MinecraftTM: Just a Game or a Conduit to Enhance Social-Emotional Learning?
Keywords:social skills, virtual reality, game-based intervention, groups, autism, social-emotional learning
Minecraft™ is a popular game that immerses the player in a virtual world in which they can be creative and interact with others. Results of a 2017 survey of public educators utilizing Minecraft™ in the classroom, indicated that 90% of the teachers felt the game enhanced student problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking, and collaborative skills. One continued area of need in the practice of game-based interventions in context of clinical programming, is monitoring the effects of virtual reality and games on social-emotional and behavioral needs of participants. In January 2020, Minecraft™ launched a new Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) content packet to address this gap in services and research. The use of games and virtual reality (VR) in clinical practice are gaining popularity and are being used more readily to enhance 63 outcomes for identified clients. This article will discuss the design and development process of using the Minecraft™ SEL content packet in practice as a basis for group social skills training in latency age children with high functioning Autism. A review of current and best practices in virtual reality and game-based programming will be included.
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