Friday 10:50 a.m.–11:20 a.m.
Exploring Minecraft and Python: Learning to Code Through Play
- Audience level:
Interest and activity in childhood computing education continues to grow. Meanwhile, Minecraft has become a massive cultural phenomenon as a fun, motivating platform that encourages exploration and play. This talk demonstrates how Python can be used to teach programming while exploring the world of Minecraft. We will cover how to set up learning environments, curricula, and case studies.
Interest and activity in childhood computing education continues to grow on all fronts, from government-sponsored initiatives to our own Python community. Finding age-appropriate materials and environments that are educational and motivating has always been a challenge, especially for younger coders. Meanwhile, Minecraft has become a massive cultural phenomenon, capturing the hearts and minds of our youth. Many millions of hours have been spent in Minecraft, shaping and crafting worlds and capturing the imaginations of its players. It stands out as a fun, motivating platform that encourages exploration and play. This talk will discuss the importance of play in education, the basic principles of motivation, and how it relates to teaching programming. How does Minecraft and its virtual environment solve these problems? We will discuss the various tools and methods that can be used to allow Python-based interactions with the Minecraft world. The available Python APIs for Minecraft will be covered along with example curriculum and projects. The tools and environments discussed will cover appropriate requirements for both PC version of Minecraft and Minecraft PI; we will cover how to set up appropriate learning environments for your own use. Hear about experiences and successes in other communities. Outcome: Parents and educators will walk away with an understanding of Minecraft, its capabilities, and its significance in education. They will also learn how to teach Python programming through play within the Minecraft world. Attendees will receive references to materials that can be used to teach Python and steps required to setup learning environments.