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Thesis Defence: Digital Games-based Learning: Minecraft in the 21st Century Classroom

December 8, 2022 at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Julie Partridge, supervised by Dr. Catherine Broom, will defend their thesis titled “Digital Games-based Learning: Minecraft in the 21st Century Classroom” in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Education.

An abstract for Julie’s thesis is included below.

Defences are open to all members of the campus community as well as the general public.

If you would like to attend this virtual defence please contact the supervisor at catherine.broom@ubc.ca to receive a zoom link.


This critical literature review examines how sandbox video games like Minecraft can develop 21st-century skills, in particular the 4Cs — critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity — in school-aged students within the formal setting of the classroom. This research includes two primary questions: (1) What aspects of sandbox video games like Minecraft promote the practice and development of twenty-first century skills in school age children? and (2) How to “bridge the gap” between informal, out-of-class learning and the formal classroom setting? The extant body of scholarship in each of these two focus areas is synthesized and themes that emerge from the data to include: the qualities of Minecraft that promote 21C skills –critical thinking, communication and collaboration creativity; and ways to bridge the gap include student-centred learning and teacher curiosity and interest. Violence and gender bias in video games, student and parental perspectives and barriers and issues with technology in classrooms are also discussed. The theoretical underpinnings for this research include Constructivism (Dewey, 1938; James & Williams, 2017), Constructionism (Papert, 1980) and Connectivism (Siemens, 2004; Downes, 2005). The findings of this critical literature review indicate that Minecraft can help to develop the 4Cs and teachers, when curious and motivated, can overcome barriers to incorporating Minecraft into their classrooms. The implications and significance of this research has relevance for district administrators, school leadership teams and classroom teachers wanting to include technology, Digital Games-Based Learning (DGBL) and Minecraft into their schools and classrooms whilst providing those hesitant a better understanding of the importance in this area of pedagogy.


December 8, 2022
9:00 am - 12:00 pm

Additional Info

Registration/RSVP Required
Yes (see event description)
Event Type
Thesis Defence
Arts and Humanities, Research and Innovation, Science, Technology and Engineering
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Families, Partners and Industry, Students, Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates