Following the weeks after the conclusion of the “My country, your country” project, the students had the unique opportunity to present their work in two major events, the E-TECH Portugal Technology Fair and the PaRK International School Tech Fair.
E-TECH Portugal is one of the country’s biggest technology fairs, where students from schools all around the nation get together to showcase their classroom projects and get in touch with the latest trends and technologies related to education. The Minepark members were invited to present their work and talk about what they had learned during this activity, as well as the challenges they faced and the ways they worked together to achieve their goals. Needless to say, we were all honored to be invited to such an important event.
PaRK IS Tech Fair is an annual school event where students invite their parents and present to the whole school community their classroom projects that involved technology integration. It is a whole-day event filled with extraordinary and inspirational presentations of student-created projects ranging from robotics and programming to handcraft and design.
The Minepark project was also featured at the GMS/Apple in Education event, where teachers were invited to get acquainted with the current educational technologies available from Apple. The “My country, your country” project was a perfect fit for this conference, as it showed not only how Minecraft was implemented in a school’s curriculum but also how the iPad was used as the principal platform for accessing the game world as well as the multiplayer server.
The above events as well as the project itself helped us to think of Minecraft and the impact it can have as an educational platform in a deeper and broader sense. It is obvious by now that Minecraft is much more than just placing and removing blocks in a 3d world, but also involves interdisciplinary learning and the cultivation of important soft skills. Through the Minepark project we have successfully included disciplines like Geography (terrain, biomes, regions and maps), History (research, accurate historical data, culture and national heritage), English (command use, user interface and peer communication), Engineering and Architecture (3D orientation and physics). All these knowledge combined helped students fine-tune their 21st century skills, project planning, computational thinking and complex problem solving skills as well as team management and task distribution skills. And if that wasn’t enough, Microsoft had announced a new version of Minecraft called Minecraft: Education Edition, which would eventually include new tools and features specifically designed for teachers and classroom environments. Fortunately, we were lucky enough to experiment this platform prior to release and it is simply extraordinary.
The best is yet to come!