Should you be learning how to write your own code, too?
Minecraft is quickly becoming one of the world’s most popular video games. The original PC version has over 100 million registered users, and the Xbox and PlayStation versions have sold over 11 million copies. It’s not uncommon to see more than 1 million people playing Minecraft online at one time. But beyond being a source of entertainment for children, Minecraft can be educational too.
Although people of all ages play Minecraft, the largest demographic – 63% – is the younger generation, in particular those under the age of 21. The idea of creating an imaginative world appeals to young kids who want to express creativity and see their creations take shape. How cool is it to design something, find a way of building it, and then seeing the final product?
This creative process relates directly to how professional engineers develop software. That’s why Microsoft and Code.org have teamed up to create an educational version of Minecraft that will help kids learn how to code. The idea is to help young people understand the basics of building something by generating code.
Since Minecraft is already centered on building things, the tutorial focuses on transferring these creative skills to programming. The tutorial turns building blocks in the game into actions which can then be combined to generate computer code. The code-oriented tutorial has 14 free lessons that focus on introducing students to important coding practices, all while still maintaining the fun and creative environment that Minecraft provides.
Youth Digital also created a project to help kids learn how to code while playing Minecraft. Youth Digital specifically teaches students how to create their own mods for the game by altering Java code. Writing a game in Java from scratch would surely overwhelm a young kid interested in learning how to program, so instead Youth Digital focuses on helping kids edit pre-created Java templates in order to learn the fundamentals.
There is also a version of Minecraft called MinecraftEdu that is designed to be used in schools. This altered version provides products and services to make it easy for educators to utilize Minecraft in the classroom. The MinecraftEdu software helps students better understand STEM subjects, while also improving both their language and art skills.
Learning how to code comes with a steep learning curve. However, encouraging kids to get excited about coding at an early age helps them to better understand how to think both creatively and logically. It’s no secret that tech jobs are rising at an incredibly high rate, yet many of these kids will end up in this industry. Teaching them how to code now better prepares them for the future. Oh, and did we mention how fun it is to code?
You don’t have to be a kid to learn how to code. You can start learning the fundamentals of coding at websites like Codeacademy or Udemy, or, just play Minecraft! If you’re interested in learning how to develop cool apps and software, check out these resources today!
There are many different ways you can learn to code. Once you have a grasp on the basics, check out WestHost to get your projects on the web!