Could Minecraft help kids get smarter?

Students playing Minecraft

Students playing Minecraft. Credit: Elissa Malespina

When Rob Patrick’s then 7-year-old son Riley started asking to play Minecraft two years ago, the Edmonton-based radio morning show host and his wife had no idea what he was talking about.

After asking around and doing some research, they decided Minecraft was much better than most of the other gaming alternatives because it was creative and had no violence.

“What we weren’t warned about,” says Patrick, “was how addicting it is for boys that age. Before too long, we started noticing his addiction taking shape. Asking him to turn it off became more of a struggle and eventually a full on fight.”

It’s a concern many parents can relate to — Minecraft is a phenomenon, with over 100 million users. A game with Lego-like promise, in which users construct things out of blocks, the game was officially released on Nov. 18, 2011, and, according to the Mirror (U.K.), it was the top-selling app on both iPads and iPhones in 2013. More than 9 million Facebook users like the game’s official page, and among those users and fans, as one might expect, are teachers, professors and students.

Teachers are drawn to the game because it has educational benefits, which encourage active, rather than passive, playing and can teach coding to children. For those reasons, some experts are convinced that Minecraft is a better teaching and learning platform than most other games.

Read more of my Deseret News article, “Could Minecraft help kids get smarter?”

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