Microsoft has announced the release of seven new Minecraft: Education Edition Esports Worlds with full lesson plans and educator frameworks.
The new worlds feature settings including pirate ships, outer space, and a magical garden. Players collaborate in teams, competing against the clock to build epic creations using Minecraft’s charming and endlessly-compelling block architecture. Each scenario is built with an educational objective in mind. For example, in the Pirate Cove lesson, students are incentivized to develop creativity, decision making, communication and collaboration skills. The building and planning aspects of Minecraft also encourage visualization and 3D thinking. All these skills will serve students well in future learning and STEM-oriented professional environments, and all are the kind of abstract subjects that can be hard to teach in a traditional classroom environment.
The esports element adds a layer of competitive challenge to further engage students in learning, providing an emotional incentive to grapple with the visualization and teamwork aspects. This technique, known as gamification, has not only taken root in education and training, but is receiving increasing official sanction for its effectiveness.
Recently, the North America Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF), which has esports clubs in schools across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, published a research indicating that students who participate in esports make significant gains in social-emotional learning through positive mentoring and student leadership.