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Get to Know Minecraft
What is Minecraft?
By using Minecraft as a platform for learning, educators can motivate and inspire every student to achieve more, and ignite a passion for learning.
“Motivation is such a huge part in what ends up differentiating student outcomes. Everyone has the ability to do fantastic work at a high level. It’s just, without the right teacher and the right motivation, you don’t always get there.”
Minecraft: Education Edition is designed for students to play together – whether that’s working in teams to solve a problem, or collaborating as an entire class complete learning activities.
“To function effectively in increasingly complex business structures and organizations, employees must become more comfortable with ambiguity, take initiative, and be able to work in a team-based environment.”
IDC Skills Requirements for Tomorrow's Best Jobs (2013)
There are no step-by-step instructions in Minecraft – students must try, fail, and try again to achieve the result they want. This open canvas encourages independence and self-direction, where students are able to express themselves and their ideas in unique ways.
“Imagination is the source of every form of human achievement. Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status”
Learning-by-doing in Minecraft teaches students independence and perseverance, giving them great satisfaction and sense of accomplishment when they can demonstrate their knowledge.
“Education is a natural process carried out by the child and is not acquired by listening to words but by experiences in the environment. And Education should no longer be mostly imparting knowledge, but must take a new path – to seek the release of human potential”
This Week’s Vocabulary
Rethinking Minecraft, Rethinking Learning
We’ve Got Your Back
A full tutorial experience is available for educators and students who are new to Minecraft, or those who need a refresher on controls, crafting, and basics of the game.
Want to do a lesson on ancient Egypt or study Antarctica? Use these biome worlds to launch learning experiences specific to a certain climate.
We have provided worlds specific to certain learning activities as well as starter worlds and hubs you can use to start any learning activity with Minecraft.
We have provided lessons spanning primary, intermediate, and secondary school for use with your students. Also consider existing curriculum that could be adapted to use Minecraft: Education Edition.
It can be intimidating to get started with Minecraft, especially in the classroom. We’ll connect you with an experienced Minecraft educator to get the support you need.
We are building a brand new experience alongside our community to support teaching and learning with Minecraft. Collaboration, creativity, engagement, learner-centered don’t apply just to our students.
Aside from the Tutorial, we are putting the finishing touches on three additional courses. Cross-curricular planning, circuitry with redstone, and your first weeks with Minecraft will be available on our site to assist with your journey.
Education Edition Features
Access and Personalization
Simple, Secure Login
Students and educators use Office 365 Education accounts to log in to Minecraft: Education Edition. This ensures secure access to the game and student data privacy. This also ensures wherever, whenever learning.
Skins allow students to personalize their avatar, increasing student engagement and allowing educators to more easily differentiate students playing together.
Education Edition Skins
Easy Classroom Collaboration
An entire classroom can play in the world together, without any need for an external server. Using the “Friends” tab, students can collaborate in small or large learning groups and create and learn together.
These blocks allow educators to set editable or read-only areas of the world – allowing, or denying students the ability to build and focusing the learning to specific spaces.
Allow & Deny blocks
Border Blocks help teachers define areas in the game that their students can build and play in.
Fixed Inventory Slots provide educators with an opportunity to define specific inventory available to students, such as a camera, portfolio, or other blocks or tools.
FIXED INVENTORY SLOTS
A Non-Player Character, or NPC, can be placed in the game to provide information to students, give direction, and link to other resources.
Educators can use 3 different sized chalkboards to communicate learning goals, or challenge students with problems to solve within the game.
The Camera allows students to take screenshots of their work.
The portfolio is a place where students can save the screenshots they’ve taken with the Camera and add notes.
Classroom Mode is a partner application that empowers educators to interact, monitor, and facilitate purposeful learning for one or many groups of students.
So Now What?
Head to education.minecraft.net/getstarted
Sign up for emails at education.minecraft.net
Play through code.org/MC
Tweet at @playcraftlearn and #MinecraftEdu
Start with just one lesson, just one build
Share these materials with interested colleagues
Educators today are increasingly challenged to capture and maintain the attention and engagement of every student in their class. Minecraft: Education Edition is a way for these educators to bring the classroom and curriculum to the students, in an environment they are already comfortable and familiar with. Minecraft: Education Edition is the same Minecraft experience many students enjoy and play already, but with some additional capabilities to enable student collaboration in the classroom, and support educators to deliver lessons and learning activities within the game. By using Minecraft as a platform for learning, educators can motivate and inspire every student to achieve more, and ignite a passion for learning.
In the workplace, teams are global, and the workplace is virtual – organizations will slowly diffuse across time zones and space. Collaboration skills will be the glue to keep people working together effectively. Having students engage in collaborative work teams and learning environments that foster cooperation in the classroom will help prepare them for their futures. Minecraft: Education Edition is designed for students to play together – whether that’s working in teams to solve a problem, or collaborating as an entire class to go through learning activities and master challenges in the game.
People learn naturally through a combination of observation, trial-and-error, and play-based practice. An open learning environment like Minecraft encourages independence and self-direction, allowing students the freedom to experiment and challenge themselves and each other. Much like real-life, there are no step-by-step instructions – students must try, fail, and try again to achieve the result they want. And because Minecraft is essentially an open canvas, students are able to express themselves and their ideas in unique ways. Differentiated learning experiences like Minecraft can help educators create an inclusive classroom where every student is empowered to explore a world of learning.
