Kids from all over Northern Ireland today are waking up to some great news: MinecraftEdu, an educationally focused version of Mojang’s block building phenomenon, is being made freely available to every secondary school in the country. The idea is being masterminded by the annual CultureTECH festival, with support and funding by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, as well as Teacher Gaming.
According to The Guardian, MinecraftEdu will be provided to 200 schools, and 30 libraries and community organisations.
CultureTECH, the main driving force behind the project, are confident that it will allow kids to get even more creative in the classroom. “The level of engagement is the first thing you notice,” said Mark Nagurski, chief executive of CultureTECH. “This is work that the kids really want to do and if you’re able to harness that enthusiasm, energy and creativity you end up with a pretty significant learning opportunity.
“The other exciting thing for us is the scalability and ‘sharability’ that Minecraft offers. If someone creates an engaging way of teaching, say, ancient history, using Minecraft, that can immediately be shared with all the other teachers using the game. You can already see that [happening] with things like Computercraft and we hope this project will add significantly to that resource.”
Whether other regions and countries would follow suit with Northern Ireland remains to be seen. Last year, BBC Breakfast broadcasted a special report on how MinecraftEdu is “highly addictive”, which we thought was rather silly. Meanwhile, and more recently, Turkey’s Family and Social Policies Ministry are calling for a complete ban on the game altogether, citing that it promotes violence.