Author Topic: Virtual space: Minecraft for teaching reading and writing.  (Read 813 times)

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Offline Rschroeder101

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For those of you who do not know what Minecraft is, my oversimplified explanation is that it is a gamified, virtual Legos: You have to collect resources from the world around you and use these resources to build, all while surviving monsters that come out at night.

Building Cities and Fighting Monsters: Park University's Minecraft Journey  | Minecraft: Education Edition

In a previous semester, I explored using Minecraft as a virtual space for language learning. I believe that the potential for virtual spaces like Minecraft have potential to be useful spaces for task-based learning because of the building aspect and survival aspects to it. Various tasks in a Minecraft world, to either build something or get somewhere with endless locations and possible constructions, are all within the realm of possibility and would require communication between students in order to complete. The developers themselves are not lost on the educational potential of Minecraft, as they have made an educational version of the game.

I think that Minecraft has potential for teaching L2 reading and writing as well, as a way for students to relate reading/writing with something they are actually doing in the virtual space.  I will give some examples below that showcase the potential for both.

Example 1: reading - mysteries and written clues

I think an aspect of Minecraft that can really lend itself to reading is that you can leave notes and signs throughout the game that potential students can read. It would be too easy to argue that students could use the signs and in-game notes to read directions. Instead, I would suggest that students can learn to infer information from a written text by giving them short stories in the game that hint towards other aspects of the Minecraft world. Fleshing out something like this would be time intensive, as you would want to make a world where students won't get hopelessly lost and can still have to work a little find the written clues and hints, but once completed it would be extremely immersive and would require students to interact with written text that directly related to the world around them.

 Example 2: writing - having students write a narrative

Teaching writing through Minecraft would be a little more difficult, but possible. The first thing I can think of is having students write a narrative of what they and their team mates did in Minecraft after completing an activity. These narratives would be unique because of the expansive nature of the Minecraft world, especially if the goal for the Minecraft activity was vague or expansive, such as build a home or find a certain resource.

« Last Edit: May 10, 2021, 05:20:47 PM by Rschroeder101 »