Learning from computer games: digging Minecraft

How can we learn with computer games?  Let’s look into the process of learning to play a noteworthy and recently published game as an example.

Exploring the Minecraft world.

Minecraft is a “sandbox game”, one which lets players explore an environment without being driven along a superimposed narrative structure.   Minecraft was released to the Web without fanfare or corporate support in 2009, and has become something of a cult sensation this year.  Designed and maintained by a single programmer – originally as a side project – Minecraft has won a devoted following, user-made videos (like this one), and glowing reviews.  Income from game sales has grown enough to enable the designer to work on it full time.  Meanwhile the game flies in the face of mainstream gaming, as it offers only the most primitive graphics and basic play.

Exploring Minecraft’s success in the gaming culture industry is interesting, but not for my purposes.  My focus is on gaming for education.  So let us frame a different question, one germane to teaching and learning: how does one learn to play this game, its world and rules?

The next several posts will explore answers from several perspectives, including using the Web and playing the game itself.

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Posted on October 27, 2010 at 10:08 am by Bryan Alexander · Permalink
In: Pedagogy, Technology · Tagged with: 

2 Responses

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  1. Written by Damon
    on October 28, 2010 at 10:44 am

    Hey Bryan, this is Damon from Smith. I’ve heard quite a bit about this game through the gaming press and podcasts. There’s an interview with the developer on Bytejacker, which is a video podcast: http://www.bytejacker.com/episodes/103
    It’s crazy how popular this game has become! They’re saying the best way to learn the game is actually to check out a wiki for it, and watch youtube videos.

  2. Written by speed racer games
    on December 21, 2011 at 3:10 am

    “Some game developer organizations are focusing to design some computer games that can help people to teach about a certain subject, expand concepts, reinforce development and to increase their creativity. Some educational games like Sim City and Roller coaster Tycoon, where players create societies and build theme parks, help in developing the children’s strategic thinking and planning skill.
    So these types of games are playing a big role in learning and increasing the creativity of the game players.

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