How to meet expectations when using Minecraft in school
This is a post that I wrote when I was project manager for a project called ”Minecraft Classes” in Sweden. A project I taught teachers who’ve never played Minecraft to use it in their classroom. How to meet the students expectations when it came to using Minecraft were the teachers biggest concern.
How do you meet the expectations that the students have when you start using Minecraft in your classroom? A game that many students love playing almost daily. How can teachers create something that meets all the requirements and expectations that students have when they imagine playing a game like Minecraft in school? The simple answer is no.
What do I mean by that?
As teachers we must be very clear when we’re using games in the classroom. Clear about what criteria we are aiming for in the curriculum and how we are going to reach and assess them through Minecraft. It’s important because playing games as means of education is still not quite accepted, and if we don’t have a evident plan, the method can be questioned. A structured planning makes it easy for the students to see the connection between what they learn through more conventional methods and what they learn through Minecraft. It’s also hard to achieve the freedom that the students are experiencing when they are playing at home. Some students will therefore be disappointed because we did not use Minecraft precisely the way they had imagined it.
The Importance of Dialogue
But in order to create realistic expectations we have in my project Minecraft Classes discussed a lot about having a dialogue with the students so they know the limits within which we use Minecraft. Many students are happy just by the notion that they are playing Minecraft in school. But it is also important to let the students influence and make an impact when creating the framework of how we use Minecraft, through dialogue. Students have many ideas on how to use Minecraft in the classroom and they have a lot of know-how when it comes to Minecraft. If you take advantage of that know-how and creativity by letting the students feel like they are a part of the process through an open and democratic social climate, you as a teachers can moderate the students ideas so that they may work in an educational context. It makes the students feel more involved and will make them more engaged in their schoolwork. Through dialogue, we can create reasonable expectations that makes using Minecraft in school a tool that promotes knowledge and not a anti-climax for the students who love the game.