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My cohort and school librarian partner in crime, Stony Evans, met me in Washington D.C. to present our collaborative piece, Game Design As A Catalyst For Learning. Sometime back in September, we discussed how our libraries were building upon student choice and student voice to empower and propel their learning. At the MIE Expert Conference in Colorado Summer 2016, we learned how to use Minecraft as a tool to not only engage scholars, but also to create transdisciplinary learning opportunities in all subject areas.

In my school library, scholars research nonfiction – people, places and artifacts – to place within their games. Sometimes they use storyboards and they always have a learning objective. Though the objective may appear to be creative, during Minecraft creation children are actively learning, unbeknownst to them, things like area, perimeter, science and social studies , as well as citizenship, social activism and environmentalism.

Librarians in public libraries, colleges and K-12th grades came to listen and learn. And there was even a child who was presenting in a makerspace session that came to ensure we knew what we were talking about as he informed us he was a Minecraft expert. At various points, he took keen interest and volunteered to come test out the virtual reality goggles we brought along.

Minecraft is an incredible Future Ready resource that stimulates children and excites learners of all ages. Minecraft is a unique way to marry curriculum and creation, while  building communication, collaboration and curiosity in scholars. These are all skills they need to be college and career ready. In addition, by problem solving through failures and building resilience, persistence and the ability to follow things through to completion, scholars are being set up for success in academics and in life. So many librarians came up to us afterwards indicating how interested they are in bringing game design to their libraries. They were inspired by our session.

Microsoft is truly a key player and partner in education. Unlike other tech giants who bestow educators with the title of being certified, Microsoft puts a great deal of resources, time and commitment into authentically growing educators and providing them with professional development and learning opportunities to expand their professional learning network. Thank you, Microsoft Education for this amazing opportunity to teach others about the power of learning when you use Minecraft and reach children in their world on their terms.