This term we have been utilising Minecraft Education Edition to practice our coding skills and also our collaboration skills. When you join a Minecraft world with your classmates and are trying to build 3D structures problems are bound to occur. How we deal with those problems is just as important as the building task itself (probably more important). Minecraft also allows teachers to create an immersive learning space for students to safely explore, experiment, build and collaborate. I don’t intend to give a full rationale behind the use of Minecraft in the classroom here, but in essence it is much more than a game and teachers all around the world have used it to great effect with their students. We have only scratched the surface of what is possible.
All primary students at St. Andrews have a Microsoft 365 account which they use to login to school computers. Normally the school would pay extra to enable students to use Minecraft Education Edition, but due to the health restrictions Microsoft have very generously given our school free access for a few months. You can also use it at home if you have a reasonably recent Windows 10 PC, laptop, iPad or Apple computer.
Please install Minecraft using the directions on the link below:
Some parents are concerned about online safety with collaborative games like Minecraft and that is understandable. However, be assured that when students use the education edition of Minecraft only students from our school can ‘join’ their world and only if they want them to. There are no anonymous users. The collaborative nature of Minecraft is actually one of its greatest strengths. With trusted friends or classmates it opens up fantastic learning opportunities that cannot be achieved be students individually.
Ok, time for a video. I apologise in advance if the audio quality isn’t great. This video is for parents to get a quick intro to Minecraft and some of the coding we’ve been doing this term.
This weeks Digital Technologies lesson is to redo the code for the dig commands on your home device and to experiment a bit with the code. Students will need to arrange their screens so they can read the instructions and see Minecraft at the same time. This might not be possible if they are using an iPad.
The instructions for the dig commands are on the following page also on this website (see link below). They will need to create their own world (creative and peaceful) to test their code. They may need some reminders to stay on task as sometimes they get a bit carried away once they enter the immersive Minecraft world.
By the end of the lesson they should be able to demonstrate the commands to:
- Dig a straight tunnel and how they can modify the code to make it longer
- Turn the agent left or right
- Dig a square tunnel
- Dig a square tunnel that goes down a step on each corner (this might replace the square tunnel command)
- Dig a room
With just these 5 commands they should now be able to create an impressive underground mansion adding torches for light, furniture and other decorations. Very useful skills for professional miners.