Side-by-Side Learning: Using Minecraft and Gamification to Support Student Learning and Teacher Professional Development

PI: Nicholas Lux, Department of Education, Montana State University Bozeman

An ongoing collaboration between the MSU Department of Education and the Bozeman Public School District has proved that the “Hyalite Partnership” is a powerful model of teacher professional development and pre-service teacher education in conjunction with student learning. Participating elementary students benefit from engaging with innovative technology-based activities delivered by pre-service teachers, who in turn are provided opportunities to gain instrumental experience by working with expert practicing teachers. Cooperating in-service teachers gain digital learning professional development and the help and assistance of education students eager to begin applying theory into practice. In this project, the “Side-by-Side Learning” model will be extended to middle school student STEM programming using Minecraft gaming as a teaching platform, with aerospace science and engineering providing the STEM content.

The Bozeman Minecraft Gaming Summer Camp will utilize this Side-by-Side Learning model with rising 6th graders to focus on aeronautics, aerospace, astronomy and related fields. Montana Space Grant Consortium funding will facilitate infrastructure and capacity-building efforts needed to offer the one-week summer camp and grow the academic year partnership with the middle schools. The summer camp, with its concurrent and ensuing professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers will teach Minecraft gaming software to explore aerospace-related applications, and build interdisciplinary and standards-based best-practice instruction. Ultimately, this project will provide the support needed to build robust connections for middle school students, teachers, pre-service teachers, and higher education faculty in aerospace science and engineering applications, and leverage that learning in the broader STEM related contexts to improve instruction.


Contact Information

Mail: Nicholas Lux
Department of Education
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
E-mail: Nicholas Lux
Phone: (406) 994-6581

Montana Space Grant Home
Updated September 19, 2014