LearnToMod helps mobilize kids’ already avid interest in Minecraft to teach them how to code.
Strum is one of 150 students who are now tinkering with LearnToMod, an educational add-on teaches you the basics of programming while creating tricks and tools that you can use within the Minecraft. The mod will be available to the general public in October, and its creators hope it will help turn Minecraft into a kind of gateway drug for computer programming.
“Kids are already spending ridiculous amounts of hours on Minecraft,” says Stephen Foster, the co-founder of ThoughtSTEM, the company that’s built the LearnToMod module. “So we thought this would be a good way to help them learn skills.”
ThoughtSTEM started out offering in-person classes in San Diego, Granite Bay, and Oakhurst, CA based on a game called CodeSpells that Foster co-created as a PhD student at the University California. The idea was to hook students on CodeSpells so that they’d be motivated to learn the programming skills they needed to advance within the game. But Foster and his co-founders Sarah Esper and Lindsey Handley soon noticed that many of their students were already avid Minecraft players, and it would make more sense to create a class that would harness the passion their students already had for Minecraft. So they launched a class for kids between the age of eight and 15 that teaches kids to code their own modifications to Minecraft — and even earn college credit at the University of California in San Diego while doing it.
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