Primary schools across Northern Ireland are in with a chance of winning some great prizes for their classrooms, thanks to an innovative Minecraft Competition set by the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) in collaboration with Microsoft Education.
Entrants will have the task of recreating an authentic Viking Settlement set in CCEA’s award-winning STEM in Minecraft world. The free competition aims to encourage pupils to apply their curriculum knowledge, understanding and skills in a digital gaming environment.
CCEA’s Chief Executive, Justin Edwards, commented:
“In June 2019, CCEA’s ‘STEM in Minecraft’ suite of resources became freely available and accessible to all primary schools in Northern Ireland. The resources encourage an innovative approach to games-based learning in the classroom. Young people will be able to take their classroom learning and infuse it with their own understanding, knowledge and experience of the outside world. It brings with it a whole variety of benefits and skills development.”
Entry is free and every submission will receive a certificate of recognition. Microsoft have supported prizes for Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, with Gold rewarding schools with a £2000 voucher for ICT school equipment plus an all-expenses paid VIP trip to DreamSpace in Microsoft Ireland Headquarters, Dublin.
Dr. Kevin Marshall, Head of Education at Microsoft Ireland commented:
“Recent figures* highlight that over 110 million people play Minecraft each month and its popularity is not fading. Given the numbers of young people that are already immersed in gaming, in particular Minecraft, CCEA saw the opportunity to harness games-based learning and bring it to schools in a structured way that supports the STEM agenda and provides support to teachers connecting learning across all areas of the curriculum. Microsoft was delighted to support this initiative and see the engagement in the competition by both teachers and students.”
Michael O’Kane, Principal of St Peter's and St Paul's Primary School, and a respected Learning Leader in Digital Skills, commented:
“The CCEA Viking World has been an instrumental part of our World Around Us and connected learning activities, as it gives the children the opportunity to be creative, develop key critical thinking skills and compare their own lives with the lives of Viking children from hundreds of years ago. The buzz in our classroom was immeasurable as the children worked together on the excellent tasks within the Minecraft World.”
Details of the competition can be accessed at www.ccea.org.uk/stemworks/vikings. Deadline for entries is Friday 14 February 2020, with winners being announced on 23 March 2020.
Open to Primary Schools (Key Stage 2) Entry is FREE and every submission will receive a certificate of recognition. Microsoft have sponsored amazing prizes for Gold, Silver and Bronze winners:
- GOLD: £2000 voucher for ICT school equipment plus an all-expenses paid VIP trip to DreamSpace in Microsoft Ireland Headquarters, Dublin.
- SILVER: £1500 voucher for ICT school equipment.
- BRONZE: An X-box console and a Microsoft Surface Pro device.
As of 16 October 2019, 21 primary schools across Northern Ireland, comprising of 550+ pupils have signed up to take part in the competition
Learning Technologies Awards 2018
The STEM in Minecraft resource, which supports CCEA’s digital skills framework, picked up Best learning game UK and Excellence in the design of learning content: public and non-profit sector at the 2018 Learning Technologies awards.
- The Learning Technologies Awards took place on 21 November 2018
- The awards celebrate the very best in learning technologies, and witness 64 gold, silver and bronze awards being awarded.
- CCEA was shortlisted for and successfully achieved gold awards in Best learning game and Excellence in the design of learning content: public and non-profit sector
The STEM in Minecraft resource, launched in February 2018, provides a range of game‐based active learning opportunities, making connections both within and beyond The World Around Us. Included are a series of STEM in Minecraft in‐game Quests. They are aligned to the curriculum, so that pupils are applying learning through online gaming. Pupils become the Viking protagonist, facing a series of choices and challenges on a journey to mastery. To promote a blended approach, there are a number of STEM enquiries to connect Science and
Technology to a topic traditionally viewed as a History‐only one.
The STEM in Minecraft Viking World aims to create an authentic learning sequence in the classroom. The resources include carefully designed Minecraft tasks that allow pupils to experience simulations of how Viking life might have been and aims to elicit a learning and emotional response, particularly empathy with how Viking life might have been.
Skill building and mastery
Using the CCEA STEM in Minecraft resources, pupils can gain mastery in a variety of Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities and a series of Minecraft skills. Goals are short, measurable and challenging. Group sessions allow for collaboration and problem solving. In game characters take pupils on a Viking narrative journey and change the game from digital Lego to a role‐playing game – providing learner autonomy, choice, and purpose when working towards a shared group goal.
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