To create a fully inclusive classroom, educators are challenged to create lesson plans and learning activities that cater to all types of learners: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic/tactile. Core curriculum content is often skewed towards visual and auditory learners through lecture, reading and writing. Physical manipulatives and labs are beneficial for kinesthetic/tactile learners, but are often limited to specific subject areas and require space and time to set up. Minecraft: Education Edition is a virtual maker space that is easy to access and can be applied across a range of subjects to engage kinesthetic learners. And because Minecraft: Education Edition is a flexible platform for learning, educators are able to map their projects and activities in Minecraft directly to specific learning outcomes and curriculum standards.
© 2014 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PRESENTATION.
When you launch into a Minecraft world, everything around you is a block. Together, solid & liquid blocks make up a Minecraft world, and have a variety of characteristics that make each one unique. Sandstone is opaque, glass is transparent, glowstone emits light, and many blocks even ignore gravity. Nearly all blocks in Minecraft are 1 meter cubed, except for non-standard ones such as slabs and stairs. Most blocks have static textures on each face, but some such as lava and water have animated textures. A few special blocks in Education Edition are only available through commands, more on this later. What’s most important to know is that in a Minecraft world, blocks can be placed, and blocks can be destroyed. Don’t like where a mountain is located? Move it. Want to build a massive skyscraper or an underground village? Go for it. Care to create a flowing water system from mountain to ocean? Have at it. The only limit in a Minecraft world is the player’s imagination.
Upon creating a world, Minecraft generates that world from a seed, which is a random integer assigned to it as a starting point. If another player was to input this same seed when creating a world, a nearly exact replica of the terrain would generate. A world is generated by chunks, which are 16 x 16 x 256. You can watch these chunks render, especially as you fly through the world. You can control how many chunks are loaded at any time by adjusting render distance. A world can be old, which limits it to 256 x 256 blocks, infinite which is the traditional way to play, or flat, which generates an infinite plain of grass blocks on top of a few layers of dirt and bedrock. Worlds are made up of the overworld, which is split into biomes, and the nether, which is a single biome available through a nether portal.
A biome in Minecraft is a climate zone used within the world. This sets specific geographic features, flora, foliage, and even what animals spawn within it. Biomes are generally categorized by temperature zone from cold and snow-covered to warm and dry. Taiga as a snow-covered forest, Plains as an expansive, flat, grassy space, or Mesa with its striped variants of clay and desert features, all biomes have their unique features. If you find a world that you want to reuse, remember you can load in that seed, or you can use the biome downloads available to you on the Minecraft: Education Edition website.
In the Overworld, Minecraft operates on a day-night cycle, which creates the existence of time. A day in Minecraft consists of 24000 ticks, equivalent to 20 minutes of calendar time. In Creative mode, a player can set a Minecraft world to be always day, but in Survival mode, a player must use commands to reset time to a specific spot. Of the 20 minutes, daytime is 10 minutes, dusk and dawn are each 1.5 minutes, and nighttime is the remaining 7 minutes. If a survival world is set to anything except peaceful, hostile mobs will spawn during nighttime as the light level is at its lowest point. There are even phases of the moon in Minecraft during an eight day cycle, so brush up on your waning crescent and waxing gibbous definitions.
In Minecraft, a player is defined as a character that can be controlled. There are two default player skins, Alex and Steve. Additionally, from the start screen, a player in Minecraft can change their skin to any of the available Education Edition Skin choices. A player is 1.8 blocks tall, and walks at a rate of 4.3 blocks per second (if you’re into statistics). Players in Survival mode have health and hunger meters, and they can walk, run, sneak, fly, or swim throughout a Minecraft world. Another fun fact is that in Minecraft, the sky rotates directly around the player, which includes sun, moon, and stars, so you can truly say “the sun revolves around me”.
Survival mode is one of two main game modes in Minecraft. In it, a player must collect resources in order to craft other more complex items, eat to keep from getting hungry, and prevent damage from the environment and hostile mobs in order to survive. The player also has health and hunger bars with 20 points. When at full hunger, health can regenerate, but if hunger drops too far a player can starve and lose health. Additionally, without using commands players cannot fly in Survival mode.
Creative mode removes much of survival aspects within Minecraft and affords players the ability to more easily create and destroy structures as well as contraptions. Players are given an infinite amount of blocks of all types, as well as no health or hunger bars to hamper them. Players are able to destroy all blocks instantly without regard to durability. Additionally, Creative mode allows players to fly. Finally, while mobs will still spawn in Creative mode, they are neutral and will do no damage to the player. This can be controlled further by setting the world to always day.
Griefing and griefers are a part of Minecraft. There will always be players and students who are most excited about going against the grain, whether this is destroying a classmate’s creation or going their own way and ignoring the learning objectives. As educators, we find engaging with these students and giving them responsibilities and leadership opportunities within the game empowers them and focuses this energy in a collaborative way. Minecraft also provides an excellent opportunity to discuss digital citizenship, and how destruction of digital creations is no different than tearing up a classmate’s painting or ruining their classwork. Minecraft can become a springboard for all sorts of conversations deepening your classroom community.
The Tutorial experience includes introductory & detail videos, world download to guide users, stages focused on controls, crafting, open world, & features unique to Education Edition. A typical brand new player using Minecraft: Education Edition for the first time is able to complete the first two stages in 30 minutes of gameplay, and stages 3 & 4 are more modular and a player can choose to learn more about farming, or durability of tools, or exploring deep down in caves.
© 2014 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PRESENTATION.he remaining 7 minutes. If a survival world is set to anything except peaceful, hostile mobs will spawn during nighttime as the light level is at its lowest point. There are even phases of the moon in Minecraft during an eight day cycle, so brush up on your waning crescent and waxing gibbous definitions.
© 2014 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, I