I’m a pretty lucky Tech Ed teacher in that I have a lot of tools available to me. My classroom is a large computer lab that has plenty of room for my 36 computers and space for soldering irons, drills, and all of the projects that my students make. My school recently allowed me to purchase MinecraftEdu for my lab.
I’ve been looking for a different way to teach some of the topics that I cover. Mainly, I wanted to teach electronics, computer programming, and home design through the lens of Minecraft. My middle schoolers love Minecraft and I am always looking for a new way to engage them and to deliver content in new and interesting ways.
After a lot of research, MinecraftEdu made sense compared to typical Minecraft. There are two major differences between the two.
- Students cannot host their own worlds in MinecraftEdu. The server part is totally separate.
- MinecraftEdu is much more limited in terms of mods, student commands, and such.
The nice thing about MinecraftEdu is that I can host a world from my local computer, have all of the students on the same network connect to it, and control the action from there.
After the install process, which is pretty straightforward, you can launch the game. You will be presented with the screen below:
As a teacher, the first thing I always do is go to “Start MinecraftEdu Server Launcher.” A second dialog box will open that will allow you to create, load, or import different worlds. If it is your first time launching a server, MinecraftEdu will ask you to set a teacher password. Teacher privileges are not tied to usernames in MinecraftEdu, rather to a password.
Once you get past the password screen the server launcher looks like this:
MinecraftEdu comes preloaded with a Tutorial World that walks the students through moving, building, and exploring a Minecraft world. I have all of my students to through this world so I can see where their Minecraft skills are along with their ability to follow directions.
MinecraftEdu also has a number of saved worlds (prebuilt) worlds that you can download and use to create amazing things with. My students are just beginning to use Minecraft for learning about electronics. I will post some information, images, and video once I have had a chance to run through it with my students.