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.
Our Conclusion: Minecraft allows children to enjoy learning and playing with proper parental safeguards in place.
- 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.
Our Conclusion: Roblox has a low barrier of entry, with minimal safeguards in place, potentially carrying the risk of children being exposed to online dangers.
(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
Restricted Access to Online Games
– Only players that are in the same Azure tenant (the same domain such as @codinglab.com.sg) can join multiplayer worlds together. When students create multiplayer worlds in Minecraft Education, only people with accounts on the same tenant can join their world. In other words: it’s easier to limit your child’s interaction when he plays – you know they’re only playing with their friends from coding class, and not random online strangers!
Classroom Mode for Minecraft
– Minecraft Education Classroom Mode is an optional app that allows teachers to monitor and manage multiplayer games in Minecraft Education, such as disabling chat and pausing the game. Yes parents, we use this all the time to ensure optimal class experience and control 🙂
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!
*Note: You would need to complete our App Inventor 1+2 and Python Junior 1+2 before joining our Minecraft classes.
(Written by Hovan, edited by Thinzar)
Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding
We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.
Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.
Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18
Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at [email protected]
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger