Minecraft: Education Edition has been available to teachers for almost a year now, but Mojang continues to add new features and patches to expand its use as an educational tool. The latest addition to the game allows teachers to use Minecraft to teach their kids to code in a unique way.
This update, titled Code Builder, allows teachers to make interacting with the Minecraft world possible only through coding a robot to do it for you. Students make use of coding platforms like MakeCode, Scratch, and Tynker to tell the robot what structures it should make and with what materials. It's an easy way to teach coding to kids as they are essentially using their newly learned skills to write code for the robot while in-game.
This method of learning, using games as a way to stimulate or facilitate interest in a topic, seems to be one of the best ways to help kids (and, let's be real, people in general) learn about new and sometimes difficult topics. Hadi Partovi, the CEO of Code.org, explains that, "learning can be done best when you don't think that you're learning, you just think that you're enjoying yourself."
Code Builder isn't a fully completed addition to Minecraft: Education Edition just yet. It's available today, but still in beta, so Mojang has a number of bugs and kinks to squash out of their system. that being said, this is a fantastic idea that harnesses the creativity kids have while in Minecraft and helps them learn a skill that will only become more valuable in the future.
Teachers or institutions interested in obtaining Minecraft: Education Edition can find out if their organization is eligible for the expanding teaching tool on the Minecraft website.