One of the classes held by Northern Kentucky University’s ExploreMore is taking on a way of teaching history involving a videogame. The class, taught by Shannon Foster, uses the open world game, Minecraft. Foster, who is an avid Minecraft player, describes the experience as a virtual fieldtrip.
“Minecraft is an open world and you can do anything with it. In this case we made a Japanese pagoda. You can walk through it and explore it. In this map we have also the coliseums and the pyramids,” said Foster.
The class consists of two parts-one that teaches history and the architecture of the ancient wonders of the world and those who built them, other challenges the creativity of the students.
“One of the things I most want to do in Minecraft is build a school and play in it with my friends and play school with them,” said student Clair Meyers.
The camp also provides a way to make friends. Many of the students and Foster believe that Minecraft is a good and educational game that helps create friendships and expand upon creativity. Many of the students and the teacher played on a private multiplayer server, where they could work together and play on the same world.
“Minecraft is, to me, is being able to socialize and you can have an adventure. You can do a lot in art and can play with your friends,” said student Connor Foster.
Minecraft is, at its heart, a game about building. There is even a mode for it called creative mode, in which players have infinite resources and items. One of the big aspects of Minecraft is the quick builds and massive builds. On the server at NKU there is a massive coliseum modeled after the real one that took the builder a month to make.
“[In camp] we have been doing build contests because that’s, kind of what Minecraft is. In Minecraft through time we have been learning about ancient cities…It’s not like being in a classroom, in a desk all day, you’re going and having fun. You get to explore and learn instead of just listening to a talk,” said student Jay Kroger.
Minecraft is considered a game not just about exploring, mining, and building, but also a game of math and geometry. It is a game about building and creating, a game of art and friendship.
There are servers that let you play mini-games and others that let you fight. There are adventure maps for you to explore and follow a story. There are mods to keep Minecraft new. Minecraft is an open slate to be used for all kinds of reasons, including education.