It was another busy IT lunch club at school. I’ve always been happy to give up my lunch break to allow the pupils an opportunity to catch up on homework, research on the web, email their teachers and print out assignments. As I walked along the rows of computers I saw the “hard work” in progress: multi-coloured birds being catapulted into towers, aliens being zapped into submission and one pupil trying to reverse a car round a car park—at least that one might have some educational benefit!
My philosophy has always been that the more time kids spend on the computers, the more natural the computers become to them; even a game will improve their hand/eye coordination and familiarisation with the keyboard. They become adept at logging in, starting the browser, and finding the shortest number of key terms possible for the search engine. They can be into the room and onto a game in the time it takes me to prop the door to the IT lab open.
As I patrolled the aisles, ever eager to find the one child in a dozen that was actually doing something productive, I spotted a pupil diligently stacking what looked like little 3D cubes on top of each other in their game window. This pupil seemed enthralled, and as I paused, curious as to why this comparatively basic endeavour had captured this child’s attention, a house emerged from the little collection of blocks that had been stacked.
This was my introduction to Minecraft: a little architect in the mak-ing, a pupil who could hide himself ...