Self-access learning and Minecraft: observations and student perceptions

Robert Remmerswaal & Robert Dykes, Sojo University


Minecraft is an interactive virtual sandbox game that came out in 2011. Despite its age, its popularity has continued to rise. The authors created a Minecraft server for their students at a private Japanese university to expand the offerings of their Self-Access Learning Center. Students were able to access the server anytime from anywhere. All students who used the server were asked to use an “English Please” mentality. English was not strictly enforced but instead encouraged with a focus on communicative output rather than grammatical competence. The authors collected student perceptions and made journals of their observations during the first year of the server’s operation. From this data, students appear to be interested in Minecraft. Students who used the server regularly appeared to have improved their English communication skills. However, a participatory culture was not established between students. The main barrier to creating this culture is the number of regularly engaged students. Enlarging the community may require more time, different activities, or students committing to specific times for engagement.


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