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Minecraft

24.06.2016
Minecraft in the classroom
Koen Timmers
by Koen Timmers
Educator - Author - Keynote speaker - Global Teacher Prize 2017 finalist

Although I'm not such a gamer I instantly liked the concept of Minecraft. In this article I'd like to discuss how Minecraft can be played and how it can be used in the classroom. 

Installing Micecraft

Educators, students and school administrators are able to download and use Minecraft for free, if their school is in a Office365 plan. Simply navigate to http://education.minecraft.net/getstarted and enter your email address. After downloading the installation file (about 170MB) you need to install Minecraft. Start Minecraft by hitting the icon 

How Minecraft works

Once you started Minecraft you'll need to hit the Play button. You might need to sign in first (using your school account).

Second you'll need to choose your world or create one. 

Hit the button New World

Next you'll need to decide which Game Mode you prefer. 

  • Survival is more like a game in which players have to build and fight to survive.
  • Creative allows you to build without the aspect of other characters who might kill you. The creative mode is in most cases the most interesting mode to be used in the classroom. 

Hit Creative and click on Create World! You are now able to play the Minecraft game.

Basically Minecraft is about placing and mining blocks. These 3D cubes can be made of different kinds of materials: dirt, stone, water, wood, etc. By hitting a tree you will collect wood, by hitting the ground you'll collect dirt and by hitting sheep you'll collect wool.  

When playing the survival mode, you need to build a shelter to protect yourself from the creepers who will appear at night. One day is 20 minutes in real time. 

When entering the game, you might see grass, trees, cows, sheep, water, etc. You can walk using the keys w (forward), s (backwards), d (right) and a (left). Hit the spacebar to jump. By doubleclicking the spacebar you will enter the flight mode, which you can leave by hitting shift. 

By clicking you can hit animals or destroy things like trees, ground, etc. By destroying things and killing animals you can gain materials like wool (sheep), meat (cows), wood (trees), etc. 

By right clicking you can build. The material which you will build in is the one which is selected on the bottom. By hitting the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 keys you can switch materials. Another option is hitting e and clicking on the material you prefer. 

When the sun goes down, you can put torches to bring some light. 

When you make holes in the ground, you will very often find cages filled with stone, sand and water. Torches will bring light into these cages. 

You are able to build various constructions:castles, houses, shelters, hospitals, monuments, etc. 

How about this Taj Mahal replica? 

In the next article I'll focus on how Minecraft can be used in the classroom for educational purposes.

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