Mojang's Minecraft is being used in classrooms to teach subjects like geography, physics and even English language, with the game's education uses discussed at Minecon this past weekend, reports GameSpot AU.
Minecraft's maps have been used to demonstrate geographic population displacement and different biomes' affect on plant life. Teachers have also been using Red Stone, an in-game feature that works like real-world electrical circuits, to show how electronics work.
Stephen Reid, an advocate for teaching through video games, cites the millions of Minecraft tutorial videos currently posted on YouTube, many of which have been created by younger players, as examples of the the game's real-world instructional benefits. Building together promotes learning of teamwork fundamentals, while Minecraft's physics-bending helps students learn why the game's system doesn't work in the real world.
"Mankind has an inherent urge to create", says Reid. "It's that process of creation, that process of working with others and building wonderful things, which makes it so appealing."
Projects to bring Minecraft into the classroom have already sprung up, such as Minecraft EDU, a program that offers the game at 50 percent off along with a set of tools specifically for the classroom.