The question is, how can it be taken from an ECA and used within the curriculum?
Successes So FarWe have seen a few successful implementations of Minecraft within the curriculum. Tanglin has created a great citizenship unit, which teaches types of governance. They use a world MinecraftEDU and change the kinds of government.
James York has used it extensively to provide prompts for writing and as an engagement tool. See his TED talk
CodingThe ability make mods and program parts of Minecraft is a real boon to hook students into coding. As well as MinecraftEDU. There's a great version for the Raspberry Pi. Kano have done a great job of enabling the visual programming of Minecraft. For the more advanced, you can download Minecraft and use Python to play with the program on almost any version of Raspbian.
Another option is LearnToMod (Currently $30 per year)
Installing MinecraftEDU is not the most straightforward of installs on a network and on the PC, we had to spend quite a bit of time getting it right, so that it could be accessed across all accounts. It's fiddly and can cause problems.
On our network, one Desktop PC can support up to about 12 clients on a world that is on a hard-wired internet connection and wirelessly a laptop can support 6 others. It is highly variable and you would need to test it on your school network to know what can be supported.
On the other hand, the Raspberry Pi edition was very simple to do, but does require somebody with either a basic knowledge of Linux or the pre-built Kano kit.
Probably the simplest way to get access to Minecraft is on a tablet. Most seven year olds can hook it up and be playing using a peer based server in seconds.
The Challenges AheadThe difficulty with these implementations is the time taken to create a world and the educational benefits from that world. Few teachers have the time or the know-how to develop a complete world fro their students. So far, what I have seen available on MinecraftEDU are a few worlds with relatively specific educational teaching points. It is in fact, replacing a video as a prompt or creating a place for students to explore.
Perhaps one solution is to use student clubs to make the worlds and then use classroom time to either explore the world or watch a video of the world?