Minecraft is Now Being Used as a Teaching Aid in Northern Ireland’s Schools

Minecraft is Now Being Used as a Teaching Aid in Northern Ireland’s Schools

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Teachers…listen up. It’s “pressure on the government” time. Every secondary school in Northern Ireland is getting a free copy of Minecraft as a learning tool. Yes, free Minecraft. FREE. WE WANT IT HERE IN IRELAND!

minecraft

The world-famous video game Minecraft is to be made available to every post-primary school in Northern Ireland as part of a ground-breaking project devised by CultureTECH, Northern Ireland’s innovation festival, with funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure. This is the first time anywhere in the world, that an entire region has made Minecraft available to its schools. The initiative is expected to reach up to 50,000 children annually.

Minecraft is a sandbox game that enables players to use a variety of 3D blocks to create their own worlds while exploring the creations built by others. Minecraft is one of the most popular video games in history, with over 100 million downloads since its launch in 2009.

CultureTECH has secured funding to supply MinecraftEdu licences to as many as 240 sites across Northern Ireland, including over 200 schools, 30 libraries and community organisations, and a number of volunteer-led coding clubs. MinecraftEdu is a special version of the game with additions that are more useful and appropriate for the classroom. Over 5,000 teachers in more than 40 countries have used it to teach the subjects art, history and computer coding. They join such high-profile organisations as MIT and the UN, who have successfully used Minecraft to teach quantum physics and engage young people in redevelopment of their neighbourhoods.

Says Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín, “This project is truly a world first and demonstrates the innovative and disruptive role that the creative industries can play in education and economic development. It is also a perfect example of the kind of thought-leadership emerging from the North-West, supported by our City of Culture 2013 legacy commitments. Game players regularly exhibit persistence, risk taking, attention to detail and problem solving skills, all of which they would ideally also demonstrate in school. By making Minecraft available we hope to encourage this kind of behaviour.”

Mark Nagurski, CEO of CultureTECH, added, “As anyone with a child will know, Minecraft is huge. But what is really exciting is how it is being used by educators to help young people express their creative skills and develop their understanding of technology. As we’ve developed this project we have already been inundated by emails educators, arts organisations, tech companies and even local councils who see that same potential. Working in partnership with them, TeacherGaming, Mojang and Microsoft we see the next 12 months as a unique opportunity to develop exciting pilot projects with the potential to be adopted across the globe.”

The team behind MinecraftEdu, Finland-based TeacherGaming, were on hand at St Cecilia’s College in Derry-Londonderry to help launch the project and train teachers. Santeri Koivisto, co-founder of TeacherGaming, said, “Last year TeacherGaming ran a tour and one of the major stops was Derry and the CultureTECH festival. This visit turned into a starting point for a collaboration that has very quickly led to MinecraftEdu’s biggest deployment ever! We are very much looking forward in getting the Northern Irish schools equipped and creating an example for the rest of the world how innovative companies, with the support of local public organisations, can have a dramatic impact on how we teach and learn.”

Interested in developing an associated project or replicating this in your city or region? These guys above are looking for partners to help take this idea beyond the pilot phase. Please get in touch if that sounds like you. info@culturetech.co

For more information go to www.culturetech.co/minecraft, or www.culturetech.co/minecraft, or https://minecraftedu.com, or http://www.teachergaming.com

Quick facts:

-CultureTECH have secured £60,000 funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland to supply MinecraftEdu licenses to as many as 240 sites across Northern Ireland.

-Each site will receive a free server license, approx 20 individual licenses, educator resources and an invitation to participate in a variety of programming initiatives throughout the year.

The licenses will be provided to:

•All post-primary schools based in Northern Ireland (200+)

•A selection of libraries and community organisations (30+)

•A number of volunteering led coding clubs for young people (CoderDojos)

-There are no costs to any of the organisations for the above.

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