My daughter is currently into the game Minecraft – it was popular with children in her school last year but she wasn’t interested at that time. Now though, my daughter and her friends are interested in exploring the Minecraft realm. My daughter received two handbooks for her birthday and one night I sat with her to look through one so I could understand why it was so interesting to her.
I am not a big gamer and never have been, I tend to watch other people play and will play for a short while but games never seem to command my attention for very long. My misconception with Minecraft, based on exposure and experience to other games, was that I thought it consisted of playing different ‘levels’, rewards were earned and you would be able to progress or accomplish something else to get to another ‘level’ or ‘world’. This was a misplaced assumption because I hadn’t made the effort to learn why Minecraft was different.
As I sat and looked at the handbook with my daughter, I listened to her explain what she had created in the game and what she liked about it. I enjoyed listening and learning from my daughter and realised that it is always good to be informed. My daughter explained that she had to build the things she wanted eg forts, houses, weapons, etc. The handbook gave her the information on what was required to mine or collect in order to be able to build them. I realised that this is the reason why Minecraft allows children to use their imagination – yes, they had items that they could use a ‘template’ to build, but they could also build anything else they wanted – and however they wanted using the mined materials or items collected. My daughter showed me houses, caves, pools and all sorts of things that she had built. Some were silly, some were fancy, some were just because she could.
It was a great awakening for me and I enjoyed hearing it from my daughter’s point of view. She asked me the question on another night, “Mum, now do you understand a little bit more about Minecraft?” To which I could reply “Yes”. Because I am not interested in gaming, I didn’t do what I normally do – research, learn and understand the different elements and perspectives. I usually leave the gaming up to her dad. I play a few games with my daughter but tend to lose interest after about 20 minutes, while her dad can play with her for much longer. I often have to ask them to stop!
I looked up the Minecraft website to read up on the game, it’s history,what it is and how to play. You may be interested to have a look too, I’ve provided a link to the website that I visited below:
It was quite enlightening to see it from my daughter’s perspective and through the eyes of a child – curious, playful, exploration, creativity and fun. That’s also the elements that I enjoy in learning and try to incorporate when I am designing learning material. Looks like I should have practiced what I teach – lesson learned!