The Minecraft Teacher

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Classroom wishlist

What would I add to Minecraft to make it better suited to for teaching? I’ve been asked that a lot.  An anonymous poster put it this way:

The first thing I thought of after reading this is “What kind of mods could be created that would be useful in this type of setting?” And I started thinking about ways to add blackboards to the game. My question is what kind of mods do you think could be developed? I’d love it if there was some way to implement minecraft in my college courses.

I am a really lousy programmer, so I doubt I’ll be doing any mods, myself.  But I would love to have the ability to use the following:

Large Signs

  • I use a huge number of signs in the worlds I create for my students, but they are tiny.  Hard to read and easy to miss.  And they don’t contain very much text.  I would love to be able to put a huge sign on a wall saying “Go This Way” or “Free Cake” to help guide my students along my lessons plans.  Maybe a large sign could be crafted by placing 4 regular signs together?

Editable Books

  • I know I’m the 12,532nd person to suggest this, but being able to write content in books would be a game changer.  It would be so easy to add lore, backstory, and depth to your worlds.  And from an educational standpoint, it would absolutely promote reading and writing.  No question about it.  I think the way Ultima Online handled player-created books would be perfect.

More Lighting Options

  • Kids hate the dark.  As soon as the sun goes down in the game, the kids beg me to make it daytime again.  I would love more ways to get light into game worlds.  Right now, there are only two practical choices: Torches and Lightstone.  But both behave exactly the same way.  I want to be able to make floodlights that fill a larger area, or spotlights that can make a small area extra bright.  Also, as someone that designs custom worlds for the kids to inhabit, I want more aesthetic choices for how light sources appear in the game.  Maybe we’ll finally get the lanterns that were teased months ago.  Is it too much to ask for colored lighting?

Better Skinning Support

  • The kids would love it if they could pick how they appear in the game.  Right now player “skins” are assigned by account name.  Since the accounts which I use in class are tied to a specific computer, we are stuck with one skin per machine.  So I’ve picked a generic, boy skin for the odd numbered computers, and a girl skin for the evens.  It would be so much better if you could just pick a skin before connecting in much the same way you choose a texture pack.  All this would take is being able set a variable for your skin name separate from your account name.  Might as well take advantage of the 15 kerbillion skins already out there.