Microsoft Japan uses 3D printing and Minecraft to teach students basic coding – 3DPrint.com
There has recently been a movement to bring more STEM education into the classroom from educators and tech advocates around the world. The reality is that the future of high-tech product development will require a working knowledge of STEM skills and concepts, so incorporating it into the educational workflow is critical if a school is to develop life-ready students in the classroom. 21st century. Unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of resistance, not so much because schools are unwilling to teach more comprehensive subjects, but rather because many educators just don’t know how to fit it into their curriculum.
The use of educational games has been a proven method of making education more acceptable to children for years. While educational games like flash cards predate digital educational games by decades, video games like Oregon Trail were designed to help a new generation of children learn history and strategy using modern tools like desktop computers. The purpose of flashcards and the Oregon Trail is the same: to take complicated or boring educational material and dress it up as a fun game to help students familiarize themselves with concepts and ideas that would traditionally bore them. It is in a way the approach of education “a spoonful of sugar pours the medicine”.
Microsoft Japan has decided to use this approach to technology education with its new attempt to introduce coding, programming, and 3D printing to Japanese colleges. Japan-based Microsoft subsidiary has partnered with Japanese 3D printing service provider Kabuku and the Rinkak Avatar 3D printing solution for a tutorial pilot project that aims to introduce students to the basic concepts of coding and digital fabrication using the world of Minecraft. The pilot program is a test case for the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) Dream School Council of the Ministry of Interior and Communications of Japan.
The new course at ICT Dream School is called Digital house manufacturing and is offered to sixth-graders of Sarugaku Primary School in Tokyo with ten 45-minute sessions. Each student will design and construct their own building or structure and then have it 3D printed for them. The class was designed to use the familiar Minecraft gaming language to encourage students to learn about basic coding and 3D printing technology. The ultimate goal is to help young students learn new skills and hopefully make them want to continue their programming lessons.
In order to provide students with their 3D printed buildings, Kabuku has integrated the Rinkak Avatar 3D printing app into the Minecraft game. With the app, once the student’s structure is complete, they can simply send the building to be 3D printed as a duplicate of their Minecraft structure. After Kabuku 3D prints the buildings using full color sandstone, it is sent straight to the classroom so that students can continue their coding and 3D printing technology lessons.
If it is still too early to judge the success of the project, it looks rather promising for the moment. The first indications are that having a 3D printed copy of their Minecraft building makes it easier for students to understand how programming and coding is used to create virtual objects. You can learn more about the class and see some of the students working on the Rinkak website. Are you a Minecraft fan? What do you think of this project? Chat on the Microsoft Japan forum and Minecraft 3D Printing on 3DPB.com.