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Education Games Idle

Swedish School Makes Minecraft Lessons Compulsory 162

Posted by samzenpus
from the learn-to-play dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "The Viktor Rydberg school in Stockholm, Sweden, has announced that they have included Minecraft into the curriculum for their 13-year-old students. The program is not meant to teach children about math or language, but rather as a tool to inspire creativity in the classroom. 'They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future,' Viktor Rydberg teacher Monica Ekman told English-language newspaper The Local. 'It's not any different from arts or woodcraft,' she added."
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Swedish School Makes Minecraft Lessons Compulsory

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  • by Narrowband (2602733) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:34PM (#42586921)
    ''They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future,"

    My son must have somehow gone to that school without telling me. He keeps talking about Creepers being a key natural resource.
  • Legos (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:35PM (#42586937)

    Or you could do what my 3rd grade teacher did and let a bunch of kids play with Legos.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mark-t (151149)
      <pedantry> LEGO. Or LEGO bricks. Not Legos. Ever. </pedantry>
      • Re:Legos (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:21PM (#42587305)

        Get over yourself.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Someone give him some Legos.

      • <pedantry> LEGO. Or LEGO bricks. Not Legos. Ever. </pedantry>

        I'm guessing I'm the only person who compromises between the two: I pluralize it as LEGOs -- all-caps LEGO with a small 's'.

    • Or you could do what my 3rd grade teacher did and let a bunch of kids play with Legos.

      ... or you could let them play minecraft, as justification for the huge capital investment in computers. I mean, there HAS to be a reason we spent all that money on computer labs.

      Also, ewww. Do you know what kids do with legos?

      • Re:Legos (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:21PM (#42587765)

        Yeah... they strategically place them throughout the house hidden out of plain site so they can be stepped on in the middle of the night while barefoot.

        THAT's what they do with Legos!

        • by Amouth (879122)

          You just gave me a great idea for a product, Camo LEGO. have them colored, painted to look like carpet, hardwood floors, tile's. then they could also be strategically placed in plain sight for the amusement of children.

          But while i see the market as huge, i see the cost being a problem, as LEGO are so expensive that only the adults can afford to buy them and what right minded adult would by that for their kids to use against them?

          But then again, given the path of society and the very scary nature of a lot

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Legos let you do one thing well, build a lot of things.

      Computers let you do a lot of things well.

      And a decent batch of Lego costs more than computers. Which makes me think maybe they really are overpriced after all. Whatever the market will bear, I guess.

    • But Lego is Danish, Minecraft is Swedish, guess who they are going to support?

  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:39PM (#42586959) Homepage Journal

    they've made Starcraft mandatory learning.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:52PM (#42587081)

    Simcity does city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future. Better.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It also doesn't have cooperative multiplayer, it's a very limited environment that doesn't encourage creativity, it's four times more expensive than Minecraft, and it requires Origin DRM.

      • What makes you think anyone is talking about the upcoming version? In terms of what the apparent lessons are supposed to teach could easily be taught using Sim City 2000, 3000, or 4. Why would you need cooperative multiplayer for this curricular? None of the actual goals seem to need it and the article doesn't even hint at Minecraft being played on a server.

        There is no feedback from Minecraft regarding any of these topics, where as any Sim City will inform you of results caused by your (good/poor) planning,

        • by Sparton (1358159)

          Why would you need cooperative multiplayer for this curricular? None of the actual goals seem to need it and the article doesn't even hint at Minecraft being played on a server.

          The summary mentioned "city planning". For the intent of what they probably want to teach students, it seems likely that they'll do something similar to what I did in the Art Institute, where coordinating with an entire class to make a small town. While this seems very simple, you learn a lot when coordinating the style of buildings, ensuring you have a roadwork that everyone can work with (and fit their buildings with), and so forth.

          There is no feedback from Minecraft regarding any of these topics, where as any Sim City will inform you of results caused by your (good/poor) planning, sims will complaint about environmental conditions and even get mad when you start chopping down woodlands, etc.

          There's no direct feedback, in many cases, but again, I think the focus in

      • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:24PM (#42587779)

        cooperative multiplayer is in simcity 2000 network edition

    • Simcity does city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future. Better.

      ... And Godzilla.

      • I honestly believe they could market SimCity as a destruction simulator, where you develop a town so that you can destroy it over and over again.

    • by Spiridios (2406474) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:08PM (#42587213) Journal

      Simcity does city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future. Better.

      I don't think they're really on the same scale. In Simcity, you play the planner/mayor/whatever-high-up that determines macro issues. We should build houses here, power plants should be there. I don't care what you think, I'm God.

      In Minecraft you play an individual. You determine what you use, where you build, how you build, all micro issues centered around yourself. You have no in-game control over your fellow players. You have to resort to actually negotiating and talking about things if you want to affect the macro situation.

      I most definitely agree that Simcity could be used for teaching. However, depending on what it is you're actually trying to teach, I would not call it "better."

    • by fufufang (2603203)

      Simcity does city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future. Better.

      The landfills in SimCity 4 would never go away. The power stations simply create too much pollution. People tend to build cities simply serve as landfill site and one massive power station.

