Using Minecraft in the Science Classroom

Megan Pusey, Grant Pusey

Abstract


With digital technology more accessible than ever, it is no surprise that students are spending an increasing amount of time playing video games. This study sought to investigate the educational value of digital game-based learning, or, the use of video games in the classroom. In this investigation, two Perth metropolitan schools trialled digital game-based learning by using MinecraftEdu as an innovative tool to teach science. The game provides a sandbox-style environment that allows students to interact with their digital surroundings in an extremely flexible way. MinecraftEdu was used alongside more traditional teaching methods at both schools to engage students in Earth Science and subsequent topics. Surveying students before and after the program took place and collecting anecdotal evidence during class through teacher observations assessed the value of the software. The comparison of the student surveys indicated a clear increase in student interest in science and the use of ICTs in school following the MinecraftEdu program. A majority of students, 84%, reported enjoying using MinecraftEdu in the classroom and 94% said they wanted to use MinecraftEdu in the classroom again. In addition to presenting student data obtained during the trial, information regarding the logistical issues with establishing and running the MinecraftEdu program, including lesson preparation and technology requirements, is also discussed.

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