50,000 Students To Use Minecraft In School As A Part Of New Education Guidelines For The First Time Ever

Minecraft, the popular sandbox building game created by Mojang and played by millions of users, is to be distributed and taught to every secondary school in Northern Ireland as part of a new project. CultureTECH, group created to help encourage and promote technology and creative industries across Northern Ireland, have the backing from the NI Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to bring Minecraft into the education sector on a scale that has never been done before.

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.

– CultureTECH Press Release

Set to be deployed in over 200 schools, 30 libraires and numerous community centres. In a press statement released today CultureTECH detail how a special version of Minecraft, called MinecraftEdu, is set to be distributed and nothing like this has been done to this scale before. This will all be down to a ground-breaking partnership between CultureTECH, Microsoft, Mojang and TecherGaming.



Northern Ireland’s Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “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.”

As someone who lives in Northern Ireland, the small part of the UK and by extension Europe, it is wonderful to see our little country being chosen to run a programme like this. A first of its kind anywhere in the world. I have seen first hand how useful Minecraft is for young children as a way to learn technology. A tool that helps them prepare for ever changing tech landscape that much of todays education fails to provide them with knowledge of.

More information can be found on the CultureTECH Minecraft website and the full press release is below.

Source: CultureTECH Minecraft Website

PRESS RELEASE:

EVERY SECONDARY SCHOOL IN NORTHERN IRELAND TO GET MINECRAFT

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 from DCAL 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 STEM 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.

CultureTECH will work with additional partners including Northern Ireland’s Creative Learning Centres and Honeycomb – Creative Works to provide training and support to teachers who want to use the programme.

Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “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.”

DCAL has also supplied funding to create a mobile games studio which CultureTECH will be bringing to community events, schools and other initiatives throughout the year.

For more information go to www.culturetech.co/minecraft

 

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