Teaching with Sandbox Games: Minecraft, Game-Based Learning, and 21st Century Competencies
Keywords:digital game-based learning, 21st century competencies, pedagogy, Minecraft
In this paper, we present the findings of a research study, working with 12 educators in a large urban school board in Ontario using Minecraft for 21st century competency development. We identify a number of pedagogical moves teachers made to support 21st century learning through communication and collaboration, both in the classroom and in the game world, and three approaches to play, directed/guided, scaffolded, and open, that represented a three tiers of critical thinking and creativity/innovation. We argue that while an open, exploratory sandbox game such as Minecraft can meaningfully aid students in the development of 21st century competencies, it is in fact teachers’ decisions around how the game will be used in the classroom that determine whether or not 21st century competency development is supported.
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