Sure everyone’s heard of Minecraft, but last year was the first time I had personally heard of MinecraftEDU.
MinecraftEDU was a separate Minecraft game created by Minecraft playing teachers to help students get more engaged at school. This was all around way before Microsoft even had a thought to acquire the highly successful 8bit world video game.
At SXSWedu this year, Microsoft featured Minecraftedu in their Microsoft lounge (coincidentally in the same spot Google has held their lounge at for the past three years, hmmm).
More important than all that hodge podge though is what teachers are able to do with MinecraftEDU with students that have been harder to engage with in the past.
We got a chance to talk with Miael Uusi-Makela with TeacherGaming out of Finland at SXSWedu. TeacherGaming takes Minecraft and other widely popular gaming titles and makes them more educational for kids. Minecraft for instance, can teach everything from quantum physics, to team work, algebra and more.
According to Uusi-Makela the MinecraftEdu program has been more successful than even Mojang or Microsoft ever thought it would be. Literally thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students are learning using MinecraftEdu.
The best part about it for Microsoft (which now owns Minecraft) is that they are seeing successful engagement at both ends of the spectrum. Students who are regular Minecraft players are doing better at mastering skills taught in school by playing MinecraftEdu. Also, students who would have never thought to try Minecraft, are now playing after school just because of that in classroom exposure.
You can find out more about MinecraftEdu at minecraftedu.com