I have discovered a completely new way of teaching English by using Minecraft. Kids love Minecraft, there are over 20 million copies of Minecraft on PC alone. The big question is how do you take this and make it into a real educational tool.
If you visit http://www.DrFog.co.uk, you will see that there are so many different ways of teaching with Minecraft.
I first decided to create a weekly spelling test using British Curriculum words. I started by getting a list of words teachers use each week in British schools, using a mix of recommended words and also extending the lists by using their spelling rules.
I then developed an island on a Minecraft world so it was separated into two different sections. In the first section, the students could either play on their own (if they have Minecraft) or watch a YouTube video I created. There is a really simple way of teaching students their spellings.
First the simply look at the words – what do they notice about its shape and spelling. Then they read the word out loud a few times so they can hear the words and match the words to the sounds. Then I spun the camera around so the children could spell the words. I swung the camera back to the words so the students were able to check their spelling. I then repeated this for all the spellings. Students are free to take this video and repeat it as many times as they like until they get all the words corrects.
Then comes the spelling test. The children catch a train to the second island (to add a bit of movement and excitement to their learning). Here they only hear each of the words. They then have 15 seconds to write down each of the words. At the end of the test, the students are able to check their answers and mark their own work, or swap with a friend and mark each others’ work.
There is another way of using Minecraft. I also created another 20 different Minecraft worlds, using different features, such as caves, plains, grasslands and woodlands and then the students read the 20 fun facts I have found about them. The students are free to download the Minecraft maps and explore them and then write a description of each location using their 5 senses. It is a really inspirational way of getting them to describe their locations using as much descriptive wording as possible.
This is just the tip of this software. Another great feature is if the students get to explore the software. They can read a story in a normal way, then recreate the main settings in a 3D world.
They can present their buildings and they can discuss what features they would need to add to make it more realistic. They can also compare and contrast their Minecraft world with the real thing.