5 advantages of using Minecraft Education in the classroom

1. It Increases Creativity

Creative thinking is one of the fundamental principles of Minecraft. Building environments with the tools provided help students design and construct new worlds through strategy and survival. New associations between existing concepts are put into place resembling Lego blocks, with its playful pedagogy where narrative and space play an essential role. Creations in the virtual world of Minecraft makes possibilities endless. Why wait?

2. It boosts Perception and Hand-Eye Coordination

Like most video games, Minecraft promotes focus because players are highly involved in interacting with the world around them. A handful of studies show that video games improve people’s visual partial attention, specially when playing in survival mode since its main goal is to escape obstacles to remain in the game.

3. It stimulates learning in a collaborative way

Students can learn about historic sites, mathematics, coding, physics or study a new language. Subjects in Minecraft Edu are mainly divided into age groups. Obstacles push their imagination to the limit inspiring higher-level critical thinking while working together to build a positive social classroom climate.

4. It promotes computer literacy

How is software put together? How is it programmed and what makes it run?  How do computers work? Students  are really becoming interested coding and using graphic editors,   how to edit and construct files themselves to customize Minecraft, teaching themselves They’re figuring out how computers work and teaching themselves programming, researching on the internet, making videos and using graphic editors.

5. It’s fun

Students are immersed in the process of learning and they have fun at the same time. At the International School of Bremen we have been coding little green turtles, visited 17th century England and have also been looking at chemistry bonding working together in collaborative projects. As one student wrote:

“I had so much fun and I learned so much. I didn’t know that you can code a turtle in Minecraft Education. It was fun because I gave the turtle the instructions and the turtle did everything that I wanted the turtle to do. It was so cool, especially when you can play with friends and learn at the same time.”


What can good teaching learn from Hollywood movies?

Why are Hollywood movies so successful? And what can we learn from them as teachers? Students can experience instruction actively, as if they were watching a good film with a charming effect,  getting lost in emotion. Some tips on how to achieve of this :

1)Technology, special effects

Let´s start by enhancing learning with technology. Present something focused on the pedagogical content and to the point. The combination of clarity and effectiveness help students move forward with the given topic. A clear, understandable short video or presentation with the highest technological quality can be used as an engaging introduction in the lesson. In order to do this, we need a little bit of research or help from a digital tech advisor, a profession on the rise.

2) Storytelling

Storytelling is the most powerful way to remember ideas. It communicates concepts at an emotional level, imprinting a picture of the given topic on our minds. The importance of a compelling story with plot twists stirs up the desire to know more, visualising ideas in a clearer way. Characters can be introduced in real-life scenarios during the first two minutes of the narrative increasing our empathy with the students. Then the lessons will flow, turning lecture into an immersive activity.

3) Acting

Goood teachers can be great actors. Confident body language and a positive attitude is always a powerful force. Fostering a supportive classroom environment directly affects the learners' mental climate. Students will be successful in your class if they see a chain of positive thoughts coming from you. Be a good actor to create a personal positive approach within the role of the teacher. Solution-oriented teachers exuding energy, humor enthusiasm and gratitude are always the best.

4) Marketing

Use your twitter, linkedln or facebook account to share what you are doing in the classroom. Create a website, or a blog to publish your students work. Write articles, give presentations, increase your network, give away your ideas and learn from other teachers around the world. Look for solid learning environments where the learner knows what to expect.

Go the extra mile. It’s never crowded.

Gamify your Classroom

The new trendy concept in the world of education in 2015 has undoubtedly been gamification. Gamification is when elements of game playing are embeded in the process of learning. 

In his book Gamify: How Gamification Motivates People to do Extraordinary Things, Brian Burke tells us how, in order to be successful, gamification has to engage people to develop skills, solve problems and be motivated.

The tremendous potential of gamified applications in education can drive innovation in schools, changing behaviours to reinforce learning. It has to touch students emotionally, recognizing their achievements along the way. 

Gamification is about connecting people, not collecting points and badges, and it´s about motivation, not about entertainment.

A good example of a well structured gamified platform is the Nike + app, letting customers  take their workouts to the next level and motivating them to achieve their goals and organizational objectives by using positive feedback and rich design.

In language learning, a well planned gamified environment is in the app Duolingo. With Duolingo students can earn points (or hearts) for correct answers racing against the clock and levelling up. In my Ab initio classroom at the International School of Bremen,  students have been using Duolingo in order to learn the basics in Spanish with success.

If we gamify our classroom, we will make things interesting and fun, making progress visible. By simply changing the context in which the activities are presented, teachers transform the act of working into a more enjoyable experience. We can even make students create their own games, giving them voice and choice. This can be a tremendous asset for student confidence, giving teachers room for collaboration, problem solving and critical thinking in the classroom.

Game mechanics will increasingly be used in the world of education in the years to come. More apps, virtual career coaches and motivational avatars will definitely be part of the process of learning. 

Creativity in teaching has never looked so good.