Is Minecraft good for kids?

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On Tuesday's Mommy Matters -- we're trying to make sense of Minecraft.

If you have children over the age of five, you have probably heard of this popular video game.

Love or hate Minecraft, kids obsess over it, playing huddled over iPads or fixated on monitor screen.

Minecraft is an open-ended game where you construct and play in elaborate worlds.

Some kids recreate famous pieces of architecture, others express their creativity through fun or fantastical designs, but the experience is simple: in the free-form Minecraft “world” you can build practically anything your imagination can think up.

FACTS:
• Published by Mojang in 2011, the game is one of the best-selling, independently developed games, available on PC and Mac, iOS and Android, and even Xbox.
• Since Minecraft’s release in 2009, over 20 million copies have been sold, including 93,000 sign-ups in a 24-hour peak.
• 30 million people play worldwide

MINECRAFT CULTURE
Kids experience all things Minecraft beyond the game itself.
• They gather online on forums and in the offline at conferences and at Minecraft summer camps.
• Many follow YouTubers like StampyCat and iBallisticSquid who make videos using Miecraft. These Youtubers have MILLIONS of subscribers and viewers.
• Minecraft Parties - see photos of Audrey’s Birthday party

WHAT DOES IT TEACH?

Some schools, which understand that experimenting is an important part of learning, are taking notice, and integrating the game into classroom curriculum.

“Before Minecraft, I tried to use video games in class, but I always had to change my lesson to fit the game,” Joel Levin, co-founder of TeacherGaming, a company that helps schools set up games, told the Washington Post. “Minecraft was the first game that came along where I could change the game to fit my lesson.”

1. Creativity and imagination – they can build anything – my daughter built a spa for animals.

2. Resources – what kinds of building materials to use

3. Reading and Vocabulary: Kids need to read and know the names of items in the inventory of resources. For older children, reading the wiki and online guides can extend their skills.

4. Writing: Players can use the Book and Quill within the game to keep a log, or to communicate information to other players. By contributing to the Minecraft Wiki, older children learn to write informational texts in a collaborative, multimedia environment!

5. Math - The crafting system can help in teaching basic math (e.g. "I need 3 sugar cane for paper), which transitions to multiplication (I need 3 Paper and 1 leather for a book, and 3 books for a bookshelf, so I need 9 paper and 3 leather altogether") and division ("When I create paper I get 3 at once, so 9/3 = 3 times per bookshelf I'll have to create paper").

6. Social skills: By setting up a private server, parents can provide a safe environment for children to interact with friends and make playing Minecraft a cooperative event – which lets kids play in the same room or same WI-FI network with their friends, on the phone, or with in-game text chat, they can play together wherever they are. These methods allows children to work together to build, explore, and learn as they develop their social skills, especially teamwork. For older children, contributing to the Minecraft Wiki can be a chance to learn about Internet etiquette and collaboration.

MINECRAFT IN THE CLASSROOM:
http://minecraftedu.com

Created by teacher Joel Levin: MinecraftEdu is a school-ready version of Minecraft, played by over 30 million people worldwide. Created by teachers for classroom use and officially supported by Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, MinecraftEdu contains a set of powerful yet simple tools to fine-tune the Minecraft experience for learning. Teachers in over 40 countries use MinecraftEdu in every subject area from STEM to Language, to History, to Art. Made by teachers for teachers, fine-tuned for the classroom.

MINECRAFT CAMP:

https://www.digitalmediaacademy.org/teen-summer-camps/summer-tech-camps-for-teens/3d-game-design-with-minecraft/