Minecraft is for learning? Educational gaming is a lockdown hit

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With schools closed and many a parent thrust into the difficult role of managing a job, a household and a child’s education, here’s one unexpected bit of positive news to emerge from the coronavirus outbreak: Video games are good for your brain. Well, some games, at least. Minecraft, the Microsoft-owned game known for its user-driven content, creative use of blocks and monsters that come out at night, has been at the forefront of mainstream games that utilise educational content. The studio’s Minecraft: Education Edition has for the last few years played host to virtual curricula that have allowed students to visit and learn about global monuments, sharpen maths skills, understand coding or take puzzle-filled explorations to places as varied as the human body or a NASA-approved jaunt into the International Space Station. Much of this content, which was at first fueled by educators in the Minecraft community before Microsoft brought it in-house in 2016, had previously been available only to schools and teachers and worked in tandem with Microsoft educational accounts. In March, however, Microsoft made an assortment of Minecraft’s popular educational tools available for free, with easier access for all players via the Minecraft Marketplace. And players have flocked to …

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