MindRising is upon us. What does this mean? Well, schoolkids up and down the country are building their own homage to the 1916 Rising through Minecraft.
A “digital storytelling competition” for youngsters, MindRising is a project that will see schoolkids design their own interpretation of one of modern Ireland’s most significant historical moments.
Well, not quite, actually. Not just tasked with recreating 1916, the kids actually have a choice of building a retrospective, contemporary or predictive view of Ireland, choosing either 1916, 2016 or 2116 as their muse.
A collaboration between MindRising, Microsoft and the DCU Institute of Education, MindRising is bringing gamification to classrooms, something many people have called for in recent years.
Patrick Fitzpatrick, emeritus professor of mathematics at UCC, argued that computer games in the classroom will help students in the long run, with Minecraft, as usual, the example.
Due to Minecraft’s composition and logical gameplay, as well as a remixed, education-friendly MinecraftEdu application, it is commonly suggested as a learning tool in schools.
Two years ago, Scottish officials looked at something similar, but broadening out towards other strategy games like Football Manager as ways to aid the learning process.
Now, thanks to a MindRising toolkit, teachers in Ireland are being encouraged to engage in such a project – with the registration period open between 15-19 February.
A learning curve
“Our initial focus was to create tools to support teachers in educating their students about the Rising,” said Gar Mac Críosta, co-founder of MindRising.
“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.”
Anyone interested in this – from both Ireland and beyond – can visit the official website for more information on what looks a nice little school project.