At the EdCrunch conference, we met with a Finnish teacher, who turned his passion for Minecraft into a favorite business and to help colleagues around the world - with the founder of MinecraftEDU, Santeri Koivisto.
The sandbox game, made in a recognizable cubic design, is loved by everyone who has played it at least once - from small to large. And people older than 6 and under 12 from the pixel worlds created by their own hands cannot be pulled by the ears. Naturally, the insidious teachers wanted to use such an attractive force for their low educational goals. Some enthusiasts have long shared their experiences on personal blogs, but Santeri Koivisto decided to go ahead and make Minecraft useful for teachers, provide methodological support to schools, and also distribute a Minecraft license at a discount for educational institutions.
About how it happened, how gamification differs from using the full game, and how to play it in a lesson, we were told by Santeri Koivisto, CEO of TeacherGaming LLC - the same company that became the creator of the educational version of Minecraft.
- First of all, curious: why Minecraft?
The story began with the fact that five years ago I received a teacher education. Now I am already a certified teacher in Finland. At that time, I was a student and often played Minecraft for myself - online with friends. And then I accepted the offer to become a replacement teacher, and thought - why shouldn't I use this game in the lesson?
I turned to my classmates for help in preparing a project for my lesson. And the guys helped. The lesson went well, the children liked it, but most importantly, the teachers liked it. They went into the classroom and asked if I had any groundwork so that they could do something similar in their lessons. And that was a revelation to me. That the children would be delighted was expected, but for the teacher ... There had to be some potential.
Somewhere 2-3 months later, in the spring and autumn of 2011, we were going to start a scientific project for the festival. I contacted Mojang and the creator of Minecraft, Marcus Notch Persson, to support my science project for teachers, and they immediately agreed to send via DHL a package with the necessary Minecraft software. I also told the creators about my intentions to make Minecraft an educational product for Finnish teachers, I thought that the company I work for could become a Minecraft representative for schools in Finland. The founder of Minecraft then said: "I have no idea what this means, but let's try it."
At the same time, one American teacher, Joel Levin, started a blog on Tumblr, which described the use of Minecraft in his lessons. This blog has become very popular online - at least among the teacher community. I contacted him to offer cooperation. We phoned Skype and decided that it would be a joint affair. Within 8 months after the call, we prepared a package of documents for the foundation of the company, concluded a contract with Mojang, and finally met in New York. We did not have money, with the exception of several social grants from the government of Finland, therefore we also developed the company from scratch.
Something like this all started.
- So you got a startup - when you have nothing at the start, but a good idea. Let's get back to your idea. You mentioned that teachers liked Minecraft, but they didn't know anything about it. How were you going to teach teachers to teach using Minecraft?
We are now 12 people in the company. Of course, we do not have the opportunity to travel to schools around the world and show Minecraft teachers. The logical way out is an online teacher training program.
Minecraft is wonderful in that teachers absolutely do not need to know the technology or even be an expert in the game, because children know all this without them. What teachers need to help is to form a special game thinking in them. We wanted teachers to know what goals they can achieve with Minecraft, what exactly they need to do to engage students in the study of the subject or in dialogue - without having to launch their own game server and become an ardent fan of the game.
Several employees at TeacherGaming. Santeri is second from right.
Minecraft launches completely new mechanics for the interaction between the teacher and the class in the lesson.
How to change this? Look here: as a rule, teachers are experts in the technologies that they use in school. They are the masters of textbooks, and it is they who give instructions on which page to open it and what to read. They do everything for the students.
When Minecraft arrives in the classroom, teachers don’t know anything about it, because they usually don’t play it. Thus, students become experts, and this is a huge plus platform. In at least one aspect of academic work, students become masters of the situation.
Teachers often think: “Well, fine, I launched Minecraft in the lesson, gave the assignment, and what, do I no longer need?”. Can you imagine that 25 third-graders were able to independently develop a common strategy for solving a game problem? You can’t do without a teacher, his help and tips in finding solutions. This is precisely the most important role of a teacher. Minecraft is not a way of distraction in the lesson, they say, you kids, play, and I will check the mail. On the contrary, it requires even greater involvement of the teacher in the classroom.
- And how do you see Minecraft yourself? Can it be included in the state educational program, or is it rather an addition to it?
Yes, definitely Minecraft can become part of the official curriculum, and more than half of our customers do it - include it in the program on history, biology, geography, mathematics, physics, even physical education.
But I think that the easiest and most painless way to start using Minecraft in your curriculum is after-school activities. In an informal setting, in a circle after school, see how children play, how they behave, what they can do. And only then, when the teacher feels confident, can you transfer the Minecraft experience to the lesson.
Virtual students lined up in a virtual queue for knowledge.
- What is the most memorable example of using Minecraft at school you could name?
