Tuesday, 7 July 2015


ABC online

Teachers should use the hugely popular children's digital game Minecraft to help teach maths, design, art and geography, research from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) shows.

For years studies have warned of the dangers of letting children have too much time on electronic devices.

But researchers at QUT have urged educators to embrace the game, which is hugely popular with primary school children, to assist their learning.

Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni said his research has shown that Minecraft should not be limited to children's playtime.

"I've had the opportunity over the last couple of years to work with a couple of schools using Minecraft in the classroom," he said.

Professor Dezuanni said the game is not violent and teaches teamwork and resilience.

"It's best to think of it as a sort of digital lego," he said.

"You enter a world and you have to gather blocks which become your resources, you do that by mining, and each of those items is a block.

"You then craft those mines into various items. You start off with the basics and over time you develop more resources so you can do more in the game. The ultimate objective is to build more impressive structures.

"You actually can't really win Minecraft. You get to share what you've created with others."

Last year, YouTube reported that Minecraft was the second most searched for term after "Frozen".

The game is also proving particularly useful for children who are not responding well to traditional classroom teaching, Professor Dezuanni said.

"One of the things that teachers were most excited about, was that it involved students who weren't traditionally successful in the classroom, so suddenly these students were successful, the other students saw them as leaders in the classroom," he said.

"They saw that they could learn something from those students and it turned the tables in many ways in terms of who were the high achieving students in the class. So it absolutely helped the students develop their self-esteem as learners.

"Too often we are told that we need to go back to basics and that's fine, certainly we do need basics in the classroom. But at the same time we need digital basics as well."

We have had Minecraft on our iPads at Glen Park for 3 years. it is something the kids dip in and out of.It was popular just before the school holidays along with the Jurassic World park builder app.

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