Kids of all ages, lifestyles, and learning styles are breaking down boxes and building worlds in Minecraft, including a growing number of homeschoolers.
And while you might not expect a video game to inspire imagination, these homeschool students say there’s much more to Minecraft than entertainment.
“You can build whatever you want to and there’s nothing stopping you,” said Melanie Pannell, an eighth-grade homeschooler in Texas. “It’s an excellent way to let your creativity shine.”
Often described as a video game version of Legos, Minecraft is a sandbox game that teaches spatial skills while challenging players to use strategy and critical thinking to keep their characters alive in the game world.
It’s quickly becoming one of the most popular video games in history, with more than 11 million PC players, 10 million mobile device players, and 7 million Xbox 360 players, according to askaboutgames.com. Minecraft has even seeped into classrooms, many of which are now using an educational edition at minecraftedu.com.
Denise White, a homeschool mom in London, England, appreciates how unique the game is compared to others.
“Minecraft really seems to unlock imaginative free play, which is becoming increasingly difficult in a digital landscape filled with many ‘throw-away’ games and apps,” White said.
Her daughter, 10-year-old Samantha, loves building infrastructure and socializing with others. The Alpha Omega Academy student plays with friends her age from around the world using the team-building and collaboration skills she has gained from the game.
“We position Minecraft as a treat to be indulged in after a hard day’s work at school,” White said. “So, in our house, Minecraft is very much a reward and something Sam looks forward to playing.”
Do you consider Minecraft educational? Why or why not?