In the winter issue of YALS Jessica Schneider and and Erica Gauquier discuss how they brought Minecraft to teens at the Darien Library in Connecticut. Their article highlights the ways in which library staff and teens can work together to build programs and to support a wide-range of teen interests and needs through technology.
What is Minecraft? As Erica and Jessica describe it in their article:
Minecraft is a like a virtual and ongoing game of legos. Players mine for necessary materials in order to thrive in the game. You simply move blocks and build upon them gathering supplies as you go. As a player gets better and gains wood from trees, wool from sheep, meat from pigs, and diamonds from the earth, the possibilities for gathering new materials and resources becomes greater. The game can get even more complicated if you are so inclined, allowing players to create their own modifications (mods)- which leads to learning essential programming skills.
As Teen Tech Week approaches, it’s just a few weeks away, library staff working with teens might want to do some of their own research on Minecraft and how to use it with the teens in the community. This might include talking with teens about the program to find out what they are using it for. It might mean visiting the MinecraftEdu site to learn more about the software, how it works, and how kids, teens and adults around the world are using it.
As Erica and Jessica discovered, Minecraft brings teens from a variety of interests together working towards a common goal. It also provides youth participation opportunities that connect technology, planning, decision-making, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
If you haven’t checked-out Minecraft yet, Teen Tech Week is a great time to do so. You’ll also want to check-out the Winter issue of YALS to learn how Erica and Jessica created a successful Minecraft program in the library.