Dominic Maggiolo says the use of games as instructional tools has blown up in the education world in the last few years.
For Maggiolo the use of computer games has allowed his students to engage with material that otherwise might be dry and challenging to wrap their head around. One of the programs that Maggiolo swears by is Minecraft, an innovative game which challenges students to play in teams and forces kids to make quick and collaborative decisions.
The game uses blocks that mirror the graph paper of a more traditional classroom. Students use the game to build all sorts of 3D objects. The game's cross-disciplinary nature is particularly powerful.
"If you want to use it in science, you can use it to look at the anatomy of the human body," he says. "You can create human body using blocks and then have kids literally walk through the body. Or, if you are doing a unit on social sciences and are looking at ancient Egypt, you can get the kids to build a pyramid or have them design ancient Chinese buildings."
Maggiolo says a particulary attractive thing about Minecraft is that many of his students already play it at home.
"They play it with their friends. They play with international friends. I was using it as a launching pad to get them thinking about it," he says.
He says the whole learning experience is incredibly holistic and engaging.
Learn more about Minecraft and its learning applications by following Maggiolo's twitter account.