Reasons you should be okay with your kids playing Minecraft

Over the past six months, my 10 and 13 year old sons have spent more time playing a game called Minecraft then they probably have spent at school.  The other weekend when we were Minecraft Fansvisiting my brother and his family in Ottawa, the entire conversation at the Easter dinner table was about Minecraft.  The kids, all four of them, were incredibly enthusiastic and confident in explaining how the game works.  My little 9 year old niece was the exception… but listened and learned along with the four other adults. We were asking questions and finding out how this game could be so commanding of our boys’ attentions for hour and hours on end.

Upon further research, I’ve discovered something that is quite exciting and in line with what I do with… engaging children with educational technology.  Now, some could argue that Minecraft isn’t exactly an educational technology but in the following list there is clearly a case for why you should be okay as a parent, for your children to play Minecraft.

Here is a wiki about Minecraft in education:

Hacker in residence at UPEI, Peter Rukavina, is hosting an open Minecraft Lab which is AWESOME!!  Free.

I’m looking into putting a summer week long camp for Minecraft lovers.

Anyway, as a parent or grandparent, use your children’s enthusiasm for Minecraft as an excuse to connect with them and encourage their foray into learning, and their development of skills that they don’t even know of!  That’s my advice 🙂


The Global One-Room Schoolhouse: John Seely Brown

People in my father’s generation and their parents can recall the one room school house. Where the teacher was a guide to a group of children, all different ages, and they all learned together and taught each other.

Imagine that scaled.  That’s part of a lecture recently given by The Global One-Room Schoolhouse: John Seely Brown (Highlights from his “Entrepreneurial Learner” Keynote at DML2012)

The change that is going on right now is rapid, the shift that we are seeing in education is amazing with global learning being more accessible than ever before.  All through technology and the dissemination of information.

How this shift, in the proper environment, can engage and excite children with learning that is facilitated through technology.  I want to give that to my children.  I’ve seen it happen and it’s a beautiful thing.

I watched it happen in a classroom in Jakarta, Indonesia where my brother was teaching 18 little grade 3 students with laptops, flip video cameras, smart boards and autocad.   Learning was fun and exciting.  It was to me, especially. I’ve been having a ball teaching myself technology!

The Hole in the Wall experiments that were done in India by Dr. Sigata Mitra displayed the fascinating results of introducing a computer screen and a mouse to children living in the slums and abject poverty and watching how they delved into learning, accessing information that became so easily shared and taught to each other (again, I see a parallel to the one room school house).

I saw it when I taught my afterschool technology program, how one student (between


peer-to-peer learning

the ages of 8 & 11) would call a bunch of the other kids over to look at his screen and he or she would show the others what they just did. The others would then go back to their computers and have “learned” something.

Would that have been something that went on in a one-room schoolhouse a century ago?  Quite possibly.  Please help us share some of the courses we are offering through the Techmobeel, a mobile learning lab.  We will be announcing them soon!