- A new report details the social-emotional learning benefits of Minecraft, a sandbox game that has gained popularity as a classroom tool, with 97.7% of teachers surveyed citing problem-solving as the top skill imparted, according to eSchool News.
- Those surveyed also saw positive impacts on students' creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, decision-making, communication and empathy — though Getting Smart COO Caroline Vander Ark noted that those outcomes also require teachers to embrace student agency, transparency around learning goals and acting as a learning guide.
- Among examples provided for the game's use is tying mathematical equations to structures built over the course of play, having students think about what they're building in relation to those concepts.
Amid the rise of game-based learning, Minecraft has gained particular prominence as an educational tool — so much so that Microsoft issued an "Education Edition" of the game last year. The game's flexibility has allowed it to be applied to lessons in subjects ranging from language arts and history to math and computer science.
But as with all tech tools in the classroom, Minecraft isn't the end solution but a resource to get there. Administrators looking to experiment with its benefits in their schools must ensure their teachers have adequate training on how to incorporate the game into their lesson plans and make the most of what it has to offer. Otherwise, it runs the risk of simply being seen as another distraction.