Page 25 - THE Journal, May/June 2018
P. 25

Education Edition. “The content doesn’t go away. It’s more about meeting the students where they are, taking their passion and turning it into an opportunity for learning.”
Minecraft, of course, is the online platform that enables users to construct environments “block by block” and populate them with animals and people, real and imaginary. In 2016 Rami’s employer, Microsoft, acquired Minecraft: Education Edition, a special edition of the open world, and began building up its functionality for class- room use. Most recently, the company released Minecraft Chem- istry, a resource pack for helping students learn chemistry within the game. Resources for that include new lessons and activities, a teacher lab book, a downloadable world and community support.
Hitting Student-Centered Learning
Both educators believe that gaming can hit the target in student-cen- tered learning better in several ways than many other instructional
techniques for science, by offering a better way to simulate real life, promoting persistence and prompting authentic collaboration.
Gaming eliminates constraints. That might be limitations related to time or those related to concepts. If the unit is covering the topic of recessive and dominant genes, as Schrader’s was, nobody has
the time to “grow generation after generation of plants in order to do that study, because it takes time for plants to grow,” Schrader explained. “But if I can find a game that matches that need, then it helps model that for kids so they understand it.”
Likewise, for a unit that teaches about the solar system, students could draw or build physical models, “but they just don’t do it justice,” noted Schrader. The right games, on the other hand, can allow the learners to “go in and change the tilts of planets, move the distance from the sun and change the revolution and the location and can see what that does to the environments of the planets.”
The best game developers have mastered persistence. They
MAY/JUNE 2018 | 25
ur Science Lessons Up
RawPixel /

   23   24   25   26   27