For our final Parent Tech Coffee Morning of the year we had a great conversation about Minecraft. It was a very popular topic, with over 30 parents joining us this morning!
We started our session with a short video (warning: the presenter speaks very very fast):
This was a great conversation starter for all of the things that students can actually do on Minecraft. It’s not just for building (especially with the addition of different mods)! The video also prompted lots of great questions, so we had a group of grade 6 students join us to share how they use Minecraft.
A few of the key highlights from the students included:
Minecraft is a great tool for learning! They learn how to collaborate, cooperate, and create in a digital environment. They have to explain themselves clearly (either in person or via the chat in Minecraft) so they can collaborate and get things done.
They use Minecraft for all sorts of things including: creating a dwelling in a specific type of biome (like an igloo), creating buildings from different time periods that they are learning about (like the Renaissance), creating regions that they study (like the Silk Road). Mostly students are using Minecraft in Humanities here at YIS, but it can be used for other subjects.
There are many different mods that can be added to a Minecraft server and students like to explore new ways to interact with the Minecraft world. Mostly they play a pretty friendly and non-violent game, and mostly they play with people they already know from school.
They are really happy to have access to Minecraft for learning. Students can also choose to play outside of school time on other servers (not managed by YIS).
Once the students left, we continued our conversation, mostly talking about:
The importance of talking with your children about what they’re doing online. These parent coffee mornings are intended to help parents understand the basics of how things work so they can have a more knowledgeable conversation with their children. Some of the questions that might be helpful conversation starters are:
- Tell/Show me about what you’re doing in Minecraft.
- How did you learn how to do that?
- What are you learning about when you do that?
- Are you playing on a server?
- Who owns the server?
- Is the server public?
- Are you talking to other people as you play?
Children can spend lots of time playing online. Sometimes parents aren’t sure if they’re doing what they say they are doing so some good strategies are:
- keep the computer/iPad in a central place
- talk to your children about what they’re doing
- ask them not to wear headphones so you can hear what they’re doing
Sometimes children end up creating bad habits in online spaces – like being violent in Minecraft, sharing personal information with others, or chatting with strangers in spaces, so it’s very important to help them build a strong understanding of what is safe and what’s not. This is a great opportunity for conversations – the same way we talk to students about how they interact with strangers in real life can be applied in a digital environment.
A very important takeaway from this session is that as parents, you already have all the skills you need to help your children learn how to make good choices in online spaces, it’s just a matter of transferring those skills to a digital environment. Often children will say to their parents “you’re the only one that makes me….” but trust us, you’re not! It’s ok to be a parent in online spaces the same way you would in physical spaces.
Some Minecraft related resources that you might find helpful are:
- Common Sense Media – this section is specifically on Minecraft, but Common Sense Media has tons of other great resources
- Minemum – a parent shares her experiences and resources with Minecraft for parents
- A Parent’s Guide to Minecraft
- Minecraft tag on Mind/Shift
And some articles:
- Why parents are raising their kids on Minecraft
- 25 Minecraft creations that will blow your mind
- Teachers Transform Minecraft For Classroom Use
- Beyond Minecraft: Games that Inspire Building and Exploration
We hope you enjoyed today’s session and look forward to seeing you again next year! Have a great summer!