Camp Combe YMCA is adding MinecraftEdu to its list of activities in attempt to broaden its methods of youth education.
“Games act sort of as a medium to get kids’ attention,” says Santeri Kovisto, CEO of TeacherGaming. “Older organizations like the YMCA struggle to find ways to get kids excited about learning. They have a mission. It can be a mission from 30 years ago to make good citizens. It’s still a valid thing to do, but the effective tools are very different today.”
Camp Combe’s MinecraftEdu has a STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] theme and maintains the goal of getting students interested in STEM fields. To do that students are first taught the basics of the Minecraft experience — how to log into the server, how to navigate using a keyboard and mouse and what is acceptable behavior in-game. Then they are given an objective, like building a bridge or creating a shelter in the wilderness. Instructors then link those objectives back to real world skills like teamwork and the scientific method.
On the first day they could be protecting their fellow campers from waves of zombies. A week and a half later they’ll be working together to build a particle accelerator.