It's happened. A few weeks ago I finally bought Minecraft for the kids (the Pocket Edition for mobile devices is only about $7). We're still learning the ins and outs of the game, and early going has meant periodic frustration and my wife and I have tried to learn the game on the fly through YouTube tutorials and the like, but while I knew it was an excellent educational resource I've really been surprised at just how great it is.
Our oldest has built multiple houses for himself and various friends and family members, and right now he's working on building a nineteen-story hotel with a working elevator. Obviously, the kids are learning a lot about problem-solving, and it provides a great starter for conversations with other kids. It's also teaching the kids (and us) patience: learning new things can be kind of tough, so we have to be calm and patient while we figure stuff out.
It's also teaching perseverance. On Saturday, I was trying to help our oldest build an elevator he could attach to the hotel he had just completed (the Embassy Suites Hyatt Regency). I accidentally tapped "lava bucket" when I meant to tap "water bucket" and burned the entire thing down. I was impressed with how he handled it: he was really, really frustrated, but he got over it relatively quickly and started rebuilding.
What does this mean for the 21st century economy? Minecraft Coaches will be a thing. This is perhaps a more clickbait-y way of saying the demand for computer science instruction will rise. There are a lot of great tutorials on YouTube and the like, but I wouldn't be surprised if premium content ends up behind a paywall. Parents spend enormous amounts of money hiring experts to teach their kids how to hit a baseball or shoot a basketball. Google showed me that there was a Minecraft summer camp just up the road at UAB. As one blogger notes, there is much truth in this old Far Side cartoon.