      • Sort of like Loy Yang and the city of Traralgon, then.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loy_Yang_Power_Station [wikipedia.org]

      • Are you sure about that? I seem to recall that garbage would, eventually, disappear from a landfill. If anything, it seems that SC4 actually modelled that rather accurately in that trash in a landfill takes a long time to biodegrade. If you never stop using a landfill then it will never begin to clear up. Of course, the problem is that there is no way to control garbage dispersal/destination in SC4 at a fine enough level. The only way you might notice a landfill shrinking would be to export all of your

    • by jrumney (197329)
      Right, but if all the students learned was SimCity, how would that help prepare them for the coming zombie apocalypse?
    • by Coisiche (2000870)

      I've never played either but the comments suggest that SimCity is for a model of autocratic rule without dissension and Minecraft (at least on a server) requires negotiation with other players. Opinion seems to be very polarized between the two, other than a couple of people who prefer Dwarf Fortress.

      Hmm... can't quite put my finger on what that's making me think of...

    • by khallow (566160)
      While those are nice things, I think Minecraft does cooperation and infrastructure development better. For example, I can divide my games into three phases. In the first phase, I gather enough resources to survive (basically you need a secure, well lit (light keeps the monsters from spawning) shelter that you can find again, once you die). In the second phase, I construct "farms" for making various things. This is the initial stage of the infrastructure building that one can do. In the third stage, it's ego
    • I remember playing SimCity in high school geography class. I guess you have to move with the times and play a more modern game to learn about the more modern world.

    • by AvitarX (172628)

      Lincity even more (except for getting things done)

  • Is the school paying for it? or are they just telling kids how to download it for free (local play only)

    • by Nyder (754090)

      Is the school paying for it? or are they just telling kids how to download it for free (local play only)

      While I do not know the answer, the kids could of been required to pay for it. Well, the kids parents.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Is the school paying for it? or are they just telling kids how to download it for free (local play only)

      What? [worldofminecraft.com]

  • As a teacher, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ClaraBow (212734) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:08PM (#42587209)
    I think this is wonderful. I'm very disheartened by the direction of the educational system in the United States. It seems that we have become a nation obsessed with standardized testing due to the No Child Left Behind Legislation (NCLB). At least at our school, all we care about is doing well on the state test because our school is graded and penalized based on the scores. It is very sad as art programs, Tech Ed, and project based learning is out the door because we have to drill and kill our kids so we can improve on the state test. It's not the teachers' or the administrators' fault. It's the laws that have been put in place by clueless Legislators. It's very sad that creativity has been trumped by root memorization, thoughtless learning!
    • At the same time, you have 12 years to teach a kid to read, write a bit, and basic algebra. The standards are not high. If you can't do that in 12 years and fit in some minecraft on the side, something else is wrong.
      • by ClaraBow (212734)
        I completely agree! There should be enough time for art, computer programming, and a lot of other creative and engaging activities at school. The kids who have aptitude learn to read and write by the 3rd grade. The problem is that we, as a nation, are so focused on not leaving any child behind and are therefore pouring a lot of resources into remedition instead of enrichment. The above average kids are bored to death and quickly become apathetic towards school.
      • by zildgulf (1116981)
        I believe that is the point many people have made concerning our education system. America's education system is not one system but thousands of different public school systems. The decentralization of school systems can allow each system to educate based upon the needs of the community, if done correctly. It allows limited experimentation in education. What has happened is that the federal government is trying to get centralized control of the systems by "No Child Left Behind" (now nicknamed by teacher
        • Do you really think that the brightest students ever commonly wanted to be teachers?
        • by Druegan (646568)

          My parents were both teachers for ~30 years at the high school level here in Illinois.. and then my mother went on to be an educational consultant and inservice provider for another 10 years after retiring from active teaching. As such, I grew up looking at both sides of the educational system more than the average person..

          This problem you describe is not new. It's not even something that arose with the poorly named "No Child Left Behind" legislation. I remember Illinois started a program of heavier standar

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Any teacher will tell you... If you make standardized test they will teach to that.

      Any IT pro will tell you... If you reward firefighters you breed arsonists.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This will seem to work well, then kids will start getting addicted and have trouble doing things outside of Minecraft. Even worse if they find mods like Industrial Craft. I'm an adult and I have issues controlling how much time I spend on Minecraft, and kids probably have even less self control than I do.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:27PM (#42587347)

    Doesn't seem to go well together.

    But are they just playing it, or will they be building maps or what? If we're just promoting the next Oregon Trail for the newer generation, it'll largely be a waste of time.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember when our company hired a guy to create and maintain our second life presence. His cubicle was nicer than mine, but I still have a job.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You may still have a job, but how's your second life?

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:07PM (#42587661) Homepage Journal

    And we all know, the best way to foster creativity is...

    ...make it mandatory!

    • "That's very done."

          -- The Ant (The Once and Future King)

      "Everything that is not mandatory is forbidden. Everything that is not forbidden is mandatory."

      A lovely character study, full of wince-able observations and contrasts on the human condition from the point of view of young Arthur.
      It's from a book ;)

  • all Swedish software will be Minecraft compatible
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:34PM (#42587855) Homepage Journal
    When they're looking at buying their first house, they'll just buy an empty lot with a bunch of trees and then start punching them...
  • I don't remember selecting ANY subjects when I was thirteen. Every class was specified by the default curriculum.

  • by Megane (129182) on Monday January 14, 2013 @11:14PM (#42588373) Homepage
    ...the creeper blew up my homework!
  • I always hated wood working class, they always seemed to need a massive amount of funding for what could be done by hand. In one case the computer networking course and computer eng course ( at highschool ) got shutdown due to lack of funds, kicker is the wood working course got all new wood working machines. Another course I never understood was Art, they always poured money into the Art program but frankly I never saw it go anywhere. Now we have a story about another computer course opening up and I h
  • I have a little brother that is that age, and LOVES MineCraft. I guess we can pass it off as educational now.
  • Students, your first MineCraft assignment is to build a cat fountain.

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