Focus on coding for all students with Microsoft’s latest version of Minecraft during Computer Science Education Week 2017.
This year’s Computer Science Education Week is upon us and, as many teachers know, it brings the opportunity to show students that they, too, can code. Through fostering a global movement during this week, using the Hour of Code and an enormous social-media campaign, technology giants including Microsoft are offering educational tools, such as Minecraft: Education Edition, to develop student interest in coding. This year, Microsoft has updated its Minecraft: Education Edition tutorial, providing greater opportunities to students for learning to code and more educational tools to educators when introducing this subject.
New Adventures in 2017
The latest version of Minecraft: Education Edition features a new Minecraft Hour of Code Tutorial named “Hero’s Journey.” Introducing a new character – the Minecraft Agent – the free tutorial also includes new graphics, additional challenges for students to overcome, more settings, and detailed tutorials to equip students on their coding adventures.
Led through the program by Stacy Hinojosa, Minecraft creator, students will be offered 10 challenges through which they will encounter exercises using loops, debugging, and functions. The design of the program allows children to engage in a more student-centered learning environment, as they will create the solutions that command the Agent to advance. Bonus features include opportunities to solve additional challenges that allow children to collect diamonds along a Diamond Path after exhibiting their knowledge of coding concepts they have learned.
Coding for All
Sure, the tutorial is an extraordinary tool to teach students how to code, but the Minecraft team has also made it accessible for everyone, from children through senior adults, to learn this technology for the first time. Microsoft advises teachers to “Use the word ‘you’ instead of ‘anybody,” which reinforces the message that coding, and computer science, is for everyone,” which is one of the most important goals of the Hour of Code.
Educators are also provided a number of tools to become familiar with Minecraft’s Hero’s Journey, which can be accessed for download through the site. The program can be accessed on any device, is offered in 28 languages, and it’s free, which means more people can take the first steps toward an education in coding. Though participating in the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week is important, remember that Minecraft’s programs are available to students at any time, making these activities excellent additions to station-based learning sessions throughout the year.
As children use the Minecraft: Education Edition to learn, document classroom activities during the week via social media by tagging @playcraftlearn and @stem_jobs. Don’t forget to include #HourOfCode, #CSEdWeek, #MinecraftEdu, to increase and share the week’s learning experience on social media. This truly is a global movement, and you can play an important part in it.