Could Minecraft hold the key to the future of how kids learn…?

Mminecraft pic

 

‘That is it I have got it, the future if education is Minecraft’ I say to my husband then he looks at me across the kitchen coffee in hand, ‘erm, am not sure you are right there’ he says. I am not sure I am right  either but I think I am on to something. I then go on to tell him that a university in the UK aims to teach children biochemistry using Minecraft and he thinks about that.

The reason for my revelation is this. Well there are many reasons, one of them being that I realise that so many children totally and utterly love the game. If Minecraft was a person she or he would have a lot of friends.

The thing that I noticed is this, the learning goes beyond Minecraft. Here is an example, our kids are talking to a girl in Slovenia this morning, she is eleven and fluent in English with a slight Slovenian/American accent. I butt in and ask her how she learnt English, she said she learnt a little at school. But really she learnt through Minecraft. She also talks with her friends around the world and they correct her. She writes on Minecraft and she also watches youtube videos about Minecraft. I make the assumption that her parents are good at English and she says they can’t speak English and she tells me that she thinks English is the future. That she loves English. She also says her parents are quite old then we find out that one of them is younger than us.

I try to think what was the thing when I was young, Pac Man? Asteroids? Space Invaders? That is what I was doing.

Then there is poetry and Minecraft. Poet Victoria Bennet and digital artist Adam Clarke have worked together using Minecraft as a form of expression and storytelling this beautiful poem. My Mother’s House was inspired by the poet caring for her terminally ill mother. For me this is a way to understand Minecraft as I love poetry and for the children maybe it is a way to understand poetry as they love Minecraft, I feel like we are on the edge of something, a wave of incredible learning and it is changing fast. I think that the younger generation, especially the digitally switched on unschoolers ( I say unschoolers mainly as they have more time to explore technology)  are learning in a way that I possibly don’t one hundred percent understand, there is something about this that I find extremely beautiful and exciting.

There is a wave of change happening. So could Minecraft be the future of education? Or could it get sucked up in to the world of having to learn and get turned in to something it isn’t? Or is education moving so fast right now that we can’t even see it happening and the kids, like our Slovenian friend are learning on their own and more than anything they are not even noticing that they are learning they are just loving it!

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About the Author

Lehla is an illustrator and an author of books, she has written for The Guardian. She trained as an actress at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She wrote The South African Illustrated Cookbook, The Lovely Book for Wonderful Women and she illustrated a kid’s book by M.J. Amani called ‘Excuse Me, I’m Trying to Read’ and also ‘I am Me, You, Us and We’ by Caroline Trowbridge. Above all she is a mother to three fast growing kids, she juggles her time between them and working on new books and projects. She has recently co authored with Anthony ‘Jump’, Fall, Fly – from schooling, to homeschooling, to unschooling’ Her art work can be seen at http://lehlaeldridge.wix.com/lehla-

5 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Lynda Carter says:

    My son learned how to read at 6 playing Minecraft. He continues to ask how to spell new words all of the time so he can make new signs.

  2. Kara Lanctot says:

    It’s true… now with spelling my son tells where he saw the word and what it means, almost always from Mindcraft. His neurologist (he has some issues) said no to all movies and games except he feels Mindcraft is helpful in developing pathways in his brain. So he’s happily indulging.

  3. Yes, I think Minecraft is amazing and there is so much going on that I struggle to follow!

  4. Yes, the signs!! Also I don’t know if this is the same when you open Minecraft but the music is gentle piano music…very clever…adult friendly music..

  5. Naomi Buck says:

    I’ll be honest, in the beginning, I’m super skeptical of things like this. I’m a fellow unschooler, don’t get me wrong, but I also know people can get… caught up in the ‘next best thing.’ And I’m a little suspicious of technology myself. Its not that I don’t believe its helpful. And I know there is an infinite amount of knowledge on the internet. No, its how easily distracted I get. How much time I can waste. And how removed from reality it seems.

    Nevertheless, your point about the Slovenian girl really resonated with me.

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