A few years ago, Mark Smithivas noticed that the video game his two kids were playing was different than what he had seen before. The strategic block-building game, called “Minecraft,” allows players to creatively build with a variety of cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world while also emphasizing important skills such as exploration, resource gathering and crafting.
With a background in higher education and as a past PTA president, Smithivas saw an opportunity to incorporate Minecraft into an educational digital platform now named mc.education,
“There are a ton of issues in the public education system, especially in inner-cities, that aren’t easily fixed. However, the traditional mold of standardized testing and lecture-based teaching is proving more and more ineffective comparatively to engaged learning,” he says.
According to Smithivas, one of the biggest challenges for his Chicago-based business has been convincing people that video games can be beneficial in a classroom setting. While a still relatively new online-platform, Smithivas hopes to expand his business within the next few years.
“Chicago has a lot of resources; they’re the third largest public-school system in the country as well as a lot of dedicated parents involved in the schools and even at the local government level. There’s a huge network here,” he says. “I do want to eventually be able to offer mc.education to other U.S. cities, as well as other parts of the world.”
For more information on Mark Smithivas and his background, visit his website: https://mc.education/