STEM study cited in NY Times article on Microsoft’s acquisition of MinecraftEdu

A three-year, $2 million National Science Foundation project led by University of Maine researchers was cited in a New York Times article about Microsoft acquiring MinecraftEdu, a modified version of Minecraft tailored for use in schools. The popular video game is described as a digital sandbox, inside which players can construct anything they want, much of it out of block-shaped materials, according to the article. There is little research that demonstrates using Minecraft in schools directly leads to improved academic results, the article states, citing the UMaine study that aims to discover how the game might affect students’ interest in science, math and engineering. Bruce Segee, the Henry R. and Grace V. Butler Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UMaine, and Craig Mason, a UMaine professor of education, are leading the study. The researchers plan to develop and use an educational curriculum for rural middle school children that would engage them with programming, spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills by using the game.