Minecraft Coding

minecraftI’ve spent a good part of my spring break investigating coding in Minecraft. Actually, I’ve been looking at all kinds of avenues to do this over the past several months. Why? Because Minecraft is an amazingly awesome piece of software,  kids love it,  and it can be a fantastic gateway to learning coding.

There are so many approaches, however. I’m not the only one who noticed the above, and there are a raft of avenues out there touting their awesomeness for teaching coding through Minecraft. I’ve looked at many of them, and there is no One Way to do it. So much depends on the age and experience of the kids you’re teaching, what you feel comfortable with, etc. I’m doing it in my 8th grade classes, as a bridge between GameMaker and Small Basic. So kind of a first introduction to text-based programming. Or as I call it: Taking the Training Wheels Off.

After looking at modding in Java, writing plugins in Java, some Snap and Javascript, I think I’ve found what’s going to work for me in my situation. The Computercraft mod uses the Lua scripting language, and Lua is just simple enough that I think it’s workable for an intro to text-based coding. Shameless plug — I’ll be presenting on Teaching Programming in the Middle School Using Minecraft at the CSTA conference in Dallas this July.

Stay tuned for more.

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