Watchworthy Wednesday: The Minecraft Effect

Wednesday, July 06, 2016 Comment minecraft fortress

Minecraft, the Lego-like building video game, is such a massive hit that the New York Times Magazine recently made it the subject of a cover story. What makes the game such a global sensation is its power to encourage an interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) — those pesky fields that Americans don’t seem to be able to conquer. U.S. students lag behind 34 other countries in math and behind 26 countries in science, according to a Pew Research Center study. “The game encourages kids to regard logic and if-then statements as fun things

Lessons Learned During Summer Minecraft Camp

Thursday, February 18, 2016 Comment Kids sitting at table and playing on a computer

We partnered with Connected Camps and Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative (BBK) last summer to run a four-week affiliate camp for underprivileged kids in the city of Richmond, California. Richmond’s residents are predominantly low-income Black or Latino families, and a recent study by the Richmond Public Library and BBK found that computer and Internet access in this community was far below the national average. With the generous assistance of the City of Richmond’s IT staff, we hosted the camp in Richmond’s City Hall IT Training Room, a basement room with 28 workstations. These computers were connected

Teaching and Learning with Minecraft: Liam O’Donnell

Monday, July 08, 2013 Comment 3 young female students working on computers in classroom minecraft

Playing with blocks certainly predates constructionist theories of learning by playing with “tangible manipulatives,” but the culturally universal practice is probably as old as human social learning. What is new is the ability to use simulated blocks to teach comparative religion by enabling students to construct navigable models of famous houses of worship. Or explore biology by assembling giant DNA molecules, or manifest millions of blocks by performing the proper calculations and applying appropriate logical operations. Manipulatives aren’t containers of knowledge, but can be used as “objects to think with,” as Seymour Papert noted more than thirty