How I Use It
I teach Game Design and Development and have grown to really love Minecraft as a game design engine. Minecraft is a sandbox game, meaning that students are limited only by their imagination. I have seen educators use Minecraft in every content area. In my class, kids recreate fairy tales in Minecraft and create their own games within minecraft. The range of games kids can create is wide. Students work in design teams and collaborate to create their stories and games. This includes everything from creating a comprehensive design document outlining their ideas to creating, peer testing, and iterating on the design until their game is complete. Students learn advanced skills in the game (primarily on their own) including the use of redstone to automate functions in their game.
Minecraft is a very special tool in education. One of the things I love most is that many kids come with an existing level of expertise. My strength is teaching the game design process. Kids can hit the floor running when they already have a base understanding. Those that don't are happy to jump in and learn, often with incredible support from their peers. The inherent collaborative nature of Minecraft allows for teams of any size to work together and I am continually amazed at how organic the team work flow seems to develop within the game. Kids tend to find and focus on their strengths within the game and roles form in a very authentic way.
If you have not already, please join the Minecraft: Educator community at http://education.minecraft.net - the minecraft educator community is very generous and available for support!