One of the best parts of my job is meeting amazing educators who think up new and creative ways to engage learners on their educational journey. I was talking recently with Annelise Borger, a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIE-E) who shared with me how she had been using Minecraft: Education Edition and the Code Builder feature to teach her students learning the Chinese language.
Intrigued, she agreed to share her lesson plan with me so I could review and share on here under the Creative Commons License:
In conjunction with the PDF lesson plan above, you can download the sample code to run the 'solution' from here so you have both the student work and the 'answer' if you want to demonstrate the successful outcome.
The Code Executing In Minecraft: Education Edition
This is certainly a creative way to introduce the highly engaging platform of Minecraft into a subject area that may not be one that traditionally leverages game based learning. Annelise has done a great job of combining language translation skills with computational thinking to help her students learn 21st century skill sets.
I did a quick scan of the other lessons on the Minecraft: Education Edition homepage that included references to China and there were some fun ideas if you're interested in exploring further:
- Recreating the Chinese Tang Dynasty capital city - this is especially interesting as the lesson plan and outline is designed to support multi-class engagement.
- Exploring systems of measurement used by the Chinese - a great numeracy activity that includes some historical angles as well.
In my experience, usually a very high percentage of students in a class have had at least some exposure to Minecraft before, so teachers can introduce lessons like the above without necessarily being experts in the game play of Minecraft itself. Instead, they can build robust learning outcomes they want their students to work towards, the medium is simply pivoted towards using Minecraft instead of alternative platforms they may have previously used. To be able to integrate elements of coding into a subject such as languages is an additional bonus!
Thanks again to Annelise for sharing this lesson and if you do use it, be sure to respect the Creative Commons licensing around her lesson. If you want to see more of what Annelise is doing in this space, check out her homepage here.