Swedish School Employs Mandatory Minecraft Course

Swedish School Employs Mandatory Minecraft Course

image

Minecraft will help teach city planning to Swedish teens.

Videogames are gaining more and more of a stronghold in schools. We've already seen how they can help out at the collegiate level, but one school in Sweden wants to see if a younger crowd can benefit from academic gaming. An international competition for city planning inspired instructors at the Viktor Rydberg secondary school to make freeform construction game Minecraft a compulsory part of the curriculum.

About 180 students around 13 years old have begun to play - and work - in Minecraft at Viktor Rydberg. "They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future," says Monica Ekman, a teacher. Her lessons in the game involve constructing realistic cities, complete with power and water networks. The game's strengths, according to Ekman, are its gender-neutral mechanics and aesthetic, and its focus on slow, gradual construction. "The boys knew a lot about it before we even started, but the girls were happy to create and build something too - it's not any different from arts or woodcraft."

The "Future City" competition that inspired the event is an international challenge to teach students about the challenges and opportunities of urban engineering. While any competitor could theoretically use a Minecraft city in his or her entry, Viktor Rydberg is the only school to make it mandatory. Some parents expressed concern about devoting school time to a videogame, but Ekman stands by her program, and her students' results. "We think it's a fun way of learning and it's nice for the students to achieve something."

Designing a virtual city is only one component of the "Future City" competition, which also requires a research essay and a physical model. That said, Minecraft is as good a tool as any to conceptualize all the moving parts a realistic urban environment might need to work. As for the students, schoolwork is still schoolwork, but getting down and dirty with a virtual pickaxe beats toiling over a worn piece of graph paper any day.

Source: The Local via GameSpot

Permalink

If this was America, they'd make students play the consol version :P

If this was America they'd have to get bigger seats to roll the kids into, and set up some sort of swear box.... actually that's an idea, it would pay for the whole damned school! :D

At our school, we have a Minecraft lunchtime club, where there are competitions and prizes to be won. You basically do you what you do when normally playing Minecraft, but you have survival competitions and 'See who can build the fastest' kind of stuff. It's pretty awesome, but not mandatory.

Ummm...is there a franchise dedicated to simulating city planning? Darn it, what's its name? It's just so obscure. Seriously, why Minecraft over Sim City, if the objective is to expose to civil engineering?

shiajun:
Ummm...is there a franchise dedicated to simulating city planning? Darn it, what's its name? It's just so obscure. Seriously, why Minecraft over Sim City, if the objective is to expose to civil engineering?

Minecraft is a far better game for a whole classroom. The only SimCity game with multiplayer isn't out for two more months, and even that one might not be able to support 20-30 players in a single region, let alone one city.

P.S. Thanks

I guess city engineers in Sweden need to learn how to design well-lit sewers that don't spawn monster mobs.

I have a bad feeling in my gut that Minecraft is going to become as overused and mishandled as XML. Other then that... I'm not sure Minecraft's simplified abstraction is quiet enough to give students an accurate representation of reality in city building.

See, my problem with this is that if I were in one of those classes I would rig the city to blow.

Genuinely impressed, despite my dislike for Minecraft. Good show.

Now if only the Uk could implement compulsory Sex Education in schools.

Wow, I wish there were a simulation game that was focused primarily on effective city planning and incorporated issues like power distribution, commerce, transportation, the economy, pollution, housing costs...like a "simulated city".

When I was a highschooler... calculators were banned and we had to do everything on paper/using our brains.

When these kids are highschoolers... they get to play minecraft as an assignment.

Life is unfair.

renegade7:
Wow, I wish there were a simulation game that was focused primarily on effective city planning and incorporated issues like power distribution, commerce, transportation, the economy, pollution, housing costs...like a "simulated city".

In addition to being only singleplayer so far, simcity suffers from the fact that the cities in it can only use existing solutions to problems that city planners have already resolved decades ago. This city building is for a "Future City" competition, which requires new solutions to unsolved problems, so the rigid fixed simulation of simcity would be unsuitable.

