By Yifat Mukades
Hi – and welcome to my blog. Here you’ll follow me on my journey as I strive to integrate Jewish Education with one of the most-played computer games, Minecraft.
Ever since I heard about Minecraft and saw its phenomenal worldwide success, I was curious about using it as a tool for Education, particularly Jewish Education. I am a big fan of gamifying education and I am also an avid practitioner of technology. So, when Minecraft came out with Minecraft EDU specifically designed for use in the classroom, I was intrigued. Gamifying education via Technology. I love it!
Teachers around the world are using Minecraft to teach math, physics, language, architecture and many more subjects. When I got into Jewish Education a few years ago, I was very interested in moving Jewish Education forward in terms of technology, so, MinecraftEDU is the perfect tool for me to start my journey.
As Jewish educators we are in constant fear of kids not registering for (or not continuing) our programs due to lack of interest, or absence of fun. MinecraftEDU, (or MinecraftEDJew as I call it) provides the perfect solution. I always say that we have to speak to kids in a language that they understand: use the tools and technologies they’re already involved and engaged with. This sparks their interest, which leads to engagement and that’s where learning actually occurs.
This year I am going to teach Minecraft at an after-school program (Chug) at a Jewish day school where I will integrate Jewish content into the game. If the kids are already playing Minecraft and mining, crafting and building worlds, then why not build a biblical world? Or a biblical structure and teach them about it while they build it? For example, I intend to build the Mishkan/Tabernacle for my first session with the kids. I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions in the comments section below for other structures and worlds we might build.
This blog will serve as my journal, and I hope to write and document all of the particulars – from buying and installing the game, setting up and preparing missions, and actually playing and building with my students. The idea to bring Minecraft to a Jewish school was born out of my initial desire to bring technology to Jewish education. I am excited that the head of the day school was pleased with my idea to bring in Minecraft as the school itself shifts to PBL across-the-board.
I am also writing this blog in hopes that other Jewish educators will see the benefits of using MinecraftEDU with their students, and for this purpose, I am hoping to have all the information you will need, even if you’re starting from scratch and know nothing about computer games in general and Minecraft in particular.
Thank you for joining me on this unique journey to bring technology to Jewish education and infusing it into the MinecraftEDU computer game. I hope you’ll find it interesting and unique enough to make you pause, and think about how you can integrate it into your own school or program.
My next post will be”Minecraft: What is it all about?” which will provide you with background knowledge of the game so you can see some of the possibilities it offers.
This article was originally posted on MinecraftedJew.com. It is reprinted with the author’s permission.