Minecraft’s Six Principles of Game-based Learning

  • The failure dynamic, fail early, fail often. Teach students to take risks in a safe environment- a game.
  • The flexibility dynamic. Provide multiple paths to success. Old school video games had one way to win. Newer “sandbox” games are more open.
  • The construction dynamic. Build something that matters. Students want to create things with a purpose. Minecraft lets them create something difficult and worthwhile.
  • The situated meaning. Learn new ideas by experiencing them. Students learn vocabulary in real-time, as it pertains to playing with others in the game; or learn math as they understand construction.
  • Systems thinking. Learn how all pieces can fit or be fitted. Games help players see how their actions fit into the bigger picture, not just the individual.
  • Build empathy. Bring players together to learn a common goal. By communicating and working together, players build empathy through their avatars by raising awareness of local or global goals.

(via Minecraft: Education Edition: Teacher Academy)

I’m brushing up on my Minecraft, Roblox, and Fortnite skills because I’ll be teaching in each of these soon. I went down this path a few years ago to each at our learning center, but then COVID came and shifted everything online. It’s taken too long for me to get back on track with this.

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