Blaster395:

renegade7:
Wow, I wish there were a simulation game that was focused primarily on effective city planning and incorporated issues like power distribution, commerce, transportation, the economy, pollution, housing costs...like a "simulated city".

In addition to being only singleplayer so far, simcity suffers from the fact that the cities in it can only use existing solutions to problems that city planners have already resolved decades ago. This city building is for a "Future City" competition, which requires new solutions to unsolved problems, so the rigid fixed simulation of simcity would be unsuitable.

That is a logical and reasonable answer, but its just being used because Markus Perrson is Swedish and the game is popular.

wow... I want to enroll my kids(when I get one) to that school!~ never found of this game... but this is cool... it's about time games are taken seriously, and not just a target to blame when shit happens...

1337mokro:
When I was a highschooler... calculators were banned and we had to do everything on paper/using our brains.

When these kids are highschoolers... they get to play minecraft as an assignment.

Life is unfair.

Indeed. I pity those modern highschoolers. :(

They learn to play a videogame; we learnt to rely on our brain.

So how long do you reckon they'll last before someone starts work on a Giant Golden Cock and Balls?

Marshall Honorof:
"it's not any different from arts or woodcraft."

That's weird, i didn't realize green glitches spawned in artrooms at night and destroyed that which you worked so hard on

Agow95:
See, my problem with this is that if I were in one of those classes I would rig the city to blow.

Oh man, the things I would do if I had a Minecraft class...

Now THAT is what I wanna see! Academia and entertainment coming together! :D

shiajun:
Ummm...is there a franchise dedicated to simulating city planning? Darn it, what's its name? It's just so obscure. Seriously, why Minecraft over Sim City, if the objective is to expose to civil engineering?

Minecraft offers so much more freedom, the teachers can basically create their own rules and there are infinite possibilities as to what the students can build. Also not to undermine the intelligence of the students but Minecraft is a lot simpler than Sim City, it would be miles easier to teach. There's also the fact that every student in a classroom can be present in the same game of Minecraft at the same time, allowing for interactivity and cooperation between them.

Twilight_guy:
I'm not sure Minecraft's simplified abstraction is quiet enough to give students an accurate representation of reality in city building.

That's where the teachers come in, just playing Minecraft is going to be nowhere near realistic city building but the teachers can make their own rules and criteria. In this case Minecraft is basically an alternative to using a blackboard, merely a tool used to enhance comprehension and focus.

It's good to know that if I ever visit Sweden, there won't be a sudden burst in the lava dam.

It's not like there isn't already an effort to bring Minecraft into American schools... like MinecraftEDU, or anything...

Thunderous Cacophony:
I guess city engineers in Sweden need to learn how to design well-lit sewers that don't spawn monster mobs.

Öh, yöu wöuldn't believe the dämåge the regulär creeper-incidents cäuse... Every mörning, like clöckwörk, änöther citizen cläimed by the Green Peril... Every mörning, yöu run the gäntelöpe between the manhöles... Them sewer's ä deäthtråp.

But really, I doubt the only thing the Rydbergites will do from now is playing Minecraft all day long, we won't need to worry about the future (more than usual). I'm quite sure they'll be taught to use their brains by more traditional means as well. This is just a neat little aside.

I would have loved this, that's for sure... But me and my history teacher used to share experiences from Europa Universalis, at least. Another of the teachers I've had used to be in the military, was reasonably up to date on gaming and used that to make a few points to us lads, in a language we understood and had a common ground in.

Marshall Honorof:

snip

Uhh, that picture isn't from Minecraft. It's from Sauerbraten: Cube 2. Someone ported a Minecraft map into the game. May want to change that.

SlaveNumber23:

shiajun:
Ummm...is there a franchise dedicated to simulating city planning? Darn it, what's its name? It's just so obscure. Seriously, why Minecraft over Sim City, if the objective is to expose to civil engineering?

