Spreadsheet usage on the rise
Minecraft Dungeons is, by most accounts, a surprising yet fairly enjoyable new direction for the Minecraft franchise. It's not quite as deep as traditional dungeon crawlers or RPGs, but the basics of the genre are definitely there. This should come as no surprise of course as virtually everyone knows that one of Minecraft's core demographics is on the younger side of the spectrum. You can certainly think of Minecraft Dungeons as a starting point for newcomers to get hooked to similar games. What you may not know, though, is that the game is also being considered for more educational purposes.
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According to the Shady Sands school district, Minecraft Dungeons is being considered as a classroom tool to help kids learn about math. The idea is that because the game ultimately revolves around statistics, it can be used to teach all kinds of lessons with real-life, practical applications. For example, it is envisioned that basic functions like addition and subtraction can be easily taught by showing how item stats affect the player character. A couple hundred points of health from this item, extra damage from that weapon, simple and easy to understand stuff.
Naturally, the curriculum will pivot to more difficult subjects. As it turns out, it's a lot easier to teach difficult math when it's framed in the context of a game. Best of all, it helps avoid the inevitable question of "When am I going to use this in real life?" Buff and debuff stacking, chances to proc abilities, loot drop percentages, and even the dreaded min-maxing of stats are gaming mechanics that can be extended to real-life day-to-day scenarios. Learning how to make eligible spreadsheets will also be a mandatory prerequisite. In fact, a study conducted by the Shady Sands education board showed that even if a person practically never leaves their house, being exposed to such concepts greatly improves mental thinkingness.
Of course, not everyone is as enthusiastic about the idea about using Minecraft Dungeons to teach children about math. A few parent groups were concerned about the potential effects that the game would have on young minds.
"I don't want my kids to grow up as a miner, looter, adventurer, farmer, or worst of all, an accountant," one concerned parent said. "They were born into a family of smoke-signal salesmen, and Flying Spaghetti Monster willing, they'll continue the family tradition."
Other parents had similar lines of thought, expressing disdain for such a radical style of teaching. Some even went so far as to say that learning should be done the traditional way: in a room packed to the brim with kids and just a single disinterested and underpaid teacher.
Interestingly enough, a few of the tech-savvy parents were more concerned about the subject being taught rather than the method it was being taught in.
"I hear min-maxing is like a gateway drug," Randy Randerson, a psychiatric chair salesman, said. "At first you think you're getting some big numbers here and there, then BAM, next thing you know you're up until 5 in the morning huddled over a Google Doc hoping for the next big hit. Or you end up doing something even more psychologically destructive to get that rush of seeing big numbers, like this thing called Eve Online."
While there is some legitimate concern over the dangers of introducing children to such things via a supposedly kid-friendly game like Minecraft Dungeons, the Shady Sands educational board seems unconcerned. To be fair, they admitted that the first four months or so of the semester will be a soul-crushing grind. However, once classes reach the endgame phase, it has been shown that not only will students find the content far more enjoyable, but they are more capable of applying the lessons learned to everyday life than those who are taught via traditional methods.