Do you keep asking yourself how a video game like Minecraft can be educational? Or better yet, how is Minecraft the most popular video game of all time AND educational!?

Minecraft is an educational tool and popular video game

How Minecraft can be used to teach students math and engineering? Learn about this video game Phenomenon!

Just how deep do the mines of Minecraft actually go? This month, we’ll be cracking into the ever-popular sandbox game which has creepered its way past its 10 year anniversary and forever in the hearts of millions of players of all ages around the world. In gaming standards, Minecraft has long since achieved legendary status as it has influenced so many other titles since breaking into the scene back in 2009. With over 200,000,000 – that’s right, 200 million – copies sold, it has rightly been hailed as one of the greatest video games of all time. So what made Minecraft a classic? From the procedurally generated worlds, the varying rules of the world (game modes), extensive crafting, and the ability to mod worlds, Minecraft is truly epic.

Teaching Minecraft in Jython to students at Digital Dragon

We have seen fully functioning in-game 3D printers and scientific calculators, to my own graduate department throwing its 2021 graduation in Minecraft on our private servers, it is astounding how creative and loyal the Minecraft community can be! To no surprise and because of the massive amount of freedom given to us in Minecraft, it has also achieved massive adoption in classrooms. In 2012, while Minecraft was considered an indie game and I was a student at Carnegie Mellon University, we already had a project with MinecraftEDU in which the goal was to make game-based learning through the MinecraftEdu software more accessible to students and educators alike. Both prior to and since, there have been scholarly articles and online teacher forums (and servers) buzzing about the blocky world(s) of Minecraft.

Minecraft summer camps at Digtial Dragon

In the early days of Digital Dragon, I even found myself teaching programming via Minecraft using Jython (a Java implementation of Python). I still remember the looks of delight on students’ faces when we would call lightning into the world with a few lines of code (a command usually reserved for the “world”). Many evolutions since, Digital Dragon continues to offer new and special Minecraft events from themed birthday parties to limited and exclusive experiences including the upcoming DD: Minecraft Olympics coinciding with the Summer Games. With continual expansions and new mechanics, Minecraft and its many versions / spins offs rarely miss in bringing home the Gold!

Minecraft Birthday Parties at Digital Dragon

Digital Dragon is offering both online and in-person Minecraft Camps this summer. Each week is a new adventure, in addition to the exclusive Olympics theme – Sky Wars, Build a Factory, and Co-op Survival are on deck. Check out all the summer offerings and get in on the Minecraft action!

TLDR; Minecraft has truly crafted its own way into the annals of video game history. Similar to what LEGO has accomplished in the physical toy realm it is never too late to pick up and start creating. With over 125 million monthly active users, this voxel based behemoth won’t be hitting bedrock anytime soon. Loved by the world over, Minecraft can truly allow you to express yourself. If you haven’t got on the crafting cart, there are plenty of opportunities to break in!

About the Author:

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.