Friday, 1 November 2013


I have had a number of discussions with parents about Minecraft. Some parents have concerns about the addictive nature of this game. They see the good aspects but do not like seeing their son’s drawn to it at every opportunity. Occasionally I get emails like the one below. (I have changed the name of the family)

Hi Warren

Greg gets emails about Bubbledome courses, and the latest one had a link to an interesting article (below)about a teacher who used the game Minecraft (a huge favourite with my boys and lots of their friends) as part of a school project. I thought you might find it interesting.

I assume you have seen Minecraft? Must admit, of all the games for my boys to be obsessed with it's really good. Lots to learn and create with it, and Greg seems to get quite a bit out of it socially too, interacting with new people.
Kind regards,


It seems to me that Minecraft is a digital wave that we can either manage and use to get the greatest good or try and fight off because of its addictive lure for children.

The magazine Interface is possibly the leading NZ journal for teachers supporting the use of ICT in learning. Certainly our staff all get to read this magazine. In a relatively recent publication of  Interface, the cover story headline was ‘Going Mad for Minecraft—Should you be using this simple building game in your classroom?’ (Issue 50 Term 3 Sept. 2013)

The short story is it is being used extensively in and out of classrooms (40 million users at last count) and it lends itself to a variety of learning uses engaging all aspects of the curriculum. Over and above inputs into  maths or other subject areas, Minecraft  fosters creativity and problem solving. “The mere mention of the word (minecraft) will have your students babbling on happily about redstone and spawn points, mobs and mods, skins…….. But here’s the thing. Before you know it, they will be sitting up straight, paying attention and working their butts off.” (p24 Interface (Issue 50 Term 3 Sept. 2013) Use the link

As a Principal I am incredibly aware of the need for balance in children’s lives. We love the outdoors and promote ‘mindfulness’, nature and getting enjoyment from the simple things in life. However we also see the tremendous opportunities and skill building the tools of e Learning provide. The 21stC student leaving school any time soon will need an array of skills such as creativity, problem solving, entrepreneurship and teamwork. The work force is screaming for people with strong IT skills supported by these skills just listed.

The big challenge for us as teachers and for parents is setting the scene to ensure young people are getting ‘balance’ in their lives. Part of this challenge is educating children in the art of self-discipline but until that ‘kicks in’ so individuals are ‘self-aware’ and autonomous, then we as adults have to take an active managing role. At times that will mean ‘tough love’, rules and consequences.

We recommend you find out as much about your child’s world so they see you have some sort of understanding of the benefits of things like ‘Minecraft’. In that way at least they can see you are informed and not just ‘bagging’ their passion out of ignorance. Give them adequate screen time but insist on down time, fresh air and contributing to the household team effort.
I came across the below site: Children On-Line---Devoted to the safety of children and teens online. (see what you think)

“Is Minecraft the Next Parental Concern? Have you heard about Minecraft? It is very likely that your children have even though the full PC version of the game only came out in late 2011 and the Xbox version came out
this past May. The game has skyrocketed in popularity with children from ages seven to young teens. Minecraft is a creative video game in which participants build things out of textured cubes in a 3D-like world. There are several versions and types of game play and to quote Wikipedia, the primary goal of play in survival mode is "to build a shelter to survive attacks by hostile mobs…….read on via the link.

All of the above is a bit of ‘rave’ and not particularly well structured but hopefully it may be of some use.