Minecraft, the painless alternative to stepping on tiny plastic bricks

Have you ever stepped on a lego brick? Toy blocks have quite a history (and not just in relation to your decision to wear slippers). John Locke (writer and philosopher), Friedrich Froebel (often referred to as the father of kindergarten), Maria Montessori (teacher and first woman in Italy to earn a medical degree) and many others recognized the value of playing with blocks to encourage problem solving, identify dependencies and patterns, and visualize mathematics.

Minecraft's predecessor

A bare foot’s worst enemy.

After WW2, children were encouraged to play with rubble, using the bricks of destroyed buildings to create new structures from their imagination. Therapeutic, educational, and a return to normal childhood play after years of wartime life.

Cute little lego guy

Cute little lego guy.

Today’s answer to playing blocks is considerably easier on your feet. Can you guess what it is? Of course, it’s Minecraft (this NYT article does a really good job of digging into the why). Kids are learning the essentials of building software through an online game, with Minecraft’s virtual building blocks. Players solve problems, identify patterns, and build universes. (Sound familiar?) And Minecraft is not limited to children. The average player is in his or her late 20s (40% are women). The game’s first task is to build shelter (to learn the basics). After that, players let their imaginations run wild – build castles, send friends through mazes, essentially engineer your own universe.

Castle for your Minecraft universe?

Would you put one of these in your universe? I would.

So where does qwikLABS fit into this picture? Our love of all gamification/education mashups notwithstanding (a story for another post), we can teach you, your friends, your kids – or all of you – how to install and run your own Minecraft server on AWS, at pennies per hour (depending on your instance type), a pretty good price. Since it’s EC2, you can just pause it whenever you’re not using it. 

Click here to take the Running a Minecraft Server on AWS. The lab walks you through:

  1. Launching an EC2 instance

  2. Downloading and installing the Java platform and the Minecraft server software

  3. Creating security groups

  4. Launching Minecraft

Need one more reason to add AWS skills to your gaming toolkit? Now through the end of the month, this lab is available for free. Like Cinderella’s coach and 4, you have til midnight 4/30/2016 to take this lab free of charge, then the price tag returns ($8 USD – no sticker shock). 

So keep your feet safe! Put on a pair of slippers and click here to check out the Running a Minecraft Server on AWS lab!

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