Editors Desk: Minecraft Mania - Tech Learning

Editors Desk: Minecraft Mania

While I am probably the last guy to be a Ludditewhen it comes to kids on computers, even Iam a bit leery when it comes to the addictivenature of Minecraft.
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While I am probably the last guy to be a Luddite when it comes to kids on computers, even I am a bit leery when it comes to the addictive nature of Minecraft. More than 36 million users have registered to play in the two years since it was first released. According to my own in-house student focus group—ages 12, nine, and eight—this software phenomenon from Sweden is way bigger than Angry Birds.

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For the first time, our 30 minute per day per kid computer time quota has been put to the test with repeated pleas for “Ten more minutes!” But there’s another big difference from what I would hear with kids playing Angry Birds. Instead of “Check out my new high score,” I hear “Check out what I made!” Instead of the twitchy destruction of Bad Piggy forts, they create worlds with towers and castles and a really cool working roller coaster, which I rode for at least an extra ten minutes.

That distinction is the crux of our cover story this month (Meet The Makers). Tech & Learning advisors Gary Carnow and Sylvia Martinez discuss the book Invent To Learn, which Martinez co-authored with edtech guru Gary Stager. It’s an illuminating exchange about student creation versus consumption and how the Maker Movement could have an incredibly positive effect on the way we teach in schools. If this is the first you have heard of the Maker Movement, I assure you it won’t be the last. Expect continuing coverage. My prediction: You will have a school Fab Lab in three years if all goes right!

— Kevin Hogan
Editorial Director

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Editor's Desk

Back in 2001, when we first took an in-depth look at laptop initiatives for schools ("Laptop Lessons: Exploring the Promise of One—to—One Computing," by Kim Carter, May 2001), it felt as if we were on the verge of the next big breakthrough. As is so often the case with technology, however, the ensuing

Editors' Desk

Besides that it's just plain fun, one of the great things about using digital video as a teaching tool is that it's not subject to the same whimsical, de-flavorizing censorship that textbooks are. Since parents aren't likely to see a textbook reviewed in say, the New York Times, it's probably not common knowledge to