Children rejoice: Minecraft to be offered to every secondary school student in NI

25 Mar 2015

A previous Minecraft event run by CultureTECH at Guildhall, Derry, Northern Ireland. Image via CultureTECH

There will to be some gleeful faces in secondary schools in Northern Ireland soon after it was announced that they are to be offered Minecraft as part of a project devised by CultureTECH, Northern Ireland’s innovation festival.

While many teenagers spend countless hours on Minecraft building their own worlds in their own spare time, the game is heralded by many in the tech world as a fantastic and creative way to better understand technology, design and coding with almost unlimited potential.

Likewise, a number of high-profile organisations including MIT and the UN, have successfully used Minecraft to teach quantum physics and engage young people in redevelopment of their neighbourhoods.

Now, CultureTECH has secured funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) of Northern Ireland to supply MinecraftEdu licences – an educational version of the game – 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.

To-date, over 5,000 teachers in more than 40 countries have used it to teach STEM subjects, art, history and coding.

Speaking of what the introduction of MinecraftEdu will have on schools, Mark Nagurski, CEO of CultureTECH, said: “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.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic