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This professor uses games like 'Minecraft' as virtual classrooms

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Dr. Chris Haskell teaches his classes in a very unique way.

An instructor at Boise State University, Haskell specializes in educational technology with focuses in multiple facets, including game-based learning and esports.

Using "virtual worlds," he utilizes video games to create spaces where students can log on and interact. Utilizing these in-game classrooms opens up possibilities not seen in traditional settings. Because of the scope of the games, particularly "Minecraft," the space and features students can interact with is essentially infinite. This provides plenty of tools around which instructors can construct learning.

Haskell's approach to learning can be paralleled with that of several games. He won the 2013 Innovator Award from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning by providing incentives goals and objectives like a "quest." Digital games provide a platform for students to connect, especially with those from all over the world.

One of his main courses actually teaches other instructors how to create a game-based learning environment. Approaches to learning and other concepts are touched upon within the actual games, so future instructors who plan to pursue this path understand the mechanisms of each title's tools and potential impact. He hopes that this method of teaching can be embraced at all levels as a way to supplement traditional learning.

A supporter of all things gaming, Haskell also works to promote esports as a community-building activity that spans from the professional level down to childhood development. He can be seen speaking across the nation regarding the importance of video games and their impact on both culture and education.

For more information, visit: www.edtech.boisestate.edu/chris-haskell/

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