Could Minecraft become as essential in the classroom as pencils and paper?
Perhaps so. Microsoft has launched a new site to help educators understand the world of Minecraft and use it as a teaching tool in their classrooms — aiming to build on a trend that’s already taking hold in some schools.
Microsoft’s site points out that the popular game takes creativity, collaboration, experimentation and enhances STEM skills. Teachers have long recognized the game’s value in the classroom, as we wrote last fall, “It’s not an overstatement to say that, despite the current divisive debate over the role of education technology in classrooms (think iPads, or student data safeguards), one of the few products that tech-savvy teachers nearly universally agree upon is Minecraft.”
“Very soon after Minecraft launched, we noticed teachers bringing the game into their classrooms,” says Microsoft’s new site. “Often inspired by the passion of their students, they started using Minecraft to design history lessons, teach language classes, explore mathematics, physics, computer science, writing, and more.”
The Microsoft site is intended as an ongoing resource center for educators, where they can sign up for new updates on programs and camps, and share ideas and lesson plans.
The signs were there that Microsoft had a more official educational purpose in mind for Minecraft all along. Around the time it acquired Minecraft‘s parent company Mojang for $2.5 billion last September, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at a public event, as we reported, “If you talk about STEM education, the best way to introduce anyone to STEM or get their curiosity going on, it’s Minecraft.”