I am watching a documentary about Minecraft and it’s founding company Mojang. I am realizing how very late to the party I am. While it may be part of the genre of documentary to make something small seem like a really big deal, I really don’t think that is the case. In case you were not aware, Minecraft is kind of a big deal.
It is amazing to see Notch, Markus Alexej Persson, the creator of Minecraft do his programming. He is flying around multiple screens looking at the code. It is increadible to see him looking at code and perfectly picturing what the code will look like. He then goes on to run the game and see if his predictive picture was correct. Isn’t this exactly the most awesome reading comprehension? Being a proficient reader is looking at this mess of letters and seeing a picture in your minds eye, then watching the story play out. I had a suspicion that programmers where the new scribes. Yes, the programmers are the printers of the new printing press. I figured as much. It’s amazing to see them work.
So, I wonder. What would programming look like at school? How might programming help readers of text? Might acquiring a second language, say in programming code, be as beneficitial to L1 (first language) as any other language? Could I get my students to program and understand the syntax of something larger?
Sounds nice, very fancy. But wait. It’s happening. How about Makey Makey?
Watch the video here. Yes, hyperlink provided since my programming is just developing and I am not sure I can embed the code. Yes, I see the irony and I am doing my best to accept it.
I was talking about programming and neither of these products actually require programming. Please do not be disappointed. I believe the thinking of programming is there. I think these are like the board books for programming. In my previous blog post I considered Scratch, but I think there is a middle step, a few middle steps, before that level.
I am using Minecraft to teach measurement concepts this week. All my little students will turn into little Steve’s. I can’t wait.