Our guest speaker, a teacher from Colquitz Middle School told us all about how she uses Minecraft in an educational environment. At Coquitz there is an enrichment class which is 80 minutes a week for 6 weeks, and minecraft is offered as a choice to the students who take it. They currently use EDU version of Minecraft. It does not have the newest updates because it is being maintained only. Microsoft accounts have not been approved for schools in BC yet due to privacy, but they should be available in the next couple of years.
As the admin of the server, the teacher has powers in the game including the ability to fly, summon a student, go to a student, disable abilities such as chat, build, change the world or mode, allow monsters, villagers, animals, weather effects, fire and TNT. They can also gift things to people such as special items.
Minecraft is used to simulate extreme environments, and survival mode used for team building tasks.
The lab is never quiet when the students are playing Minecraft.
These tasks require the students to use strategy (eg. gather wood, and then purposefully die and go back to spawn point). The game has built in consequences that model natural consequences. For example, if you eat raw chicken you can get food poisoning, and it doesn’t fill you up, while cooked chicken will fill you up and not make you sick. Students are required to figure out consequences for people who do not follow the rules, so that it’s not all on the teacher to discipline.