Minecraft, a popular online simulation game, is currently being used in Megan Wood’s Pre-Algebra class at St. Paul’s school to help students learn with alternative methods.
“Minecraft is an excellent teaching tool,” said Wood, noting that there are some video games that are not beneficial whatsoever. According to Wood, however, Minecraft is not one of these games.
According to educational research website, www.minecraftedu.com, “The game is being used to teach more than just computer skills. It easily lends itself to science, technology, engineering and math explorations.”
A group of students in the class noted that Minecraft is a game in a perfect world where the player builds structures out of blocks.
“Absolutely,” stated Wood about whether she thought Minecraft is helpful in the classroom. Wood stated she regularly reads blogs dedicated to using the popular gaming platform as a teaching aid. According to Wood, Minecraft can be used for more than just the simple math used in her course.
The students seemed to be enjoying using the game to help with math. Currently, the students are learning about area and perimeter in Wood’s class. According to Wood, the game helps students discover new things they haven’t been taught in class yet, such as the concept of volume, which is closely related to the current course topics.
“I think this is fun because it’s something we usually don’t do in most classes,” said one 8th grade student.
Wood noted that the possibilities for learning and teaching with Minecraft are endless. She, along with her husband and close friends, enjoys playing the game in her free time. Wood stated that some people tend to think video games are used by younger generations to simply pass the time while bored, but there are many great programs out there like this that are actually beneficial.
During their class period last Thursday, Wood’s class was in the computer lab in the library at SPS playing Minecraft as part of the day’s lesson. She stated that it is too soon to tell if this program is improving her students’ understanding of certain math skills, but she is sure it will.