Session Description

In this session, you'll learn how to design PBL experiences in virtual worlds like Minecraft: Education Edition. Participants will also experience PBL lesson-based design opportunities.

The Value of Classroom Discussion

With a 0.82 effect size, a student has the potential of two years academic growth in half the time.

An effect size of 0.40 is what Hattie refers to as a hinge-point regarding what is significantly effective or at “a level where the effects of innovation enhance achievement in such a way that we can notice real-world differences” (Hattie, 2009).

Classroom discussion is another critical area of Hattie’s study with a huge effect size. Classroom discussions provide the opportunity for students to communicate with one another for a variety of functions including to:

    • Activate prior knowledge
    • Explore new topics,
    • Learn from others, and
    • Demonstrate their learning

This is an engagement strategy which provides all students the chance to participate, especially when structured in a way that extends beyond a teacher-student question and answer sequence.

The main benefit of classroom discussion is that YOU, as the teacher, can use class discussion as a source of data to adapt instruction.

Technology Learning Strategy

The question is, “How do YOU craft engaging classroom discussions?” that will provide insights into student learning, that will make THEIR thinking visible?

The answer is that you PBL the dickens out of them.

Minecraft is extremely popular with students but how can educators introduce this effectively into the classroom.

Microsoft's Minecraft: Education Edition (MCEE) provides for access to resources.


In this session, introduce learners to project-based learning with Minecraft: Education Edition. A sample Office 365 account will be shared, along with a promotion code for credit in the Microsoft Education Community.

Getting to Know Minecraft: Education Edition

Teaching & Learning with M:EE Videos

Add to Your Favorites

  1. Minecraft: Education Edition site and the Get Started! link
    1. Create a Profile: To support the community, you are encouraged to create an account and your very own profile on the site.
    2. Start a Conversation: Check out the Discussion Board, featuring Community Resources, Feature Requests, General Discussion, and Technical Support. Feel free to ask questions, make suggestions, and reach out across the community.
    3. Create a Lesson: While our team will be adding roughly 25 lessons to the database shortly, the most authentic learning experiences come from all of you. Create your own lessons, our team will edit them and publish them on your behalf. You’ll also be able to “rework” lessons and adapt your colleague’s work to a different subject or grade level.
    4. Report Issues: If something is not working as expected, if you have questions, if you need assistance, we are here to support you. Please contact me directly at with the issue, and I will do my best to help you resolve it. Thank you in advance for speaking up!
  2. Get the Classroom Companion app for Windows 10 or Mac OS. It allows you to setup a server on your local area network (LAN).
  3. Knowledge Base: Answers to many questions you may have!
  4. Guide to Crafting: Helps you figure out what items to put together to get a tangible item.
  5. Watch the Case Study and Minecraft: Education Edition overview
  6. Hour of Code Minecraft
  7. Videos of Student Creators via Wes Fryer
    1. Minecraft:Pocket Edition - Check out this 15 minute guided tour of some AMAZING Minecraft Creative Builds by Edgar, a 4th grader in Mrs. McAlister's class!
    2. This Space Shuttle and Galley Ship were built by Shon (4th grade) in Minecraft Pocket Edition.
    3. Check out Rachel Fryer's YouTube Channel

Activity: 3 Little Pigs

A little pig family has found itself under attack by a pack of wolves in the neighborhood. Not being architects, the pigs are at a loss of what kind of home they want.

In your team, please create several models of houses that pigs can live in comfortably. Your constructions should reflect a variety of budgets. As architects/builders, you will design new homes for the pigs. Be prepared to share some facts about the pig home(s) you construct.

Note: Include a bed, chimney, doors with levers, fence, and 3 pigs and 1 wolf (or more)

What Questions Do YOU Have?

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) from Texas school district personnel. Responses are current as of 10/28/16. That means they are subject to change pending the November 1, 2016 announcement.

  1. How is licensing handled?
    • Minecraft: Education Edition (M:EE) will charge $5 per student account. Volume licensing agreements for 20-25 schools and up may be available. These volume licensing agreements will become available (Subject to change)
    • "School districts and municipalities with a Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions volume licensing agreement may add Minecraft: Education Edition to their agreement which will give them access across their organization. Schools interested in this option should contact their preferred education reseller for pricing" (Source: MS Minecraft:EE FAQs).
  2. What are the machine requirements for running Minecraft: Education Edition in my classroom?
    • Office 365 account for each student seeking to use M:EE
    • Windows 10 or Mac OS "El Capitan" for each device
    • Windows 10 Hardware requirements (get details here):
      • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
      • RAM: 2 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 64-bit
      • Hard disk: 16 GB for 32-bit OS 20 GB for 64-bit OS
      • Graphics Card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
      • Display: 800x600
  3. Are mods supports in Minecraft: Education Edition?
    • Mods are modifications to Minecraft, available through a number of third-party websites. They can add or remove content to the game, or change how it is played. Mods are not currently supported in Minecraft: Education Edition.
  4. What are some of the new features that Minecraft: Education Edition has?
    • Secure student login IDs, editable boundaries, and a tutorial for first-time educator use
    • Educators can manage world settings
    • Student communications are possible
    • Educators can give items and teleport students in the Minecraft:EE world.
    • Educators can get a list all students in the world
    • World management settings are available with chat window
    • Leads and horses
    • Additional player skins
    • Pistons

What's Next?

Check out ISTE's Minecraft: Education Edition webinar on Thursday, November 2nd at 5:00pm (Central Time). From their web site:

Free webinar - “Boost critical thinking and problem solving with Minecraft: Education Edition.”

The 2016 ISTE Standards for Students expect learners to produce creative artifacts, make meaningful learning experiences and solve problems by designing new, useful and imaginative solutions.

Minecraft: Education Edition allows students to meet those standards using a platform they love.

Join the Microsoft Minecraft Education team and two classroom educators who will demonstrate how they use Minecraft to build critical thinking skills, promote digital citizenship and provide robust opportunities for creativity, problem solving and innovative thinking — all within a collaborative, immersive environment.

Even More Minecraft Goodness

(not necessarily Minecraft: Education Edition related)