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Minecraft is one of the most played video games ever, having sold over 100 million copies since its release in 2009 (Huddleston, 2016). The sandbox game, which players play, build and discover ways to survive in virtual worlds, is particularly popular among young people (Thompson, 2016). Teachers are paying attention and are looking into ways to integrate Minecraft into their classrooms (Timoner 2014). Minecraft is being used in the classroom to teach subjects like physics and math computational thinking and creativity as well as history, digital citizenship and collaboration (e.g. I'm Here Cipollone. Schifter. and Moffat, 2014; Craft 2016, 2016; Hill 2015; Overby & Jones 2015; Short 2012). A Minecraft: Education Edition is available to assist teachers in using Minecraft with their students. Minecraft camps and workshops are becoming increasingly popular outside of the classroom. Teachers' enthusiasm for Minecraft is part of a wider trend of learning through games (Gee, 2007; Plass, Homer, & Kinzer, 2015; Squire 2006, 2008). These efforts are based on a constructivist approach in education that encourages learners to build knowledge through open-ended activities that involve problem solving and decision-making. Despite the wide-spread enthusiasm for using Minecraft to enhance learning, there is little research that examines its efficacy. There is little empirical evidence to confirm the claims of Minecraft being a useful tool to teach specific skills. We also lack details about the conditions that lead to such benefits. In the absence of such evidence attempts to incorporate Minecraft and other multiplayer games into learning and teaching will be based on hunches and guesses, not empirically supported best practices. This study seeks to fill this gap in knowledge by examining middle school students' collaborative interactions when playing Minecraft in small groups of 4 or more players. We decided to focus on collaboration due to its centrality to learning (Johnson Johnson & Johnson, 1989; Rogoff, 1998; Roschelle 1992) and because multiplayer games are particularly designed to facilitate collaboration (Gee, 2007; Plass et al. 2015; Squire, 2006, 2008; Steinkuehler, 2004). Although collaboration is often utilized in conjunction with other pedagogical objectives This study specifically focuses on collaboration as a separate goal. Previous research has demonstrated that students have difficulty working together effectively, which could result in negative effects on their learning outcomes (e.g. Barron, 2003). Thus, collaboration is itself an essential skill that students must develop to enjoy the benefits of collaboration in learning, and therefore warrants specific study. Our study focused on the types and roles of the players who played the game (Bluemink Hamalainen Manninen, Manninen and Jarvela 2010 2010). The findings provide new insight into the factors that facilitate and hinder high-quality collaboration in Minecraft. These insights will be of value for educators who are interested in using Minecraft and other multiplayer games to foster collaboration among their students.

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