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Learning Through Play

The idea of learning through play is well-established in education and developmental psychology. Play, particularly in young children (<6y), simultaneously fosters the development of social, cognitive, and meta-cognitive skills. Studies continue to support the use of play - active engagement in fun, non-directional activities - as a valid learning method for older children, adolescents, and adults as well.

Gaming in the Academy?

Just some highlights. Feel free to submit pull requests with other key moments.

  • Game Studies: International Journal of Computer Game Research, the “first academic, peer-reviewed journal dedicated to computer game studies,” commences publication in 2001.

  • DiGRA (Digital Games Research Association), an “association for academics and professionals who research digital games and associated phenomena,” is founded in 2003.

  • Starting in 2008, the American Library Association sponsors the International Games Day on the third Saturday every November.

  • Also in 2008, Scott Nicholson, Associate Professor at the School of Information Studies, founds the Library Game Lab at Syracuse University. He now directs its successor, Because Play Matters Game Lab

  • In 2013, Jay Clayton, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English at Vanderbilt University, teaches the first MOOC on online gaming: Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative

Exploring Minecraft

  • Markus Persson, a.k.a. “Notch,” is the lead developer of Minecraft. Mojang, an independent game studio until its acquisition by Microsoft in 2014 launched the beta version of Minecraft in 2009 and the release version in 2011.

  • Minecraft is an Open World style game, meaning that there aren’t well-defined goals or narratives. The Minecraft game environment is frequently compared to an online Lego® set.

  • Minecraft is a client/server application. While it is possible to play the game on your own machine, a lot of the fun comes from interacting with other players on Minecraft servers.

  • Making Sense of Minecraft

  • Minecraft offers several game modes. We’ll be working in Creative Mode, which means that won’t be inadvertently killed by creepers or skeletons.

Programming Inside Minecraft

Minecraft in Primary and Secondary Education

Minecraft in Higher Education

Hullcraft Expedition

World of Energy

Wrapping Up

  • What other uses might we find for Minecraft and other forms of educational gaming at Vanderbilt?