How Mine Craft Can help Students

I was away in class this week due to teaching a physical education lesson so I decided to research gaming, mine craft and digital literacy like this in classrooms. This is a bit of a controversial topic because many people see games likes mine craft as “video games”, they are associated a long the same lines as any violent brain sucking game and this isn’t true.

The argument against video games is one that started from the very beginning of gaming and the reasoning for it is because they really are captivating and attention grabbing. I have played mine craft a few times and while I think that balance is definitely needed there are some really cool things about it. Contrary to other video games that have strict rules and linear event progressions, Minecraft is an open environment that doesn’t come built-in with structured quests. This means that youngsters can roam through this world and explore without an urgent set of tasks. However, they are still challenged by loose survival requirements, such as feeding their avatars, building shelter, or warding off enemies (giant spiders or green “Creepers”). Children are free to make mistake and succeed in the world of Minecraft.

Mine craft is also a huge creativity and teamwork outlet. Children can play for long hours on solo missions. But families can also set up personal servers, so that other friends and family members can join in on the fun. Parents can also download custom Minecraft maps, such as multiplayer adventures. Psychologists have been researching video games as a way to build social skills, since children get to engage with one another to overcome obstacles and achieve success. In an American Psychological article, Dr. Isabela Granic describes studies that reveal “People who play video games…that encourage cooperation are more likely to be helpful to others while gaming than those who play the same games competitively.

In conclusion I think that we need to be using technology properly and progressively. While students should not spend hours on the screen, there are many benefits to the game if it is balanced done with creative purpose in mind