By: Nick Marquette
Minecraft should be considered an educational tool because it has the raw potential for teachers to use as demonstrations in many classes. In today’s society, the teachers are always fighting to try to get the student’s attention in class, and this is a way to have their attention.
For some teachers, they teach classes that need certain programs that can only run on certain computers. Like Garageband is only for Macintosh. This can be avoided, because Minecraft is made for all platforms. This means that it can be run on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux. But this still doesn’t answer why it should be considered as an educational tool. It can be used in graphic design classes to build an animated version of a project that would have taken up a big chunk of the teacher’s time and resources. The amount of paper that would have been used to draw the design first would be eliminated. Also, Minecraft can be downloaded outside of school on home computers or if the student does the project on a laptop, they can work on it outside of school, and not be required to connect to Wi-Fi.
Some still argue that it is still animated and will not look like a real life object/concept. That statement is false because Minecraft has what is called a mod pack or a texture pack which allows certain changes to be made to the game’s looks. For example, a student can download the life HD texture pack which will make all their creations look life like. Without the mod pack or texture pack it will look like an animated game. This would be a necessary part for a graphic designer. The mods and texture packs are free to download to anyone.
Some of you may ask what if they need to work with partners or groups. The solution is the LAN connection mode. This allows the creator of the Minecraft world to open his world up to others to join for free. If a student really wishes to, they can buy a server for 13 USD. But now that they can connect with each other, the students can collaborate together. Also this can be done in silence because there is a chat feature where the students can talk to each other in game rather than out loud, which could cause class distractions.
I’m sure that there are many questions like how much is it to download. An account costs about 26 USD or 18 USD from MinecraftEdu.com. But, the school can buy an education account for the teacher to give to his/her students because Minecraft is a part of the course’s curriculum. Also if a teacher wants to test the game for themselves, there is a demo version of the game in which they have 150 in-game minutes to try the game out in survival, which players have to find everything or creative where players have every resource available to see if they want to purchase it. But there is one other option as well. Teachers and students can download the full game from mineshafter.info for free. This includes survival, creative, and multiplayer. But there is a catch. The game is a cracked version of it. This means that the game is not 100% legal but, Mojang allows this to happen and also means that the players have to use cracked servers to play online if they choose to do so.
According to MinecraftEdu.com, “Yes, they are fun, but [games] also allow players a chance to take on new roles and experience worlds in which they learn and problem solve. [The best] games offer something new to students — entire worlds in which learners are central, important participants – worlds where what they know is directly related to what they are able to do and, ultimately, who they become.” Thus proving that Minecraft should be considered as an educational tool.