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Minecraft: Pocket Edition

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Minecraft - This widely played and much loved multi platform virtual construction game is surprisingly unutilized as an educational tool. Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures. Players can explore randomly generated worlds and interact with a range of characters (some of whom are innocuous and some are harmful). For anyone not familiar with the concept, the basic premise is that you arrive in a world filled with natural resources and you can collect these and combine them in various ways in order to “craft” an almost limitless variety of objects from clothing to building materials, tools, weapons and much more. 

Teacher Review

Although Minecraft is first and foremost a game for recreational purposes an increasing number of educationalists are harnessing the huge engagement factor and expansive educational properties to bring learning to life for the children they teach. So much so that an educational variant has been created especially for this purpose and includes a range of powerful tools to enable teachers to use the game as an extremely flexible learning tool. Unfortunately Minecraft EDU isn’t available on tablets at this time but Minecraft PE (Pocket Edition) still holds many fantastic opportunities to enrich learning in the classroom and beyond. One key feature of Minecraft as a learning tool is the opportunities it provides for collaborative learning. 
 
Although the classroom applications for minecraft are too numerous to mention it is worth mentioning a few examples in order to illustrate its versatility.
 
-Use the fact that the world is made of blocks that are all the same size and come in many varients to explore, pattern, shape, area, perimeter and volume.
 
-Create large interactive dienes blocks and represent place value.
 
-Use the build tool to investigate history (e.g. building replica buildings from a period, create Viking long ships and iron age settlements.
 
-Explore geographical features represented in the various Minecraft “biomes”.
 
-PSED and RE  working collaboratively create a settlement of some sort.  What are the rules/laws of this community, what will we base this on? What sort of a society do we want to live in?
 
These are just a few ideas of how Minecraft can be used in the classroom but there possibilities are almost limitless. There are some drawbacks to Minecraft PE. Firstly the user interface isn’t as easy as on other platforms such as consoles or PC. PE is a scaled down version so doesn’t have the same range of resources and opportunities as other versions of the game. This being said the main drawbacks are twofold. One is that to get the most out of this app in the classroom you are going to have to invest some time in learning how to play the game so you understand some of what can be done and give yourself ideas about how you might use it in the classroom. The other is that there will certainly be the temptation for some children to abuse the game and interfere with other peoples work. However this is usually very easily managed by stating from the outset that antisocial behavior or not being on task will result in losing the privilege. Unless you wish to spend many hours learning about to play the game and becoming an expert there is a very good chance that as you start to use it in class some children will be able to teach you and their peers and this in itself can provide a wonderful opportunity for children to take an active role in the learning activity.   

Screenshots

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From the Developer

Minecraft - Pocket Edition sets players in the middle of a randomly generated world that has no structures, other people or objectives. Play the game with your kids and work collaboratively on creating structures. Get a set of blocks (or LEGOs) and create real-world creations to further encourage creativity. Help beginners find online guides to the game to help them get a sense of what they can do.

Minecraft is a game about placing blocks and going on adventures.

Explore randomly generated worlds and build amazing things from the simplest of homes to the grandest of castles. Play in creative mode with unlimited resources or mine deep into the world in survival mode, crafting weapons and armor to fend off the dangerous mobs.

Craft, create, and explore alone, or with friends on mobile devices or Windows 10.

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