It has been a couple of weeks now, that my son (the one who programs with Scratch) has been sitting in front of the PC / YouTube as soon as he comes back from school. Previously, he was looking for videos on Legos (if possible with Star Wars characters), or on lessons to draw Yoda or Dark Vador (pretty impressive results I have to admit!), but that is not the subject anymore. Images didn’t look like anything dangerous, so I let him watch.
And I finally asked: – What are you watching? – It’s Minecraft, Mum, can you buy it to me? – Mine-what? – All my friends have it and speak about it at school!
Of course, he “only” has my old laptop, running with Ubuntu, good enough to send emails, look for information in Wikipedia and watch YouTube videos, but not for running today’s video games. And so I told him… After all, he can play enough games with the Wii and the DS, not to mention the many non-screen-based activities!
How old-fashioned I felt after saying that…
Late at night, I googled Minecraft. After deciding NOT to buy and install the game on my (professional) laptop, I opted for a compromise and bought the Pocket Edition for the tablet.
Next day: after showing it to my son, and feeling stupid because I tried the “creativity mode” where there is “nobody to kill, it’s not fun”!, my son spent a few hours on “survival mode”. And spent the whole lunch telling me how he had to cut trees to build a house, kill sheeps to make a blanket, and get sand to have glass for the windows… I started to undertand where the “craft” was…
And today, this article from the BBC: “From Angry Birds to Minecraft, computer games are invading the classroom. But this is not going on behind the teacher’s back anymore: it is part of the lesson plan.”