I just finished reading and commenting on a thoughtful blog post by @mrjarbenne. He contends that Minecraft is a tool that can be effective if used appropriately by a teacher, but can be misused by some.
Like anything that teachers introduce to their practice, care and due diligence must be taken. We can’t jump on every bandwagon, even though there might seem good reason to do so. I am guilty of jumping on the bandwagon every now and then, sometimes with decent results, but often with disappointment. On reflection, how can quickly throwing a new thing into the mix have good outcomes?
I need to have a decent idea of what I’m introducing into my classroom before I introduce it. I don’t need to be an expert at it, but I need to know it well enough to consider what good my students will get from it.
Using Minecraft as an example, I need to know how to use it. Then, I can teach those that aren’t familiar with it. I need to know what cautions there are. Jared has raised the concern of violence, but what other concerns do Minecraft educators have, and how do they address these issues? I need to be clear, with myself and my students, about what our goals are in using it. That’s where learning goals and success criteria (and descriptive feedback for that matter) come in. And laying out ground rules beforehand is always a good idea.
It seems like a lot of work, but in the end, it is all a part of my job. It is my responsibility as a teacher to ensure that what I am giving to my students is the safest, most engaging, most challenging program I can give.