Minecraft's 'digital Lego' recommended for the classroom

Certainly beats doing your times tables

Minecraft in the classroom

Video games are often criticised in the media for their violent content, or for potential negative effects stemming from an overindulgence, such as childhood obesity and poor relationships.

But gaming can be beneficial, too, keeping gamers sharp and, now, helping out in the classroom.

Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology in Australia have started urging educators to embrace the extremely popular Minecraft game as a teaching assistant.

Associate Professor Michael Dezuanni likens Minecraft to digital Lego, saying it helps students to better engage with maths, design, art and geography.

Build 'em up

"We've seen some real success with engagement, problem solving students, with design and their creative work," says Dezuanni.

"The teachers working with those students have been quite impressed by the way students work with the game as well."

Dezuanni also explains that the game has proven particularly successful in engaging students who haven't responded to more traditional teaching methods.

"One of the things that teachers were most excited about, was that it involved students who weren't traditionally successful in the classroom, so suddenly these students were successful, the other students saw them as leaders in the classroom."

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