Minecraft – Gaming, Tech tools, and Multimedia Learning Theory

Today’s EDCI-336 class topic was on gaming for education, with a focus on Minecraft. A group of students from Colquitz Middle School and their teacher Heidi James came to join and teach our large group of UVIC students about the uses and benefits of using Minecraft for educational purposes. Unfortunately I was unable to be in the class, but I was able to read my classmates blogs posts and inquire about Minecraft on my own time.

Minecraft is a game where students can go on using an IP address and work collaboratively in a way that is constructive, engaging and fun for them. The teacher has the ability to control the various settings within the game such as weather, conditions, modes, and parameters. James, shared some of the projects she has completed with her class including: A project on trade where groups of students were placed on an individual island with varying resources and each group had to work collaboratively to trade with neighbouring communities to survive. Another project was on ancient civilizations where students organized themselves into groups and voted one person to be the leader to demonstrate the social hierarchies that existed in ancient civilizations. Each group took on different “worlds” in Minecraft that fit the description of that ancient civilization and the students recreated what life would look like. Minecraft is a perfect example of something that can be passed off as a video game, or at a surface level something that does not provide any learning opportunities. However, with more research Minecraft is a medium where students can be creative, critical thinkers, and problem solvers. Students work collaboratively and can connect to make different topics and subjects. Minecraft is a good representation of a tech tool, which uses the Multimedia learning theory, which explores the concept that people build mental representations from words and pictures.

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