Minecraft, one of the world’s most popular computer games, is being turned into an educational tool in an experimental program in El Cajon.
The chief operating officer of Mojang, the Swedish company behind Minecraft, was in El Cajon Friday to watch how students are using the game to learn programming and mathematics.
“To see a game being used in other ways is awesome. It’s validating,” said Vu Bui as he looked over students’ shoulders to see the worlds they had created out of Minecraft blocks.
The four-and-a-half-year-old game has over 100 million registered users worldwide. Mojang, a 37-person company in Stokholm, was purchased by Microsoft for $2.5 billion last year.
“The titans of the tech world have decided trhat what’s happening in our district is something worth seeing first-hand,” said David Miyashiro, superintendent of the Cajon Valley Union School District. “We’re truly honored.
At the district’s Code Campus, a group of portable classrooms adjacent to Emerald Middle School, students worked collaboratively to build a city.
“This is actually a math class, though it doesn’t seem like one now,” one instructor told students as he explained the concepts of area and volume using Minecraft’s one-meter virtual bricks.
Elementary and middle-school students throughout the district are being given opportunities to learn using Minecraft, and there are also weekend and after-school sessions.
The program in El Cajon was created with help from the University of San Diego’s Mobile Technology Learning Center. Scott Himelstein, director of the center, said that if the program continues to be successful in El Cajon, schools throughout San Diego will be interested in adopting it.
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