About Minecraft

What is Minecraft? Simply put, Minecraft is the biggest sandbox you have ever played in. The landscape stretches infinitely in all directions, as far as the eye can see. It extends up into the hills and mountains, and down into dark caverns filled with lava and treasure. Just like a sandbox, there are no specific goals in Minecraft, no set objectives to fill. The fun comes from setting your own goals and deciding how you want to play on a given day. Maybe you will head into the jungle in search of a jungle temple. Perhaps you will build your dream treehouse with a perfect view of the ocean, or mine deep underground in search of emeralds and diamonds. Whenever one task becomes too difficult, or boring, or when you get stuck and need some help or inspiration, you can just choose to do something else. There is always something engaging to do, and no matter what you choose to do, you will always learn more about the world around you and be thinking about better and more efficient ways to accomplish what you want to do.

At first look, Minecraft is not visually impressive – new players are often struck by how “blocky” everything looks. But after playing the game for a while, they become immersed in the game environment, and they realize the complexity of the game world. It’s the situations and the challenges that make Minecraft seem real, not the graphics or the animation. In fact, the relatively crude graphics give it a cartoonish feel that is charming and disarming in its own way, keeping the feel of the game light.

Teaching with Minecraft is like teaching with blocks. The blocks are simply an engaging tool for the lessons you build around them. You could allow your kids to play with the blocks freely, see what they come up with, and share and celebrate their creations. You could use the blocks to build an imaginary town, and have a discussion about where the roads should go, what the buildings should be called, and whether or not you will need a jail.

Coding in Minecraft is like giving yourself superpowers. Many students are already accustomed to how Minecraft works normally. The prospect of using code to automate tedious tasks such as mining or chopping trees is immensely motivating to Minecraft players and the ability to immediately see the results of the code you wrote in the Minecraft world is incredibly powerful. Students can use a flat world to start out with, as a “sandbox” for their code, and as they learn and experiment, they will be able to see the progress of their learning visually in their world as a series of different physical projects and constructions.

For an in-depth introduction to Minecraft, you can download and install Minecraft Education Edition and follow the tutorial here: https://education.minecraft.net/worlds/tutorial-world/.

For more information on how to download and install Minecraft and Microsoft MakeCode, see the Setup Directions here: https://minecraft.makecode.com/setup

For more information about the Code Builder, see the Code Builder tutorial page here: https://education.minecraft.net/trainings/code-builder-for-minecraft-education-edition/