The MindRising Games, an ambitious competition for schools and youth groups, is calling on young people from North and South, and further afield, to use Minecraft to tell the story of the island of Ireland, looking back to 1916 and projecting forward to 2116.
The competition, launched today at DCU, is a collaboration between MindRising, Microsoft and DCU Institute of Education. It aims to transform the teaching of history in schools, using Minecraft, design thinking, digital storytelling and games based learning to enrich the learning experience for students.
Teams will be challenged to use their digital story-telling skills and imagination to explore and investigate the past 100 years and imagine what the next century could bring.
Entrants can tell a story along 3 story paths, 1) “the past” , 2) “the future”, and 3) “the journey” from past to future.
Recognising the potential of digital technologies to transform teaching, learning and assessment, the MindRising team has built a Minecraft toolkit which aims to enable teachers to transform the design of learning activities for their students with sample lesson plans, tools and suggested teaching content.
Gar Mac Críosta, co-founder of MindRising said:
“Our initial focus was to create tools to support teachers in educating their students about the Rising. We created the GPO and Dublin Castle in Minecraft along with lesson plans and supports, and have moved on to build and borrow other sites from Northern Ireland. We’re currently building a futurescape of urban living in a 2066 city featuring landmarks from Limerick, Galway, Cork, Belfast and Dublin. All content is freely available to download use and hack.”
Openness and sharing are a key feature of the Games, which has already received pre-launch entries from as far afield as Australia, Israel, Alaska and Malta. Entrants are encouraged to publish and share their work including video snippets, audio recordings, Minecraft builds, eBooks, pictures, photos, Sway scrapbooks and anything else they create.
The MindRising Games are focused on helping students develop a range of key skills to participate fully and to flourish in today’s globally connected world. These skills include the ability to communicate skilfully, collaborate effectively, problem-solve, innovate and construct new knowledge over the course of their lifetime.
DCU Institute of Education and Microsoft are keen supporters and partners of the MindRising 2016 initiative as it embeds the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning as advocated by the recently launched Digital Strategy for School.
Professor Fionnuala Waldron, Director of DCU Institute of Education said,
“As an educator, I value the opportunities presented by MindRising 2016 for children and young people to mark the 1916 centenary in ways that promote their historical understanding, help them to connect the past and the present, and support them in imagining the future. Whether they are drawing on the evidence to reconstruct past events and localities, investigating change over time or building on the present to imagine possible futures, MindRising offers rich opportunities for child-led and enquiry-based learning and, most importantly, gives voice to that learning through digital storytelling.”
The MindRising Games were made possible through a collaboration between Business Model Adventures, Microsoft, DCU Institute of Education, and the National Institute of Digital Learning, DCU. The MindRising team are currently developing plans to focus future competitions on the convergence of physical and digital worlds by connecting real-world sensors to the Minecraft world.
Dr Kevin Marshall, Head of Education at Microsoft Ireland, said:
“Students love Minecraft and the highly visual, digital storytelling it makes possible, and Microsoft is delighted to be assisting educators in accessing it in the classroom environment. The MindRising Games 2016 will give students and teachers an opportunity to re-examine Irish history in a dynamic and interactive way. Students are being invited to create their own Minecraft worlds which resemble Ireland at various stages in its history, including 100 years ago in 1916. A range of tools have been created to help teachers introduce their students to the initiative, including some exciting digital renderings that enable allow young people to place themselves in the GPO and Dublin Castle. It’s about reinventing the way history is taught by giving students a vivid window into the past that makes full use of their imagination and gives them a level of learning independence that is only possible through technology.”
Schools, groups and individuals can register for the competition at www.mindrising.ie.