Emerald Middle School utilizes best selling video game Minecraft into its Code School curriculum

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Emerald STEAM Magnet Middle School offered nearly 300 fourth and fifth graders a chance to work in the Cajon Valley Union School District’s Code Campus. All with the use of the second best selling video game Minecraft. Emerald adopted the use of this game into its curriculum, and Vu Bui, chief operating officer of Majang, the Swedish Company that created Minecraft,  and Deirdre Quarnstrom, the director of Minecraft education at Microsoft took notice.

Emerald STEAM Magnet Middle School offered nearly 300 fourth and fifth graders a chance to work in the Cajon Valley Union School District’s Code Campus. All with the use of the second best selling video game Minecraft. Emerald adopted the use of this game into its curriculum, and Vu Bui, chief operating officer of Majang, the Swedish Company that created Minecraft,  and Deirdre Quarnstrom, the director of Minecraft education at Microsoft took notice.

This is all in conjunction with the University of San Diego’s Mobile Technology Learning Center that feeds K-12 educational programs. Bui’s visit to see his game in educational action

Bui said he is very excited to see the progress and that the game is now used in many classrooms. 

“But this is one of the coolest visits I’ve done,” he said. “The communities themselves have created all these programs. I think that games inherently are educational and this game is being used in a way that people are directly trying to use the best aspects of it to educate student.”

Emerald Principal Steve Bailey said joining with USD and Codes of the Future, made this curriculum possible. He said three months ago, they began to think of how to make it available to all 16,000 students in the district, and events like this are just some of the ideas they have developed.

“They are using Java script, what we think of as the new language of the future in computer science and coding,” he said. “So now we have Saturday events that we open up to the whole district, both students and teachers.”

He said the school used the principles of design thinking where kids have choice, they get to design their own education, and they ask their own questions… and engaging activities that teach kids.

Julie Zoellin Cramer, deputy director, USD’s Mobile Technology Learning Center said the goal is to create an atmosphere in a portable campus for students and next generation learning. The designs of the classrooms, full of laptops and computers for every student is completely mobile in set up to be arranged to whatever activities go on. “It is very unique that they take these portable buildings and turn them into a coding campus,” she said.

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