Today I found myself writing an email about why I recommend people buy Minecraft for PC/Mac. The reason I recommend it is that Minecraft is a game that can grow with a person. It’s easy enough for a small child but complicated enough that even an adult can continue learning with it.
My six year old can build and play on it. She greets others on my multiplayer server with the few words she knows how to type and she makes a huge effort to read what others type back to her.
My older children have been learning about mods and config files. They’ve learned about json commands and the mark-up language known as yml. They’ve learned some python from a book on learning Python with Minecraft. They’ve learned to search online for answers to problems and to think about how to do something in a different way. They’re always finding something new to do in it, something new to learn.
My children aren’t the only ones learning. I’m learning from Minecraft too. The other day one of my sons told me with a straight face that part of the reason he loves Minecraft is that he could teach me just a little bit about it and then I could run with it and he’s proud of how much I’ve learned with it.
My children taught me about Redstone and how to make the different logic gates. When I started teaching Minecraft Math classes three years ago, I had one of my sons do most of the Redstone work for me ahead of time. He made the sample combination locks that I would then show the students how to make. He made a binary counter and taught me how to do it. When I had trouble with something in Minecraft, I went to my children for advice.
I still need help occasionally now, either from my own children or from some of the students and ex-students who hang around on my Minecraft server, but I’ve gone ahead and learned more on my own too. I bought a book on computer systems for the purpose of learning what I could apply to Minecraft Redstone. I’m learning constantly with it.
My son is proud of what I’m learning in Minecraft, and so am I. I like that I can be an example to them of how learning is a lifelong adventure.