This morning I saw Michael Beilharz give an excellent presentation at the Future School Expo. His presentation was all about using Minecraft in education including in a professional development environment. As I was watching one of Michael’s demonstration videos I thought to myself, “what if Minecraft goes the way of Second Life?”
Many of us recall when Second Life was all the rage and teachers were developing all kinds of ways to bring it into their schools. I even presented a couple of times in ISTE’s Second Life island. Today. Second Life seems to be barely staying alive. I haven’t seen it even mentioned on a conference schedule in a few years. That’s not to say that all those past sessions about Second Life were bad. In fact, I saw some that were very good. But technology changes and what engages students changes. As long as the activities that were conducted in Second Life engaged students, motivated them, and helped them learn then the activities were useful.
If Minecraft goes the way of Second Life, that will be okay. That’s not a knock on Minecraft. Rather it’s a statement about the changing nature of popular technology. As with Second Life, as long as the activities conducted in Minecraft today are engaging and helping students learn, keep at it until they cease to be effective. When they cease to be effective, change and embrace the next technology that students are crazy for.
And just to be clear, this post is not at all a criticism or Michael (his presentation was one of the best I’ve seen about Minecraft) or anyone else that has presented on Minecraft or Second Life over the years.