There are many great examples of how Minecraft was used in classroom disciplines, but I personally find it much more interesting to deal with interdisciplinary tasks - for example, to develop digital citizenship skills. This is a painful topic. For example, you need to talk about copyright on the Internet. For the eleven-year-old, the issue of intellectual property in this very wording does not seem important. But if someone burned a building in Minecraft that he had been working on for two weeks, it would find a strong emotional response in his soul. For him, this is digital property, and with this example one can wonderfully explain such things.
Such situations that are not included in the curriculum - human problems, issues of society and management - are just the best studied during the game interaction.
- Are there any examples of interdisciplinary use? We are entering a new era of education, when the division into subjects will become quite arbitrary, and mathematics will be closely intertwined, say, with physics. How can Minecraft help?
Before that, I talked about soft skills - that is, education issues, not training issues.
Let's imagine that sixth graders have begun to study history. They can read about the main events in the textbook, and then go to the world of Minecraft, create and explore some of the spaces associated with this era. You can also simulate archaeological excavations, change the landscape depending on climatic conditions and so on, thus combining history and geography. In addition, you can recreate any structures on a scale by applying your knowledge in mathematics and geometry. And in general, in the process of creating the world, Minecraft develops a sense of aesthetics. Well, critical thinking, teamwork and problem solving skills. You can go even further and let another class explore the worlds created by other guys, and then ask them to write an essay - this is literature and native speech. And if in English - then a foreign language. How many items have I already listed?
An old video of 2012, in the lead role is just Joel Levin, the first popular teacher-minecraft.
- And what do you think about gamification in education in general? I guess you appreciate this approach ...
Why do you think so? I would not say that. Gamification is an extremely extensive topic that has many uses, and, unfortunately, is not only useful. For example, a board of honor is the last thing I would use at school. The board of honor and ratings are always competitive, and the class is a team and teamwork. I would not want to create a competitive atmosphere inside the class. If this is a competition between classes or between schools - it makes sense, but competition between individuals only hurts.
Also, I don’t like the idea of giving points and achievements as motivation. If you look at Minecraft’s strategy in game theory at all, we’ll see that this game has no goal. There is no goal that someone set for the player. But each player sets his own.
Minecraft for school is valuable not at all as game elements in the usual sense. It is valuable for combining the digital and the real world. This is an interesting environment for children, where they can interact and give free rein to imagination. This is not gamification, this is the use of the game for educational purposes.
- Now in most countries the classroom education system is used, including in Finland. It becomes clear that this is not the best system for organizing the educational process, which needs changes. Do you think such a game education is able to change the existing system, or will it remain only its element?
Games are changing the paradigm of knowledge. Many parents worry that their children play too much - and this is a normal concern. Personally, I would not want my children at school to just do what they play. But I’m sure that games create a bridge between rest / entertainment at home and school. Moreover, this is a two-way process: with the help of games, learning becomes more fun, and with the help of a game in school, the child hones his player skills, learns to behave online, communicate with other people.
In MinecraftEdu, you can create full-fledged stories using a text legend.
- And what other games that are useful for educational purposes, you could name? As a child, I was a fan of Civilization, and I still remember the capitals of all countries thanks to her. Do you have any examples besides Minecraft?
You know, by and large, games do not cope with the flow of information that is in the modern world. In order to teach the details, games are completely ineffective. The same Civilization teaches a lot, and with it very little. You will spend 500 hours in Civilization - more historical facts and personalities than there are, you will not know. Yes, she “pumps” strategic and critical thinking, but in the context of obtaining new information, such a game is ineffective.
- Wait, what do we need from school? We have Internet knowledge and information always at hand. Is the task of the school remains saturation of information?
In an ideal world, no. But the educational programs that exist in our real world require the study of huge amounts of information. Fortunately for us, requirements for the development of skills and competencies finally appear. So in a perfect world, we could devote a lot of time to developing such skills, playing games and implementing our own projects, but in reality, the teacher’s textbook remains the most effective method for quickly and easily presenting the necessary information. It is still the teacher’s responsibility to convey the knowledge required by the program. If a teacher is given 500 hours to teach 500 units of information, he cannot afford to devote 50 hours to the game to learn only 5 units.
That’s why games like Minecraft or Kerbal are designed to provide a platform, but not information. In the game you can find out only some facts, but not the study of facts is its purpose. The game is an effective tool for developing social skills.
qCraft - addition (mod) to MinecraftEdu for the study of quantum physics.
- The last question for today. Many Russian teachers would like to use Minecraft in their classes. And there are enthusiasts who really use it. But it is always very difficult to start. What advice would you give to a teacher who has no idea what to do?
