Is The Minecraft Phenomenon Dwindling?
Minecraft may have jumped the shark. It may be passed its prime. The phenomenon may be dwindling. And it has nothing to do with Microsoft purchasing the game. Nor do I think the game mechanics have lost any of their excitement. But from my perspective, as a parent, I’m not as supportive of my nine-year old son’s Minecraft habits as I used to be.
This is a change of heart for me. I’ve written a lot about Minecraft, mostly from a cultural perspective. I’ve asked questions about the way this phenomenon is shaping how a generation will think about the world. In one post, I optimistically argued that “when Generation Blockhead opted out of ‘Survival Mode’ in favor of a make-your-own-objective competition-free ‘Creative Mode,’ they simultaneously turned their back on a rigid race-top-the-top Darwinian economy and sent a ripple of change into our collective future.”
In the Guide to Digital Games and Learning that I recently wrote for Mindshift KQED, I enthusiastically celebratedMinecraftEdu. MincraftEdu is the official “mod” that is designed for classrooms. Imagined more as a platform than as a game, MinecraftEdu opens up a world of possibilities for tech savvy teachers to develop complex simulation-based interactive activities. It creates impressive engagement through project-based experiential learning–exactly the kind of creative playful learning that all the research encourages.