There are two audiences for this post.  Rather than even attempt to wrangle everyone together, I’m going to divide the post by audience type.  You, the reader, can self-identify and navigate as you please.  Who knows, you may even shift your type by the end…

TYPE 1:  Enthusiastically Curious “What is this MindKraft on which these kids are devoting so much time?”

Close.  It’s called Minecraft.  You can follow the link for a brief history if you like.  Otherwise, I’ll give you a quick tour…

Minecraft is an independent video game (created by a guy named Notch) that was released for the personal computer on May 17, 2009.  The game quickly drew a devoted following (and this is where you should really start paying attention) because it broke a few rules by which most video games abide.  The chief rule?  There are no rules.  There was not a manual, no player’s guide, no on-screen tutorials.  Players were thrust into a virtual world and left to explore and experiment.

The reason this works is because of the mechanics of play.  The player exists in a three-dimensional world of cubes.  These cubes represent different basic elements the player can mine (dirt, gravel, sand, lava, trees/wood, etc).  By harvesting these materials, players can combine them to create building materials, tools, technology, etc.  The game compels players to think about design and consequence, resources and purpose.

And this is where the game really shines.  Players have experimented and discovered truly impressive in-game possibilities.  They can join forces in the same game world and collaborate to push the limits by constructing working clocks, elaborate machines to automate in-game farming, roller coasters, and scaled replicas of actual buildings.  Players learn about electrical wiring, rudimentary programming, architecture, even literature through communities like WesterosCraft.  See the video below for an example of the collaborative efforts taking place right now in Minecraft.

TYPE 2: Enthusiastically Enlightened “Dude, Minecraft at school?”

Yes.  But here’s the deal.  There are a few things to think about as you dive in.  While in game, your behavior should demonstrate the community values of KASD- Respect, Honesty, Responsibility, Kindness.   The server will be moderated and griefing will not be tolerated.   Clear?  Good.

Okay- the details.  We are running with a whitelist.  If you’d like to play, you’ll need to join the KHScraft community in Google+.  We will only add students of Kimberly High School or Kornerstone.

We need to know who is logging in to keep tabs on behavior in-game.  Your username will be known to you and the moderator(s) (at the moment, Mr. Yunk).  You can hold onto your anonymity as long as you like, but know that if you are reported, you will be contacted in person by a moderator.

Your first reaction may be negative in that we are not running any mods.  This may change, but we are going to make our initial launch using only vanilla.  If this campaign is successful we can certainly expand and experiment with different offerings.  By the way, keep an eye out for any real-world contests that may crop up in the game world.  I can say no more! I’ve already said too much!

FINAL THOUGHTS

This game has exploded with popularity and pushes players to think critically.

We’re not assessing the learning that’s happening here- but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  This is risk-free learning and the LMC@KHS is proud to facilitate such an opportunity.

Consider these perspectives

  • Edutopia 04.13.12 – Ideas for using Minecraft in the Classroom
  • Southern California Public Radio 08.14.13 – Minecraft Blowing Up in the Classroom
  • Gizmodo 03.17.13 – Could Minecraft Actually be the Ultimate Educational Tool?
  • Hackeducation 03.15.12 – MicrocraftEDU Minecraft for the Classroom

If you are an educator, consider joining the Minecraft in Education Google+ community