Do you have children in your class who are Minecraft obsessed? Do you know what Minecraft actually is and how it could actually benefit children? Well, it's true - Minecraft can actually develop great coding and even entrepreneurial skills in children. For those of you, like me, who want to know the absolute basics first so that you can potentially help channel children's interest in Minecraft and help them be a budding game designer or coder.
In Minecraft, children can actually learn whilst they play. Within the game, you have the opportunity to create your own 'mods', which some people then go on to sell in the Minecraft marketplace and even make a living off of this! It's even been stated that, because of the endless things you can learn to do in Minecraft, it is one of the best educational games of the decade!
How does Minecraft teach Coding?
Minecraft uses a simplistic 1×1 block structure to makes up the worlds and objects. It’s very easy to translate these into a programming language made up of 1’s and 0’s that dictate what the program does and how it runs. This binary language can then be communicated to the computer through lines of coding. Understanding the basics of coding is an incredibly useful skill to have.
Minecraft offers a motivation for children to learn to code as as it combines a fun game they love, with a gentle introduction to coding functionality. The way Minecraft engrosses kids can be used to help engage them to learn about something useful in a fun way that doesn’t feel like work.
Minecraft can be enhanced by modifications (or ‘mods’) that are outside strings of code that changes the game from the inside, such as generating monsters, giving players increased health or items and even telling the non-playable characters to do specific things.
What is a 'mod'?
Minecraft 'mods' (short for modification) are modifications that are made to the game which affects game play. These modifications could be anything from just changing the colours or textures of blocks to creating brand new worlds or characters.
Add or remove blocks and items
Change the appearance of blocks
Grant players special abilities
Alter landscapes or terrain
Add machines or devices to the game
How can Children Create 'Mods'?
There are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube that teach children how to create mods, but there are also self-paced courses that could be of interest to some children who really want to get into the details of coding.
CodaKid's award-winning Minecraft coding courses for ages 8+ provide the perfect way to learn Java programming with the professional text editor Eclipse! Kids make amazing custom mods for Minecraft that they can share with family and friends! These courses are designed so that even complete beginners can get involved and learn the fundamentals of computer programming.
What I love about CodaKids is that they actually teach the computer programming language and not just how to make the mods. With the knowledge of how to write code in a specific language, the possibilities and transferable skills are endless!
Why Teach Children to Code?
The job market is changing rapidly, and according to expert estimates, 65% of children entering school now will end up in jobs that don't even exist today. Future jobs could be robot consultants or self-driving car mechanics! Digitalisation is transforming workplaces everywhere, and having strong computer, technical or coding skills will ensure that you are needed and valuable to employers.
Even if a child ends up in a profession that does not actively involve writing code, understanding a programming language, and the ways in which technology might be able to impact the working environment will add value for any company they may work for in the future.