Kempsey South Public School students have been trialling the use of computer program, Minecraft, as a learning tool.
The school has been given access to 30 licences as part of a NSW Department of Education trial of the technology to see how it could be used purposefully in the classroom prior to being rolled-out across the State.
They’re now some way into the trial at Kempsey South and teachers have found Minecraft to be a useful addition to the curriculum, particularly in the subjects of mathematics, science and computer studies.
The program challenges the kids to design according to a criteria and use computational thinking to solve complicated real-world problems in a virtual setting that simulates reality.
As well as enhancing problem solving skills, the children learn social skills, develop patience, build character and unleash their imaginations.
According to Year 5/6 N teacher, Aimee Nixon, the students are far more engaged learning in this way.
Principal of South Kempsey Public School Andrew Kuchling said the students have thoroughly enjoyed their advanced access to the Minecraft in Education program.
“It is a tweaked version of the Minecraft that the kids are all playing at home, meaning it looks and feels like a child's activity,” he said.
“In actual fact though, our students are working collaboratively to solve quite complex, real-world issues; in this case looking at a more efficient use of water by building a digital model of the water cycle.
“The Department of Education is highly committed to ensuring all Public School students have access to this sort of cutting edge learning, and this program will be available to all Public Schools later this year. It truly is a wonderfully exciting time to be a student.”
11-year-old Kempsey South student Cooper Gafa finds constructing infrastructure within the virtual world of Minecraft both entertaining and educational.
“You learn about nature, counting and how to use a computer,” he said.
“There’s so many different blocks (building materials) to choose from.”