Whether you’re a fan of or indifferent to Minecraft, you can’t deny that it has swept the world in a major way. Since its initial creation over a decade ago, the game has steadily increased in popularity, becoming a favorite among adults and kids alike. It’s become widespread to the point that many players work with a Minecraft server hosting company so that they can engage with other fans across the world and increase their gameplay abilities. Right now, the game has 126 million monthly users, and if you’re a parent, chances are high that your child is among them, or at least wants to be. But with that being said, Minecraft has actually grown from fairly simple roots, and if you’re unfamiliar with the game itself you probably would be surprised by how relatively easy to use it seems. Of course, this is probably a major part of the game’s wide appeal. Essentially, Minecraft allows players to explore the game’s world and use tools crafted from raw materials to build and create their own structures. The game also allows players to “fight” each other in mobs, and of course, interact with countless other players. There is a level of modification ability in the game as well.
Despite all of these interesting aspects, some parents are understandably a bit concerned about their kids getting into Minecraft. This is not only due to the general addictiveness associated with the game, but also because it’s simply somewhat of an unknown. A lot of parents believe that Minecraft is a fairly mindless game, not requiring very much extra brainpower. But the fact is that Minecraft is only going to become an even bigger part of your kids’ lives if they already like it; the pandemic has made it impossible for many of them to see their friends on a regular basis, and Minecraft is the only point of connection for a lot of kids. For that matter, if you try to keep your child from experiencing Minecraft for the long term, chances are that they’ll just start using it unsupervised. It’s not a difficult game to access, and it actually has a lot of great qualities if you apply it correctly. Not only does it allow your kids to stay in touch with their friends; they can also learn a thing or two from the game. Yes, believe it or not, Minecraft can actually be educational if you give it a chance. With that being said, let’s look into the educational benefits of Minecraft.
1. It Coincides With School
Perhaps one of the most important educational benefits of Minecraft is the fact that it can complement school. Depending on where you live, the COVID-19 pandemic could very well have your child out of school in the fall; and if they do go back to school, it may be in a limited capacity. Therefore, having a game that can actually complement what is being taught in countless elementary and middle schools is hugely beneficial. Homeschooling is difficult for a lot of parents, even when the teachers are doing their best to help. Kids can become easily distracted, especially when they’re as off-routine as they are now. Having a fun, exciting way to relate back to their schoolwork will help them not only pay attention but remember the lessons that you are trying to teach. So, how does Minecraft coincide with school?
In fact, some schools have already been incorporating the game into the classroom, proof of the educational benefits of Minecraft. Parents can verify the fact that Minecraft can aid in children’s learning to read, in part because it’s a multiplayer game. Multiplayer games rely heavily on a chat section. Kids can’t talk as they would on the phone, which means that they have to both read and write in a fast-paced setting. Not only does this make it easier for them to read fluently; it also requires a higher level of writing ability than is often asked of younger children. Furthermore, tips and clues within the game actually forces young players to not only recall the clues but also do their research about them. Sometimes, this can even involve reading books from outside sources, due to the fact that the game uses real-world gems and other elements as a part of its structure. One reason why schools sometimes incorporate the game now is that it’s often easier to convince children to read books about this type of subject matter if comes in the form of a game, or even a quest within a game. They’re learning without even recognizing the educational benefits of Minecraft.
2. It Increases Social Intelligence
The traditional view of video and computer games is that they minimize a child’s social interaction, but this is actually not the case when it comes to Minecraft. Kids are actually playing with other people, versus simply playing against the game. Furthermore, they’re being placed in situations that require cooperation and teamwork, while at the same time putting them in competition with their friends in certain scenarios. This means that the children are learning how to work together, and also learning how to handle conflict in a mature way, and to recognize the difference between play and reality. It’s all too easy for kids to become too invested in gameplay and to become possessive and borderline aggressive over their games. We’ve seen this progress into the way that some athletes play physical sports games, where they can actually hurt each other.
Minecraft allows children to interact while socially distanced. Not only does this maintain their bonds and their social abilities while keeping them physically safe; it also forces them to take a step back and communicate rationally, rather than reacting suddenly. A lot of people struggle with reacting in haste, and this approach really makes that less of a factor, and makes children take a step back and calm themselves down. Many kids, unfortunately, lack the ability to self-soothe even at an older age, and are often dependent on adults essentially pulling them out of a fight. The careful separation that the game allows really keeps their arguments from escalating to a serious degree, and that cool-off period that follows is easier for them to get through. Of course, the last thing that any parent wants is for this period of social distancing to cause kids to spend less time with each other. Through Minecraft, they’re really able to stay in touch while engaging their brains, rather than staring at a cell phone screen for an extended period of time.
3. Early Business Development Lessons
It might seem odd to think of Minecraft as a game that would teach your child early business development skills; but in fact, those types of lessons are among the educational benefits of Minecraft, especially if you invest in a dedicated server. Or better yet, if you have your child do chores and earn an allowance so that they can buy a dedicated server. Now, this isn’t necessarily going to apply to very young children. But running a Minecraft server may just the right idea for older preteens onto teenagers, as they’ll have to figure out how to “manage” it.
