I have been introduced to Minecraft on a number of fronts this month. I have been watching the work of Dean Groom on twitter and on his blog about Massively Minecraft. Dean is a lecturer of Human Development Design at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia. He and a small group of intrepid educators - Bianca Hewes, Jo Kay, Judy O’Connell and Kerry Johnson have created a safe and monitored network for students to play in, discover and learn using the Minecraft platform. By coincidence I also had a 4th year university prac student who was also interested in including the notion of Minecraft into lessons. I have now built some basic structures in Minecraft but am nothing but a novice. I might let the experts explain.
Massively Minecraft is a Guild based learning community for kids aged 4-16 who are interested in developing digital media skills, exploring their creativity and developing online social skills using the video game Minecraft.
Our guild is a social-enterprise, founded in mid 2011 for parents, teachers, schools and researchers as players in an open world to learn together, using game-theory and our experience of developing process networks in virtual worlds.
To add your kid to the game, we require them to be accompanied by a parent, care giver or teacher. These do not have to play at the same time (all the time), however as a Guild they are expected to support their own children in undertaking the awards and to help other kids in the game when they ask for it. The main skill an adult needs is empathy with kids and their creativity. Generally speaking, all the players want is support and interest. To this end, the game-space is not a babysitting service. If you are not prepared to spend a few hours a week playing with your own and other children towards them achieving success, then this Guild is not for you.
If however, you do want your kids to be involved in a growing supporting game-community which is focused on social inclusion, diversity, creativity and celebrating the hard work and skills kids are developing around digital-space - or want to know how game's improve learning, then join the Guild.
This is an interesting experiment in the use of Game Based Learning to foster some real love of learning from very young students. I would be interested to see the long term effects of this collaborative exercise and the learning of collaborative skills by the students. I love the notion of accomplishment and motivation in this concept. Drop in and have a look at what they are attempting to achieve.
All of this is especially relevant with the announcement of mobile Minecraft in the last couple of days. This new Minecraft Pocket edition will mean lot more students can be assessing this platform on their mobile devices.