Many people speculate that Minecraft will change education.
For me, the bigger question is: Will Minecraft change education, or will education change Minecraft?
The jury is still out on that question, but we might find some clues by examining the following question raised at #MinecraftLA, an education summit sponsored by Microsoft FuseLabs and Connected Camps:
Q1: What are the differences between teacher-driven and student-driven learning?
There was a great deal of tension that surfaced at the summit surrounding this question. Truth is, this is a debate that has existed long before Minecraft. Educators have been discussing and arguing about this, in terms of best practices, for a very long time Think: Skinner v. Vygotski & Piaget. What brings Minecraft to the debate is that it is a perfect platform for classroom use because kids love it and the game is so flexible that it can easily be adapted to multiple uses.
KQED’s Mineshift refers to Minecraft as: “…the Teachers’ Ultimate Multi-Tool”
I often use this clip when I present, asking teachers if they agree that Minecraft is the perfect “Teachers’ Tool”. It always is a great conversation starter… whose tool is it? Is it a TEACHING tool, or is it a LEARNING tool?
At first, this question may seem like splitting hairs. Isn’t it all the same, teaching & learning? I don’t think so.
To add confusion to the debate, we now need to look at the learning taking place outside of school- without us! This conversation would be incomplete if we ignored youth-driven learning.
Listen as my students in explain the bumper car ride they developed on our 24/7 server:
As a teacher, can you identify the learning that is embedded in their play?
I will do my best to unpack the following concepts based on my own observations and perspective:
Teacher-Driven: teachers determin learning paths, decisions driven by curriculum/outcomes
Student-Driven: students influence learning paths with teacher guidance *typically driven by pre-determined curriculum/outcomes
Youth-Driven: outside of school, driven by “play” and individual/group interests
I invite colleagues to weigh-in and to consider contributing through guest posts. So, here goes…