As for MinecraftEdu, we do not provide rigorous training programs - in fact, we do not provide them at all, with the exception of a few teaching materials for teachers. These materials teach you how to use your teaching energy properly. There are introductory classes developed - literally an hour to watch with the children the basics of the gameplay, click on the menu, try the basic actions, and most importantly - to remind that all this is just a game that allows us to perform quite certain things . It is very important to think about how you can connect the familiar educational environment - books, textbooks and the Internet - with the Minecraft environment. If you create a model of the circulatory system in Minecraft with your children, be sure that neither you nor they will ever forget its structure. At the same time, it is important to draw a parallel with the textbook - now, this is the very circulatory system that we worked on. And what we talked about earlier are interdisciplinary projects. Each such activity in the game should turn into a project, presentation, teamwork. This should not remain in the game.
But in general, everything is simple. How to start working with Minecraft? You need to ask your students what they think about all this, and then get to work. There are no right ways to do this. There is something wrong: when you create a playing space instead of children, and then just run them there. It shouldn't be like that, it's their world.
September 21, 2015, 15:00
The opinion of the author may not coincide with the position of the publisher.
Metal Barrels [1.14.3] (metal barrels)
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Most people on the Internet already know about Minecraft. But if this is the first time you hear about this game, now we will tell you what it is and why millions of players around this world play it. Minecraft is an open-world indie game where everything is made up of cubes, released in 2010 and quickly gained popularity among players. At the moment, 10 million copies have already been sold. But it is difficult to count the pirates who play it, but one thing is clear: there are dozens of times more than license holders. Some players do not want to pay or cannot because of circumstances, therefore there are third-party programs for launching the game - Launchers. They do not require a license key. And by the way, you can find them on our website and download for free via a direct link. Marcus Persson is the one who created this wonderful game and changed the genre forever, only then dozens of clones of his revolutionary game came out. A few years later, he sold the rights to the game to Microsoft, and he left, as he became very rich thanks to sales and decided to start other projects. And Jeb became responsible for subsequent updates, who still copes with this perfectly and regularly pleases us with new content and chips.
Now let's talk about the gameplay. The whole Minecraft world is built on cubes, everything consists of them, but such an angularity does not interfere with generating stunning landscapes. This is a plus and minus at the same time the game, plus is the complete destructibility of everything and construction without restrictions, and minus is the low quality of the graphics. Everyone would like realistic graphics, but this will require a huge randomness of the computer with the same capabilities. The game is written in the JAVA language, which does not always behave stably in different computer configurations, and a beautiful picture will create an even greater load on the PC. But Minecraft will still work fine on weak PCs and laptops, if you reduce the range of drawing and lower other settings to an acceptable level of performance.
Came, the very moment when you first started the game and are wondering where to start? The first thing you need is to find some wood to make boards and craft a workbench, which is necessary to create almost all the objects in the game. You can find crafting recipes on our website, add its bookmarks to quickly find what you need. After the workbench is created, you need to use it to create a wooden pick and get some stone to create stone tools already. Then, taking a new pick, go down to the nearest cave and find iron there. Добыв руду, ее нужно поместить в печь, которую можно скрафтить из камня, переплавить использовав уголь, на выходе у вас получаться слитки железа. Из них создаем железную кирку и при помощи нее можно добыть алмазы и создать алмазную кирку, которая будет гораздо прочнее и сможет ломать любые блоки. Но вы можете спросить зачем такая последовательность, все дело в том, что деревянной киркой нельзя добыть железо, а каменной алмазы. Но смысл игры Minecraft заключаться, не в добыче ресурсов, а в строительстве. Строительство зданий вот из-за чего многим пришлась данная игра по душе. Также вы сможете создавать схемы их редстоуна (красного камня) для автоматизации некоторых процессов или же развлечения.
Ну теперь, то ради чего все это затевалось. Welcome to the portal MinecraftExpert.ru, our site is a large catalog of various modifications and additional content for the popular game Minecraft. If you are bored with the game, you can diversify the game process by downloading and installing mods, and you can also improve the graphics by installing resource packs that replace not only textures, but also sounds. And Shaders will add dynamic shadows for even greater beauty. We also offer you to try cards of various genres, from puzzles to adventures and horror created by players. If you want to generate an interesting world, we recommend that you visit the seed section. Also go to the team section where you will find a lot of interesting things. If you want to change the appearance of your character, go to the Skins section. All this will help change the world of Minecraft beyond recognition or add the most necessary items and functions for an even more enjoyable game. All mods, resource packs and maps are conveniently sorted into supported versions of the game and categories.
We are distinguished from other similar projects by a minimum of advertising, you can always quickly find the files you need, the site is updated daily, new and up-to-date Minecraft material is added. All submitted files are checked by antivirus and uploaded to high-quality servers, from which you can download at high speed.