Importance of Play in schools
One of the current trends in the field of education is gamification. It is defined:
the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity. “Gamification is exciting because it promises to make the hard stuff in life fun”
I do feel that this has many applications that will enhance and extend learning. If we are able to entice and excite students be as passionate about learning as they are about playing, reading, or following their passions, then we have a chance to deepen their understandings and create opportunities for student initiated action and learning.
I don’t want to claim that gamification and Minecfraft are synonyms, but I do believe that Minecraft has greatly contributed into bringing it into schools. Minecraft is such a versatile platform that it lends itself easily to be integrated into cross curricular projects and transdisciplinary learning. Here at KIS we have already used Minecraft in the MYP by integrating Python coding and mathematics. I personally feel that it is even more suitable for the PYP. Our Programme of Inquiry for grades G3 – G5 has many units of inquiry that have great many connections that can be learned through play, games, and minecraft:
What is Minecraft?
The goal of Minecraft is simple – students create structures in a 3D environment (think of it as virtual Lego). Minecraft differs from other video games not only in its appearance (the graphics are not particularly flashy) but because the objective is to construct stuff rather than destroy stuff.
– See more at: http://tabletsforschools.org.uk/teachers-learn-how-to-use-minecraft-as-an-educational-game/#sthash.z0XicwcA.dpuf
In our Units of Inquiry we can contextualize the concept of survival for students by having them play the survival mode, which demands players take into account:
- and more as they build and expand their world.
Students will have to explore in order to collect resources, and they have to process what they find, such as smelting ore to create metal. Doing this in the game can give students a basic understanding of how the world works. It will also give us an opportunity to develop strategies to help them analyze the different components of survival, settlements, governance in multiplayer mode, and sustainability.
For incorporating and integrating coding and gaming into our learning is all about creativity. When students use a something to learn that is as limitless as Minecraft it gives them the freedom to create, pushing their imaginations to the limit and allowing them to be creative in ways that are not possible in the real world. As a teacher I need to facilitate that the learning content and research that the students make is relevant to their curriculum and pertinent to their topic, but beyond that it’s all play for them.