Minecraft: Virtual Legos, Educational Virtues

I have two kids. My daughter is a rising senior planning visits to colleges, and my son is about to enter high school.

This year is the first in several that my son hasn't played Minecraft much, you know, that single-player or multi-player online game that defines today's sandbox. Personally, I've struggled to understand this modern day play. Clearly, the kids are creative, looking at the structures they design. I see spatial reasoning, and is that coding I detect? The social component has been obvious; my son made friends from Rhode Island to London, Alaska to the Philippines, usually never meeting face-to-face. Still, could I be confident that it was good for him? I questioned my parenting.

Then I discovered Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist who studies gaming, learning, and online networks. She's a self-described progressive digital educator. Recently, she blogged about Minecraft and outlined four ways it's a game changer. The problem-solving going on is significant. Kids hold the reins. Ahhh, a sigh of relief. Take a look at the points she makes and see if you agree.