The wildly popular world-building game Minecraft will be made available, for free, to every secondary school in Northern Ireland. (Guardian)
Check out our own collection of game-based learning activities.
Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.
- What is Minecraft?
- Minecraft is a game that allows players to dig (mine) and build (craft) different kinds of 3D blocks. Using these blocks, players can create their own worlds and explore the creations built by others.
- A major new education initiative is providing the education version of Minecraft, MinecraftEdu, to all secondary schools in Northern Ireland. What are secondary schools?
- Secondary schools are basically middle schools and high schools. Younger grades are usually considered “primary school” or “elementary school,” while college is generally called “higher education.”
- The “Minecraft initiative” involves more than just schools. What informal education centers will also be getting MinecraftEdu? (Watch the video above or read this FAQ for some help.)
- Libraries, community centers, and coding clubs will also be getting the game. The project also has a “mobile gaming lab” that can visit community events all over the country.
- Who is paying for this project?
- Not the schools. It’s a public-private partnership. CultureTECH, a tech-industry innovation festival in Northern Ireland, teamed up with Mojang, the creators of Minecraft, to organize the project and provide the materials. Infrastructure for the project is funded by the government (specifically, the Department of Culture, Arts, and Leisure).
- The schools aren’t just getting games. What is the other major component of the project?
- CultureTECH is working with public and private organizations to provide teacher training for the game and how it may be implemented in a variety of formal and informal education settings. According to CultureTECH, “The team behind MinecraftEdu . . . also host a library of lessons and activities that are available for free, and there is a vibrant, active teacher community exploring uses of Minecraft in the classroom. Over 5,000 teachers in 40+ countries have used MinecraftEdu to teach subjects from STEM to Language to History to Art.”
- Why are educators encouraging students to play Minecraft?
- According to our website, “Games provide real-time feedback and built-in goals that can motivate students to improve. In addition, students must make decisions as they play games, and they can see the results of those decisions right away and use that information to inform their next decisions. Meaningful games embed educational content and require students to engage in a variety of 21st century skills in order to be successful. These games compel students to apply a variety of knowledge, skills, and strategies to solve problems. Such games provide a rich environment that promotes collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication.”
- MinecraftEdu is an open-ended game—just take a look at this list of how educators are using it: zoology, shipwrecks, civics, probability and statistics, Hawaiian culture, architecture . . .
- This initiative is the first of its kind. Why is Northern Ireland a good place to test the project?
- Northern Ireland is a politically and economically stable country with a strong infrastructure that can implement the project. Northern Ireland is also small: The project involves more than 200 schools and informal education sites, which is a lot—but just for reference, New York City alone has more than 1,800 public schools. Smaller projects are usually more affordable and adaptable, which are important qualities for new initiatives.
- Have you played Minecraft? How would you use it in your classroom?
- Are there any other games you are using in your classroom?
The Guardian: Minecraft free for every secondary school in Northern Ireland
Nat Geo: Educational Games: Use Game-Play to Engage Students
CULTURETECH / MINECRAFTEDU – FAQ SHEET
5 thoughts on “Homework in Northern Ireland: Minecraft”
Really interesting to see the initiative for MinecraftEdu being taken by countries like Ireland, will be cool to watch it take off across other countries as well.
This is such fantastic news. I really hope MinecraftEdu can give my school some keys too! I’ve been playing Minecraft at http://minecraftforfreex.com/ for free but I want mods!
this looks amazing