When Minecraft was released in 2011, it exploded in popularity. To the community of over 100 million players around the world, the award-winning game represents creativity, strategy, collaboration, survival and so much more.
But do you that Minecraft also has the power to transform learning on a global scale?
By enabling students to create a virtual world and advance in it, they can learn digital citizenship, empathy, social skills and even improve their literacy—all while getting real time feedback on their problem solving skills from their teacher. In fact, more than 7,000 teachers around the world are already using Minecraft in the classroom.
Building on this natural use of Minecraft in the classroom, Microsoft is partnering with Code.org to bring a Minecraft-inspired coding tutorial to students and educators. This tutorial has been created by Minecraft game designers to introduce players to basic coding within a fun and familiar environment. It includes characters and challenges inspired by the game developed by Mojang especially for Hour of Code: an annual, global campaign held during the US Computer Science Education Week, 7-13 December.
Technology has become an integral part of people's daily lives around the world. There is a growing demand from students, parents, teachers, governments and nonprofits to teach youth not only how to use technology, but also how to create technology, helping them on their path towards becoming innovators and drivers of growth and opportunity in their communities. Learning Computer Science builds critical skills like computational thinking and problem solving that strengthens abilities, regardless of industry or sector.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently announced a $75M commitment in community programmes via the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative to increase access to Computer Science education for all youth, especially for those from under-represented backgrounds, and build greater diversity into the tech talent pipeline. Today's announcement with Code.org further underscores that commitment. Our partnership and involvement in the Hour of Code is key to inspire students to become interested in Computer Science.
How can YOU get involved?
If you are an educator or a parent, you can invite your students and children to do the Minecraft tutorial at http://code.org/mc or attend a live Hour of Code workshop at any Microsoft store. Anyone can volunteer to lead a coding workshop. And, if you want to advocate for more Computer Science education in schools you can add your voice to the thousands that are already calling for it.
What are you waiting for? Start coding today!
This is an extract from a 16 November blog post by Anthony Salcito, vice president, Microsoft Education. Read the full post on the Microsoft in Education Blog about new resources for Educators and School Leaders, including a partnership with edX to create new courses for school leaders; the new Microsoft Educator Community; the expansion of our Microsoft Innovative Educator Experts and Microsoft Showcase and Associate Showcase School programs; and details about a Global Skype-a-Thon on December 3 and 4.