Soon after the pandemic started, I couldn’t see my two lovely godsons. In the beginning, their parents and I planned to meet and talk with them regularly by Zoom. Soon we discovered that many are topics had been covered, and the children have begun to lose patience. Finally, we decided to zoom with them for a year. At the same time, we play Minecraft with them. Every time we enter the Minecraft world, the two children will lead us to explore the different things they created in the game world and introduce their creative ideas. Although in the process, because they are too flexible in the game and they turn around, it feels like they have entered wonderland. I appreciated and enjoyed all their creativity and production. Lots of them are beyond the imagination of our adults. Throughout the process, I often think that although this game is a game to create a virtual world, can we use these digital tools and online games as a platform to allow our children to learn more about the different cultures and cultures in our real world. And let them know how to communicate harmoniously with people from other backgrounds.
With the pandemic, digital teaching has made students lack face-to-face opportunities. (Graham, E. 2018) But at the same time, this is also the opportunity for students to get to know people with backgrounds around the world with even at different ages. How educator brings the world to the class? ( Montgomery, J., 2020) Become an important question. I believe in the development of the Internet to this day. It is already an independent nation. This nation also is the most combination of complex cultures and yet has produced its own unique culture at the same time. Therefore, in the future, students must have complete cross-cultural skills and abilities to communicate and work with people from other cultural backgrounds in the online world. More important is not skills but values. The value that students need to know most about this matter now is empathy. Because the virtual world temporarily lacks the emotional expression generated by face-to-face communication in real life, many teachers will express their feeling that the current students lack empathy between communication. I think that the two scenarios are fundamentally different. It is difficult to use the old method and traditional environment to guide students to learn what empathy is, let alone understand and develop empathy with other nations and cultures. Therefore, we should actively think about how to bring the traditional environment into the digital world, so that students can still feel and learn how to express and strengthen their empathy for others in the digital world. This type of game is probably a virtual society, allowing students to practice and personally feel empathy.
According to Graham, she suggests 4 ways to teach the student empathy:
(Graham, E. 2018)
- Inspire love beyond the classroom or school
- Facing the challenge, actively communicate to build understanding
- develop collaboration opportunities
- develop students global literate
Most people think Minecraft is a tool for teaching students to learn simple computer programming and coding. However, more institutions use Minecraft on a broader level. Such as teamwork, finding solicitation, digital citizenship, and more. (https://education.minecraft.net/how-it-works/what-is-minecraft) I am thinking thought bring students around into Minecraft. Enabling students of different cultural backgrounds to form teams to create and compete together should effectively enable students to learn how to communicate with students from other countries and with different cultural backgrounds through this digital platform. And reach ISTE standard 7. For example, join the Minecraft Education Global Build Championship! (https://education.minecraft.net/blog/join-students-around-the-world-in-the-first-ever-minecraft-education-global-build-championship) It can also effectively put the masses in the digital world, allowing students to experience in the digital environment how to express love, understanding, and empathy in this digital world.
Montgomery, J., (2020, )Students explore the world without leaving the classroom. https://blog.zoom.us/students-explore-the-world-without-leaving-the-classroom/
Graham, E., (2018), 4 ways to cultivate empathy in the classroomhttps://blog.ed.ted.com/2018/01/15/4-ways-to-get-your-students-to-be-more-empathetic/
Join students around the world in the first-ever Minecraft Education Global Build Championship! (2020)