RICHMOND (WRIC) - Parents may be hesitant when it comes to certain video games but one wildly popular game is getting played both at home and now the classroom.
One of the things that makes Minecraft a special game is that it's an open world and you can choose to play it however you want. But the key to the game is survival. And you do that by building tools, then houses and eventually entire towns.
Minecraft has never been advertised, yet it has sold more than 33 million copies.
And it's now being used in education.
Robin Kocen started a local chapter of "Bricks 4 Kidz," a learning group originally based on LEGOs, but now includes Minecraft.
"It's all about being creative," she says. "And building blocks and cities all in this virtual world."
She says building is one the most interactive ways to teach.
Cheryl Munro loves the game as both a parent and a teacher, knowing her kids enjoy it, but are also learning valuable skills at the same time.
"Using the game kind of inspires critical thinking," she says. "And it's kind of a blank canvas that it puts out there. And kids can build. They can create."
Players have to solve problems and strategize to win. Science, math and communication skills are all needed to advance in the game and many kids admit to learning about different subjects.
Bricks 4 Kidz has taken Minecraft a step further by having kids build the characters and buildings they made in the game with actual LEGOs.
"What we've done in our Minecraft camp is taken the Lego component and really teaching them team work and team building," Kocen says.
The kids have to work together to create their virtual creations in the real world, which parents say enhances engineering and social skills.
"The Minecraft game with Lego is brilliant. I think anything that inspires kids to use their hands and creating is a really good combination."
Though the concept of the game is relatively simple, it may be the exception to the rule that too much gaming can be a bad thing.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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