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Frequently Asked Questions

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We find that if a lesson hits standards for your grade, it can definitely be taught successfully to your grade level, during the class time when you plan on focusing on that standard or those standards with your students. This is an excellent way to SUPPLEMENT the material you are using to teach to a standard or set of standards. Additionally, the aspects of the lesson that are made for more advanced grades can be scaled back slightly to adjust to your appropriate grade level. Remember, we also offer free support to get started with your lessons, so please feel free to reach out so we can show you how we suggest using the wiki to its fullest for your individual grade level and specific lesson needs.

The best way to get started teaching with Minecraft at your school is to order Minecraft Education Edition, by going to their website, found here: https://education.minecraft.net

Licenses start at $5/license/year, and can get even cheaper if ordered in bulk. If your school or district will not sign up, and you don’t have the classroom money to afford it, you can use your own private regular license (vanilla license) and students’ own licenses in class. This should give you enough licenses to run Minecraft in front of the class and to have students share in building activities. You can also check for your school’s eligibility by visiting https://education.minecraft.net/how-it-works/tech-specs/

You can go to the same website - https://education.minecraft.net - and view their training seminars which go over the basics. For a deeper dive, you can also go mathcraftplc.com and sign up for a free training. To really become ready to teach with it, we recommend our professional development sessions, which we offer at affordable rates, and which give you much deeper access to and understanding of our math and science lessons and Minecraft teaching in general.Email us at teachers@mathcraftteachers.com to inquire about professional development for your school.We recommend utilizing professional development, as it is affordable and really helpful as an easy way to get started teaching effectively with Minecraft.
No, not really, when using Minecraft Education Edition. There are features built into this edition designed specifically for managing the classroom, freezing the game when needed, creating boundaries where students should do their work, or certain activities you assign, etc. This makes managing student work much easier, and gives you, the teacher, total control of the classroom. Watch out for what we call “Minecracking” - when students go off on their own activities/tangents completely unrelated to the classwork. These are good times to freeze the game, make announcements about your rules during work times, and to let students know that they will lose Minecraft time if they are not on task. Overall, your regular classroom management approach will still work during Minecraft activities.
That is a really good question. Minecraft Education Edition has built-in features that allow for easy to take and record screenshots of student work as students complete and document their work in a portfolio format. Further, we offer safe, amazing Minecraft servers that we administrate for students at home who can join with their own personal home licenses. These are highly customizable - as a teacher, you can input your own homework that our in-game teacher characters (MPG’s) can give to students in an engaging quest format, or you can just use build areas that you set aside with specific dimensions for answering your questions by building. You can use worksheets and signs to easily label where you expect questions to be answered, and these can very easily be communicated and reinforced by our server admin. You can also join the server to check student work.

Please see below, quoted from Minecraft Education Edition’s FAQ page:

Video games are a great way to engage students and personalize lessons. They provide “an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy” [McGonigal, 2011]. Researchers in 2013 found that 30 minutes of daily video game play led to increased brain plasticity along with additional development in areas crucial for spatial reasoning, strategic planning, working memory, and motor skills [Kunh, 2013].

  • • Kuhn, Simone. Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014 Vol. 19, pgs 265-271. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.

Other relevant research:

  • • Bos, B., Wilder, L., Cook, M. & O’Donnell, R. Learning Mathematics through Minecraft. Teaching Children Mathematics, Vol. 21. No. 1 (August 2014), pp. 56-59.
  • • Canossa, A., Martinez, J., Togelius, J. (2013) Give Me a Reason to Dig: Minecraft and Psychology of Motivation. In Ieee conference on computational intelligence and games.
  • • D’Angelo, C., Rutstein, D., Harris, C., Bernard, R., Borokhovshi, E., Haertel, G. (2013). Simulations for STEM Learning: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Executive Summary). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
  • • Gee, J. (2007). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
  • • Kapp, K. (2012) The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
  • • Lopez, J. & Garrido, C. Pedagogical Integration of the Application Minecraft EDU in Elementary School: A Case Study. Universidad de Murcia. Pixel-Bit. Revista de Medios y Educacion. No. 45. July 2014
  • • McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and They Can Change the World. New York, NY: Penguin.
  • • Takeuchi, L. M., & Vaala, S. (2014). Level up learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
  • • Toppo, G (2015). The Game Believes In You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press

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