Minecraft for Coding and Afterschool: An Invitation to Educators

October 27, 2015
By Educator Innovator

My passion project for the past year has been developing an online Minecraft learning community and programs as part of Connected Camps, and in collaboration with the Institute of Play. I’m delighted to announce a new set of offerings geared to the schedules and rhythms of the school year, and would like to invite all educators interested in joining the movement for Minecraft in education to join our network.

Educators can sign up to get access to free guides, curriculum, webinars and support for running Minecraft programs. This week we are also unveiling a new free afterschool and weekend online Kid Club, where Minecrafters age 9-13 can log in to a safe, moderated server and join building, design, game, and coding challenges facilitated by our Connected Camps counselors. Kid club participants will reap the benefits of our jam packed Summer of Minecraft, where our counselors developed and refined a whole host of fun and challenging activities. You can find the kid club schedule here.

Students aged 9-13 are welcome to join as club members, and high school students can sign up to be volunteer counselors and paid coding counselors. Our server hosts a friendly, fun learning community where members learn digital citizenship, leadership, and collaboration and technical literacy from their peers, more experienced high school and college Minecrafters, and Connected Camps staff. More on the magic of peer mentorship here.

Building on the success of our popular summer online Coding Camp, we are offering an online Winter Coding Camp and beginning and intermediate online Coding Workshops, which run over eight 1 ½ hour afterschool sessions, and teaches how to code in Lua. Students connect to our special coding server. Our counselors guide them via audio and in-game chat through challenges, giving instructions to “turtles” who move and build within the game. The results of coding are made immediately relevant and visible as they are translated to the game world. Surveys of our summer campers indicated that the camp dramatically increased their interest in coding, even when they lacked an interest prior to signing up for the camp. We see this as a real opportunity to spark an interest in coding for a diverse range of kids.

Individual students can sign up to coding workshops online. We can also pull together private and customized online workshops for educators who want to run programs for their kids in their schools and organizations. To make it easy for educators to try out coding with Minecraft, we have expert counselors who can teach online, and moderated servers configured for safety and learning. We can work with your resources, staffing, students, and schedule to tailor a program for your needs. Over the summer we offered programs to schools, libraries and community programs serving kids from all walks of life, and this fall we are partnering with Sara Kaviar at Seven Arrows school and running the coding program in an hybrid online/offline afterschool enrichment format. You can see a full list of partners here. Just contact us at hello@connectedcamps.com and we’d be happy to chat and see if we can meet the needs of your students.

If you and your students are interested in participating in a fun group activity, we are opening up our servers for a one-time Hungercraft event in collaboration with Global Kids and New York City Hive. HungerCraft utilizes an engaging, challenge-based virtual learning environment to explore real-world social themes such as inequality, oppression, and resource distribution with youth, based on the popular book and movie franchise The Hunger Games. Register here.

November also features a month of weekly Minecraft webinars hosted by Connectedlearning.tv and co-streamed here at Educator Innovator! Don’t miss the final webinar of the co-streamed Minecraft series with CLTV on November 23rd at 12:30 p.m. PST/3:30 p.m. EST.

Last but not least, Connected Camps is seeking a Design and Curriculum Lead to join our team. You can find the job posting here (PDF).

By Mimi Ito/ Co-Founder, Connected Camps

View the full archive of the four-part webinar series on supporting connected learning in Minecraft, organized by Connected Camps for Connectedlearning.tv and co-streamed by Educator Innovator.