Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Sorry @zbyronwolf, @PlayCraftLean is an Educational Tool #MakerEd

I was reading an article on CNN today that was about schools and their role in "opening the economy" today. There was a part of the piece, that is overall well written, that annoyed me.

Zachary B. Wolf wrote,

"Education Week has maintained an interactive map of school closures since the beginning of this thing, and that map suggests that nearly every American school kid is not currently in school. It charts around 124,000 school closings affecting more than 55 million American kids.
What are all those kids doing? They're supposedly distance-learning or homeschooling, taking screen lessons or self-teaching. (Let's get real. A lot of them are playing Minecraft or making TikToks.) (Emphasis mine) Just like the American education system on any given day, the coronavirus closure is a massive patchwork." 

What this shows is a basic misunderstanding of what Minecraft is and can be for students and for teachers. There are problems with these type of flippant remarks. 

1. On a very large platform, it invalidates the value of Minecraft Education Edition. People can look at that and have it inform their opinion on the tool. If it was a critique of the tool, then it would be fair, but that is not what it was. It lumped Minecraft in with TikTok which has a reputation of being a waste of time by older generations. 

2. It makes the job harder for teachers to introduce these tools in the classroom to administrators and teachers because it has a reputation and not being productive and this line adds to that misunderstanding. 

3. To put it bluntly, it's ignorant. Mr. Wolf clearly does not have an understanding of the value of Minecraft in the classroom and was looking for a pithy statement.

On top of it all, it takes away from the hard work students are doing in their homes every day thanks to teachers and parents working hard to provide some semblance of learning in this tough time. I have students that show up to class and are designing and making amazing things. They are teaching themselves or learning from their parents on how to create things they design. It is amazing. Not every students in engaged at the level everyone would hope, but that is problem schools face in person, not just online. 

I hope Mr. Wolf will take the time to either remove that line from the article or take some time to actually talk to teachers engaged in remote learning and that are using a wide variety of tools to support instruction. I'm happy to connect if Mr. Wolf is. 

To all of you teachers out there using Minecraft Education Edition, please share with @zbyronwolf the many different ways you are using it to support our students. Keep being awesome out there and reach out if you have any questions. 

Socially Distant Hugs and High Fives. 

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