Mining creative skills is child’s play

Minecraft camp co-ordinator Tim Wicks helps Jayden Bell, 10, with a challenge at yesterday’s event.

Minecraft camp co-ordinator Tim Wicks helps Jayden Bell, 10, with a challenge at yesterday’s event.

THE limitless, pixelated world of Minecraft was brought to life in the classroom yesterday as south-west students came together at Brauer College for a group learning experience.

The sandbox open-world video game has been praised for its potential to encourage children to play creatively, explore and think critically about what it takes to develop new communities.  

Each building block mined in Minecraft can be used to construct infrastructure, from humble village huts to kingdoms of giant castles. 

In a multiplayer online server customised for the classroom, 26 children from around the region worked together to create buildings and landscapes, advancing through rankings using in-game currency earned by completing challenges. 

The creative goals set in the session ranged from small in-game tasks to creating large- scale buildings such as castles and real-world monuments. 

A promotional image from Minecraft, showing its basic graphics and player-created environment.

A promotional image from Minecraft, showing its basic graphics and player-created environment.

Minecraft camp co-ordinator Tim Wicks said after meeting and connecting with each other face-to-face, the children could go home and continue to play and interact online.

The Darwin-based education consultant formed Think Fizz after seeing an opportunity for teaching while watching his son play Minecraft. 

“This is something I developed through my obsessed seven-year-old son,” Mr Wicks said.

“Initially I was worried but as I sat and watched him play I was excited by what he was learning. 

“One of the outcomes this works towards is helping kids communicate in the online environment.

“Half a dozen of my son’s best friends he only sees face-to-face once a year but they met through Minecraft and talk on Skype all the time,” he said. “There are often children on the autism spectrum whose parents like that they can go to an event like this and connect with other kids.

“People come from all around — today we have kids from Ararat and Colac. 

“It’s more than just creativity. Kids are learning the ability to develop leadership in groups who might not usually have that chance,” he said.

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