One of the most beloved games in the history of educational entertainment is, without a doubt, ‘The Oregon Trail’. Not to say that this is a particularly riveting field or that there are that many competitors, though ‘Sim City’ did teach us about resource management, but ‘Oregon Trail’ always reigned supreme. Despite the popularity of the old educational RPG/simulation adventure, ‘Oregon Trail’ gradually fell off of school curriculum. Well, the times are changing once more and it appears that the ‘Oregon Trail’ is back, only it looks a little bit different than you might remember with a Minecraft port called the ‘Education Edition’.
The newest rendition of the ‘Oregon Trail’ was developed by the team at publishing house Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in a partnership with ‘Minecraft’, the legendary block-building game that has so enamored kids around the world. For their part, the team at ‘Minecraft’ has been trying to establish themselves as more than just a video game company for the past several years. The developers at ‘Minecraft’, commonly abbreviated to MC, have been looking to get into the educational field for a long time due to just how pliable their game is for certain educational projects.
‘Miencraft’ has also partnered up with the Roald Dahl Estate recently in order to develop a writing competition for children in middle school. The competition asked children to develop a story within the ‘Minecraft’ world with the winner, a story named ‘Fluffletopolis’, being rendered into its own special downloadable map on the main ‘Minecraft’ website. Even the legendary Smithsonian is getting in on the action by developing their own array of STEM slanted educational projects. A speaker for the Smithsonian said of their new lesson plan, “These lesson plans are designed to stimulate STEM activities in a variety of settings.”
The latest ‘Oregon Trail’ version of Minecraft is just another step in the right direction for a company that is rapidly proving they are more than just dollar signs and ad revenue. ‘Minecraft: Education Edition” released last year and it is already available in over 115 different countries around the world. The team at ‘Minecraft’ understood how powerful and popular their platform was and decided to put it to immediate good use. Students everywhere are taking an interest in physics and creativity in a way that just hasn’t happened before with other similar concepts and platforms and that is very exciting, indeed.