While parents may worry that too much Minecraft might be bad for their kids, a New York Times reporter found that many experts say it actually helps them develop academically and improve other skills as well.
“Earlier this year, for example, a school in Stockholm made Minecraft compulsory for 13-year-old students. “They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future,” said Monica Ekman, a teacher at the Viktor Rydberg school.”
“Around the world, Minecraft is being used to educate children on everything from science to city planning to speaking a new language, said Joel Levin, co-founder and education director at the company TeacherGaming. TeacherGaming runs MinecraftEdu, which is intended to help teachers use the game with students.”
“A history teacher in Australia set up “quest missions” where students can wander through and explore ancient worlds. An English-language teacher in Denmark told children they could play Minecraft collectively in the classroom but with one caveat: they were allowed to communicate both orally and through text only in English. A science teacher in California has set up experiments in Minecraft to teach students about gravity.”
So what skills does Minecraft help kids develop? Well according to The Times:
How to interact with people online
Game-based play that could raise cognitive learning up to 12 percent
Improve eye-coordination, problem-solving and memory
Also lets kids practice “parallel play” where kids are into their own games, but still interacting with other kids on the server
“Minecraft extends kids’ spatial reasoning skills, construction skills and understanding of planning,” said Eric Klopfer, a professor and the director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Scheller Teacher Education Program. “In many ways, it’s like a digital version of Lego.”
My 10-year-old is still on Minecraft some but now he’s moving on to scarier things like Dota 2. Now I wish he would go back to just Minecraft. I will say though even if Minecraft is building some skills you still have to monitor it. I found my son playing a “minigame” within Minecraft called “drunk tag” where the perspective of the player was that they were drunk. So I’m not OK with that.
So do those facts change your minds about Minecraft? Would you be more inclined to allow them to play it? Does it make you feel better about them playing it?