Children who are looking into running their own Minecraft server first have to acquire the necessary hardware, which of course requires research. They then have to maintain that hardware, and maintain it, which involves learning a good deal about technology. If they’d like to modify their servers in any way, they have to install add-ons, which requires a whole new level of learning, and keep up with Minecraft releases that may or may not be compatible with those modifications. Furthermore, kids actually have to keep in touch with the players that use their servers, making sure that they don’t run into any problems. The teamwork involved in using a Minecraft server with friends can actually children to build early labor management abilities. Another one of the educational benefits of Minecraft has to do with the fact that if a kid wants to share their server with their classmates, they can actually move to promote it on their own social media. While these activities don’t necessarily mean that your child is going to start a social media marketing business or start being an website administrator, it can give them a taste of what they could do and set them up for future success. A lot of people discover their initial aptitude for business when they’re young, and in this case why not have your child test their aptitudes through games that they love playing anyway? As with many of the educational benefits of Minecraft, this is really about killing two birds with one stone.
4. Exploring Creativity
There are many more aspects to the educational benefits of Minecraft than merely those found through playing the game directly. A lot of people find that their children also find a creative outlet through Minecraft, believe it or not. Some of this can come through the creation of “fan art”. Through this, kids may feel organically drawn to create drawing, paintings, or even sculptures about their favorite characters within the game. While ideally this will eventually evolve to more original artwork, beginning with fan-related art is a great way for children to experiment with different styles in a way that feels safe and familiar. A lot of kids see Minecraft as something that has expanded beyond the limits of the game. Many of them really find Minecraft for the first time through video tutorials or walk-throughs on Youtube, where they can watch other people play the game and watch another person experience it before they start their own. This has eventually evolved into people using Minecraft as a sort of makeshift animation platform, where they can weave their own stories in a visual format that already has fans. While there are drawbacks to a child putting their own artwork on the Internet and they should be supervised, this is again a great platform for artistic experimentation. Many parents are initially confused by this; but fan-created artwork about video or computer games is nothing new, and can simply be a way for young gamers to open their creative minds a bit more.
Another thing to consider when exploring the educational benefits of Minecraft is that it can spark ideas in the minds of young future graphic designers, or game designers in general. Many people who later become amazing creators in the computer industry begin their initial exploration through games like Minecraft. If your child becomes truly passionate about the concepts of graphic design or web design, you can steer them in that direction, using Minecraft as an inspiration. While a lot of kids might not grow up to start a website design agency, you never know if encouraging your child’s creative abilities from a young age could be what ultimately leads them to pursue exciting career paths down the road.
Clearly, the educational benefits of Minecraft are varied, and some of them will not apply to every child. Kids all have different needs, and get different things out of their experiences with games like Minecraft. But if your child has developed a particular interest in the game, you shouldn’t assume that it’s a wholly negative thing. If your kid already has an obsession with the game that you’d like to quell, try to at least channel it in a more educational manner. If they’ve started to show an interest in the game, you can turn it into a positive rather than entirely denying them what they’re interested in. At the end of the day, you shouldn’t just take Minecraft at face value. It, and many other types of video and computer games, can ultimately be used for educational purposes. In the future, we may very well see teachers utilize them as a regular part of the curriculum. Why not be ahead of the curve?
The bestselling video game Minecraft has been called the “Godfather of video games” by Forbes magazine, and several studies have found it to be a particularly effective educational tool to help schools around the world embed the foundations of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) into their curriculum. A recent survey of over 500 teachers and educators confirmed that Minecraft is a highly effective way to equip learners with STEM skills. Companies are popping up across the country, and across the globe, making available services like make your own Minecraft game, and Microsoft coding school, that teach Minecraft-building basics. But what about players?
The game has been popular worldwide and can reach kids of all ages. A recent magazine article which spoke to Ian Thomas, the leader of computer game teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University said: “My students average about 15 years old.” That in itself is significant, but more importan than that is the fact that the game is massively accessible, popular, and beneficial in terms of cognitive demand. If you’re on holiday or around the corner, it’s a game to discover in any language or context. Ultimately it’s about Minecraft forums in diverse environments.
Local Minecraft forums could be as simple as a Minecraft group on a coffee shop table, or as complex as an international gaming network, hosted by a Minecraft server hosting company, spread through posts made on social media sites such as Reddit and Facebook. Evident in all editions of Minecraft is its revolutionary design allows players to record any gameplay through their headsets, and can allow them to work collaboratively, by controlling each other’s camera, dragging around objects and manipulating block locations. All major Minecraft updates challenge themselves to achieve new and different goals, open up possibilities, push imaginations – and unlock a world beyond its own wild creativity. Minecraft also forms an exciting avenue to explore some of the wider scientific aspects of study.
Cybernetics is an emerging field that studies how physical phenomena are controlled using software code. There are plenty of creative applications for Minecraft too. Just take a look at some of the amazing movies or campaigns created using the game. Foster the Future is a video-game related platform for encouraging kids to explore STEM careers. The games created through the platform have been shortlisted for awards such as the Microsoft International Xbox Game of the Year (2013), the Smithsonian’s National Video Game Critic’s Choice Award, and the It’s Academic (2017) prize.
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