Cool Schools: Using games in class to learn

LaSalle Elementary School students are playing games in the classroom but it is not just for fun. The new technology being implemented is part of the curriculum.

Mr. Johnson's sixth grade class is piloting the program. Recently they received a grant from the Mishawaka Education Foundation for Minecraft licenses.

“I know there’s other teachers who have used it. I’ve wanted to do it for a number of years but this is the first that I know of in the area in this setting so we’re kind of excited to be pioneers,” said Eric Johnson.

The game works by placing and mining 3-D looking blocks that represent different objects like dirt, stones, water, and even tree trunks.

When the game starts, players have to work fast to build a shelter to survive and after that they are able to build more complex structures. This allows for creativity and problem solving.

“There are no limits and they can express themselves and they can demonstrate what they’ve learned through this game. They’re learning but they don’t really recognize it as traditional learning,” Johnson added.

A special branch of the game called Minecraft Edu allows for teachers to add in their own curriculum. "There’s a Minecraft Edu community of teachers and students from all over the world. There’s about 20,000 that are now using it in a classroom setting and learning with it,” he said.

Getting the chance to play in class is something students get excited about. “We’ve tried to play Minecraft in class before but teachers say it’s not educational and this is kind of proven those teachers wrong,” said sixth grader Josh Dominiack.

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