Fact: Kids love Minecraft. The unique and ridiculously popular game is often compared to digital LEGO’s, and at it’s core, allows players to place and break blocks in a 3D world. With more than 22 million users in 40 countries, the Minecraft craze is only growing and kids can’t seem to get enough.
The draw of Minecraft?
For kids, it’s a blank slate and gives them the opportunity to let their imagination run wild. For educators, it is a perfect opportunity to fully integrate technology with learning. Minecraft is being recognized as an incredibly powerful, educational tool that acts as a medium for educators and students, alike, allowing them to unleash their creativity and fully integrate technology with learning opportunities. Because the game lives online, the multiplayer format can be utilized to emphasize digital citizenship and collaboration all through integrated project based-learning.
Meet Connected Camps, an online summer camp for Minecraft that is breaking the rules in all the right ways. Yes, you read that right, Connected Camps is a virtual summer camp, that connects kids from around the country (and even the world) through a dedicated, monitored and secure Minecraft server.
The Summer of Minecraft Camp was catalyzed by three girl geeks on a mission to make coding and digital arts accessible and fun for all kids. After a successful pilot in summer 2014, Connected Camps welcomed over 2000 campers to their summer programs in 2015, and is back by popular demand for a third year. The learning approach and design of Connected Camps is backed by research and testing in practice, and is part of the Connected Learning Alliance, dedicated to mobilizing new technology in the service of equity, access and opportunity for all young people.
Research shows that working in an intergenerational community around a shared interest supports kids in developing their technical and social skills. By connecting kids with peers and mentors, Connected Camps uses Minecraft to cultivate and transform kid’s love for the game into genuine engagement in STEM. Tara Tiger Brown, co-founder of LA Makerspace and Connected Camps, notes, “Minecraft is more than a game, it’s an environment that can teach problem solving, programming and social skills. It’s like LEGOs, in a social, virtual world”.
During their online Summer of Minecraft camp, kids can learn all about Minecraft, from the basics of play to coding and architecture, in-game engineering, and game design. There are camps for mixed groups, a variety of knowledge levels and ages (8-15), and even girls-only camps, to empower next-level STEM learning. Connected Camps Summer of Minecraft Camps are entirely virtual, allowing kids from around the country (and even the world) to connect and play with peers in a dedicated and safe Minecraft server. During the summer camps, kids play in a secure, monitored environment where they learn to code, build circuits, and design games while empowering each other and practicing positive digital citizenship.
Connected Camps develops campers’ Minecraft skills with week-long camps varying from in-game coding to game design. Not only is Minecraft fun, but kids will learn everything from problem solving and design to digital citizenship, collaboration and community organizing. The Summer of Minecraft Camps begin June 27th and end August 5th, with five, one-week sessions. Kids have the option to choose their area of focus, such as: architecture, game design, survival camp, beginning coding, intermediate coding, engineering in Minecraft, and camps for girls. Each one-week camp costs between $49 and $79.
To learn more about Connected Camps and the educational Minecraft craze, visit Connected Camps.com.