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Minecraft as a vehicle for learning: placing learners in the driver’s seat

[Listen and learn : Panel]

Tuesday, June 28, 2:15–3:15 pm
CCC 401

favoritesShane Asselstine  favoritesSteve Isaacs  favoritesDiane Main  favoritesDeirdre Quarnstrom  favoritesStephen Reid  favoritesDr. Bron Stuckey  
Have you heard about Minecraft and game-based learning? Not totally convinced of the educational value, how it supports student outcomes and how it aligns with state standards? Join us for a lively discussion around the value of immersive games like Minecraft in the classroom.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Games and simulations
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: Students : Critical thinking, problem solving and decision making
Teachers : Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
Students : Communication and collaboration
Additional detail: Spotlight on Solutions presentation

Digital tote resources
Description: Minecraft in EDU site

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Educators will learn how Minecraft focuses on teaching interdisciplinary skills across different content areas such as math, history literature and science.

Educators will learn how Minecraft and game based learning has improved student engagement, teaches many necessary skills used in the workforce and walkway with concrete ways to get started with Minecraft in their own classroom.


On-screen "Minecraft world" with Anthony Salcito and Stephen Reid collaborating on interdisciplinary learning activity together that spans across subjects – i.e. math & history.

Stephen discusses the power of immersive games-based learning, comments on the previous examples shown and skills exhibited in collaboration, communications, creativity, critical thinking and computational thinking.

Anthony shares key messages about Minecraft in Education - it's about pedagogy not product.

• Shows video of educators using Minecraft in their classroom

• Educator Panel Q&A moderated by Anthony about how each of them uses Minecraft in the classroom. Special attention is made to engaging the audience to ask insightful questions.

Supporting research

• Kuhn, Simone. Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014 Vol. 19, pgs 265-271. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
Other relevant research:
• Bos, B., Wilder, L., Cook, M. & O’Donnell, R. Learning Mathematics through Minecraft. Teaching Children Mathematics, Vol. 21. No. 1 (August 2014), pp. 56-59.
• Canossa, A., Martinez, J., Togelius, J. (2013) Give Me a Reason to Dig: Minecraft and Psychology of Motivation. In Ieee conference on computational intelligence and games.
• D’Angelo, C., Rutstein, D., Harris, C., Bernard, R., Borokhovshi, E., Haertel, G. (2013). Simulations for STEM Learning: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Executive Summary). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
• Gee, J. (2007). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
• Kapp, K. (2012) The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
• Lopez, J. & Garrido, C. Pedagogical Integration of the Application Minecraft EDU in Elementary School: A Case Study. Universidad de Murcia. Pixel-Bit. Revista de Medios y Educacion. 45. July 2014
• McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and They Can Change the World. New York, NY: Penguin.
• Takeuchi, L. M., & Vaala, S. (2014). Level up learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
• Toppo, G (2015). The Game Believes In You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press



favorites Shane Asselstine, Momilani Elementary School

Shane is the Technology Integration Specialist at Momilani Elementary School, a game-based educator, and the Facilitator for Hawaii. He has been presenting internationally on technology in education for the past three years. Shane was awarded the ISTE Making It Happen Award in 2015 and is a PAEMST 2015 nominee. He provides workshops on Code Studio around the state and currently he has trained over 350 teachers to incorporate computer science into the classroom.

favorites Steve Isaacs, William Annin Middle School

Steve Isaacs has been teaching for 23 years. For the past 17 years, he has been at William Annin Middle School, where he developed a game design and development curriculum. Steve has found that the collaborative possibilities in Minecraft are an incredible tool for game development. In addition to teaching at William Annin, Steve developed and teaches an online game development course for Virtual High School. It has consistently been one of the school’s most popular courses for the past 8 years

favorites Diane Main, The Harker School

Diane Main serves as Director of Learning, Innovation and Design (9-12) at The Harker School in San Jose, California. She is also adjunct faculty for San Diego State University's Learning Design and Technology department. She is the former Program Director of the MERIT program at Krause Center for Innovation, and is a Google for Education Certified Innovator. Other EdTech activities include presenting at conferences nationwide, serving as president for the board of SVCUE, and presenting at CUE Rock Star Teacher Camps, ISTE, and other events. Diane lives with her husband and son in Campbell, California.

favorites Deirdre Quarnstrom, Microsoft

favorites Stephen Reid, Microsoft

Creative producer with a passion for merging ICT with education, art, and culture. Stephen works with games such as Minecraft, Little Big Planet, Papo and Yo, Age of Mythology, and even Tomb Raider. He is also a Minecraft teacher, running ten Minecraft Education servers dedicated to children, teachers and parents all over the world.

favorites Dr. Bron Stuckey, Innovative Educational Ideas

Bron Stuckey, is an educator dedicated to student engagement in schools and high quality professional learning for teachers. Her expertise includes the use of game design, games-based learning and game-inspired learning (gamification). Bron cut her teeth in games for learning long before Minecraft exploded into the world through her 10 years with the highly successful Arizona State University Quest Atlantis program. She now explores, curates and supports teachers using Minecraft in their classrooms and the community to be built for that all important next wave of teachers raring to make a difference with gameful practices. She works both in school with kids and teachers and online in a number of contexts. The Minecraft Experience is a curation of diverse and rich experiences in global classrooms. Her newly launched blog The Get Game Hub is a place to share case stories of teachers taking their first adventurous steps into gameful learning practices including classroom integration of Minecraft. Her work focuses on jumping the chasm from early adopters of gameful practices to mainstreaming games, game based learning and game design in K-Grey education. Quote: "The research is out there gameful learning practices are reaching students our systems are failing. Get in touch with your sense of fun and everyone wins!"