Minecraft offers so much more freedom, the teachers can basically create their own rules and there are infinite possibilities as to what the students can build. Also not to undermine the intelligence of the students but Minecraft is a lot simpler than Sim City, it would be miles easier to teach. There's also the fact that every student in a classroom can be present in the same game of Minecraft at the same time, allowing for interactivity and cooperation between them.

Twilight_guy:
I'm not sure Minecraft's simplified abstraction is quiet enough to give students an accurate representation of reality in city building.

That's where the teachers come in, just playing Minecraft is going to be nowhere near realistic city building but the teachers can make their own rules and criteria. In this case Minecraft is basically an alternative to using a blackboard, merely a tool used to enhance comprehension and focus.

I find graph paper to far cheap, more reliable, and more adaptable then Minecraft. Maybe I'm just old school though.

Thunderous Cacophony:
I guess city engineers in Sweden need to learn how to design well-lit sewers that don't spawn monster mobs.

well you know those Swedish trolls have to be contained somehow.

This sounds very nice, i wish we would have gotten minecraft instead of woodcraft in school. then again, back then school didnt have enough computers to support such a class anyway (let alone minecraft didnt exist).
i do wonder, what mods they use, because they woudl certainly need some if they want to build seware and water pipes and stairs that arent default blocks (the 1/8 blocks are great for stairs).

Twilight_guy:
I find graph paper to far cheap, more reliable, and more adaptable then Minecraft. Maybe I'm just old school though.

And far more boring. Which is probably the greatest issue with education ever.

Vhite:

Twilight_guy:
I find graph paper to far cheap, more reliable, and more adaptable then Minecraft. Maybe I'm just old school though.

And far more boring. Which is probably the greatest issue with education ever.

Making things interesting might be number one, but funding is definitely number 2.

Muspelheim:

Thunderous Cacophony:
I guess city engineers in Sweden need to learn how to design well-lit sewers that don't spawn monster mobs.

Öh, yöu wöuldn't believe the dämåge the regulär creeper-incidents cäuse... Every mörning, like clöckwörk, änöther citizen cläimed by the Green Peril... Every mörning, yöu run the gäntelöpe between the manhöles... Them sewer's ä deäthtråp.

What, yöu såy the sewers äre möre dångeröus thän the mööse? A møøse once bit my sister...

I'm all for involving games in educational process, of course. After all, edutainment can be quite fun, can't it?

Here's an idea: Make the kids grind for resources before they can build anything, so you can easily fill the whole semester, NAY, the whole year with Minecraft grind, no need to prepare anything much. Being a teacher at Minecraft central would be just like living a life of crime, awesome!

Also, the kids would turn into adults that wouldn't mind working overtime at the factory doing monotone work, and they'd be pre-conditioned to obey like the well-trained puppies they are, perfect for resistance movements, elections, the average office environment and the army! Who cares if they're bad at calculus and can't compose a proper sentence!

Good thinking, Monica! Minecraft really is the best thing to happen to kids since the Hitler Youth!

Headdrivehardscrew:

Good thinking, Monica! Minecraft really is the best thing to happen to kids since the Hitler Youth!

Oh come on, that's one of the silliest invocations of Godwin I have ever seen. It's not like their curriculum now only consists of worshipping the great leader Minecraft.

Seriously, you're not being witty with this >.<

Twilight_guy:

I find graph paper to far cheap, more reliable, and more adaptable then Minecraft. Maybe I'm just old school though.

We don't have functional 3D paper you can draw on (and never will because we are not 4 dimensional beings) and isometric diagrams have their limits.

Uh, that's not an image of Minecraft. It's a Minecraft MAP to be sure, but that's either some new ridiculously awesome texture pack, or not Minecraft.

Though if it is a texture pack, which it isn't. On the very, VERY slim chance it is a texture pack, anyone mind telling what it's called?

waj9876:
Uh, that's not an image of Minecraft. It's a Minecraft MAP to be sure, but that's either some new ridiculously awesome texture pack, or not Minecraft.

Though if it is a texture pack, which it isn't. On the very, VERY slim chance it is a texture pack, anyone mind telling what it's called?

That's definitely a texture pack. I recognize the pattern in the terrain.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here