Games have been at the forefront of entertainment for all ages and have never been more accessible.
The two most popular games on our kids’ minds are Minecraft and Roblox. By the age of 7, many of our Students will have heard about these games through their friends or YouTube channels. As a result, many parents have approached Coding Lab, inquiring about the presence of either a Minecraft or Roblox curriculum where the students can be guided into their foray into online games and at the same time, learn programming.
We sat down with our Educator and Assistant Curriculum Team Lead, Hovan Tan, to ask him his thoughts on what platforms are suitable for our children, and how we came to the decision to develop and launch our special Minecraft Code Your World curriculum, instead of other platforms. Let’s hear from Teacher Hovan! 👏
We sought an answer of creating either a well-designed Minecraft curriculum or Roblox Curriculum for the right age group.
Hours of research commenced, on the platforms. We wanted to ensure that the curriculum we deliver does not only improve your child’s computational thinking skills, but also most importantly, keep our students safe and secure in an online environment.
We chose to create our Minecraft Code Your World curriculum, and forgo Roblox entirely, despite the multitude of requests we received for Roblox classes. For you to better understand our decision, we will be breaking down our prior research on the two platforms.
Let us see how Minecraft and Roblox compare in 2 key areas; (1) online safety, privacy and parental settings, and (2) programming support.
(1) Online Safety and Privacy Features
- Minecraft has access to Microsoft’s Xbox features, which include a comprehensive suite of privacy and security features that protects individuals from online dangers.
- Parental controls are also available on Minecraft, which allow parents to maintain and monitor their children’s interactions and activity online, enabling/ disabling online features to their choice. Such features are also available in the Java Edition, Bedrock Edition (Windows), and Minecraft Education Edition.
- Roblox (and Roblox Studio used for programming) is a free platform which is easily accessible online and has an easy account creation process (check out the video below which illustrates this!).
- Roblox is an online experience first, online interactions are at the forefront of its success. Minimal account safeguards exist for parents, and most importantly, children can easily circumvent these safeguards by creating a new account in under 5 minutes.
- Through research, we have found past articles which documented the presence of inappropriate adult content on Roblox. Playing on this platform therefore comes with risks such as exposure to sexual content, which is not suitable for minors.
(2) Programming Support
On top of that, Microsoft is actively developing MakeCode and Minecraft Education. They are adding new code commands (API), features, and support on a regular basis, making the platform a real joy to teach and code on.
Released in 2005, Roblox Studio, utilising only the text-based Lua programming language. Roblox does not have a block-based language. Roblox API (application programming interface) is extensive and complex, which is more difficult to understand and discover for young coders and new coders.
Roblox Studio can be paralleled to Unity (a platform used for game development – which we teach to our teens!) which allows game developers to create fully fledged games in Roblox, Whilst the Roblox API allows for creating complex, custom features in games, the learning curve for coding simple things is much more difficult with a steeper learning curve for the average 7-12 year old student.
MINECRAFT VS ROBLOX – PROGRAMMING
Programming on Minecraft is great for young kids to start off with; with drag and drop blocks; which also allows for an easy transition into text-based languages as the student advances. That is why Minecraft is suitable for all ages and programming levels. So when your kid tells you they want to program in Minecraft, believe them! It really is an exciting educational experience they are going through.
Roblox, in contrast, requires advanced knowledge to program more than just the basics. More suited to teens, if you’ve already let your 7 year old try it out; chances are that your young child is spending his/her time playing the game more than coding (so now you know the secret ;-)) Furthermore, without the appropriate parental safeguards and the ease of creating a new account, we really wouldn’t want our students to go there – why start at all; if Minecraft can provide a much better and safer learning and gaming experience?
Minecraft Education Privacy
Here is the main differences between Minecraft and Roblox platforms.
With our priority being safety and fun learning, it was a clear choice for us. From the credibility of Microsoft, to its multiple years of strict parental controls; to Minecraft being a game first, rather than online interaction. Together with an age-appropriate programming platform, we opted to create a curriculum for our students using Minecraft’s Code Builder!
Our students have won competitions at the National Japan Minecraft Cup Competition for three consecutive years. Every year, students from Singapore and Japan meet online to program and submit their ideas for the cup. Check out our past accolades here (2019,2021,2022). If your child is keen to join us but has no prior experience, keep a lookout for our special Minecraft Code Your World classes are available during our holiday camps for ages 10 to 12. Check out our schedules here under P21S – Advanced Computer Scientists!
(Written by Hovan, edited by Thinzar)
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