by Donelle Batty
"After watching my students play Minecraft for the past few years, it has become obvious to me that they gain so much from game play. It provides a space for them to connect, to be and to grow as young men and women. It completely delights me when I hear how supportive they are of other players, taking on roles of mentors, community builders and leaders. Demonstrating in each instance behaviours that are often not openly captured easily in face to face interactions by their teacher or other significant adults. Behaviours that identify strong values and beliefs around equity, fairness, trust and acceptance of difference.
"Having opportunity to watch without impacting on their game play is truly remarkable. We have a dynmap (dynamic map, a map of the Minecraft server worlds that shows where they are and their in-game conversations) set up so I can do this without interrupting their play, without impacting with my presence. They are all aware that I use it to watch, and I do say hi, as I believe it is important that they know I’m around. By using the dynmap it just means I’m not physically appearing in the game, so their play is not impeded by me. This vantage point has enabled me to see the value games have in a learning context with regard to self esteem building, negotiating ones way around social interactions and building resilience. As a result of this, I was particularly interested in attending the paper presentations on Social/Emotional Skills."