math can teach a kid math but that is not what this post is focusing on. What I want to focus on are the FIVE MAJOR skills that you can learn when playing video games such as League of Legends, World of Warcraft, and Minecraft (keep in mind that not all games do these things so you need to be selective):

  1. You will lose. You cannot always win and games teach you that you will lose. I believe this is great because in today’s watered down culture we give kids trophies for trying in addition to winning. Games do not work that way. You only get the prize if you win. This is an important lesson that needs to be fully understood by kids so they know that they need to work hard to win in life.
  2. Problem solving. You will learn to problem solve. You don’t like losing? Guess what, you need to keep playing and practicing to get better just like real life.
  3. Teamwork. This is a skill that kids learn in sports. You cannot win a game by yourself. However, not all kids play sports. If a kid does not play sports I would definitely make sure they learn teamwork from a very young age and multiplayer games are a great way to accomplish this.
  4. Communication. You have to communicate with your team virtual in games. This is a great skill as many jobs are now virtual and you need to communicate with team mates, a boss, and clients in a virtual environment. You will learn how to greet, sign on/off, and online speak in general.
  5. Your imagination is the limit. Games like minecraft allow you to build and construct. Literally your imagination is the limit. This teaches kids to invent and create things that are not there. This thinking outside of the box is a skill that managers want and a skill that innovators like Bill Gates have.

Create a custom lesson or activity in minecraft

So you want to create a custom game or lesson in minecraft? Here are the steps.

1. First you need to create your seed. A seed is your world. Minecraft automatically generates one for you but this tutorials walks you through creating one yourself:

http://www.howtogeek.com/school/htg-guide-to-minecraft/lesson12/

2. Learning how to craft. You need to learn how to make your world. Use this guide which shows you how to create simple mining tools to buttons and levers.

http://www.minecraft-craftingguide.com/index.html

3. Once you know how to craft you need to decide what you want to do. What are your goals? There are so many things to do that its impossible to post even 1% of them here. Once you know what you want to do you need to find tutorials to help you. Fortunately the minecraft community is huge so there are tons out there. For example, here is a good tutorial on how to create a quest in minecraft:

4. Once you have created your world you need to share it. How can you do that? You can use a server or let people download your files. To share your files with others, check out the following tutorial:

http://www.howtogeek.com/school/htg-guide-to-minecraft/lesson13/

Microsoft buy Minecraft

Yes the rumors have finally been confirmed. MS has bought Mojang for 2.5 billion. What are my thoughts on this? Well I think MS is doing a lot of cool things so I am excited. Actually not much in minecraft will really change. Skype hasn’t really changed much imo since MS acquired them several years ago.

 

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/15/technology/minecraft-microsoft/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

Minecraft in Education

Last night in my Gaming and Simulation class my students had the opportunity to play Minecraft (Now they are busy writing lesson plans on the game). Here is a nice video which very quick summarizes some of the uses Minecraft has in education

Minecraft in Education

Check out the minecraftinschool wiki created by Lucas Gillispie (a former student in the MIT program at UNCW). This blog discusses how to set up minecraft for your classroom, provides sample projects, lessons plans, and even has sample student projects. This is very well done and I encourage you to check it out: http://minecraftinschool.pbworks.com/w/page/37244189/FrontPage

Here is just one of the many videos Lucas has created for minecraft in his classroom (many more on the page above)

For those that are new to minecraft, check out this video:

Minecraft coming to xbox 360!

Very exciting news. This is one game that has been making its way into classroom across the nation. I will be using this game in my Gaming and Simulation class next spring! It will be on xbox May 9th for $20. I do think that price is a little steep though.

http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/22/minecraft-for-xbox-360-on-may-9th/