Fascination. Obsession. Compulsion. Infatuation. Enthusiasm. Passion.
These are some of the words used to describe children's attitude to playing Minecraft. Observing children immersed and creating their virtual labyrinth you can see it is all embracing. Having them explain to you what they are doing involves a mind-blowing and eye-popping few minutes as they flick/scroll/dash through their creation of rooms, passages, castles, food, storage, doorways and traps. It is, undoubtedly, Digital Lego. Indeed, its blocky nature lends itself to this thought, and actual, physical Lego is available on the Minecraft website so that the virtual game becomes a real 3D one.
It is often difficult to describe such games as educational, but they are. Our Learning Resources Coordinator (and much more) Jennifer G. has been the champion for this type of learning at our school - with students participating in workshops and webinars explaining what they are doing and what they are learning. Slowly, there is a recognition of the creativity, resourcefulness and effort that goes into creating such virtual worlds. And the learning that takes place.
Minecraft announced that they have 33 million users (BBC article on this is worth reading). Without doubt Minecraft has come of age, with an acceptation that it has great educational benefit.