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Swedish school makes Minecraft a must

Published: 09 Jan 2013 11:45 GMT+01:00

“It’s their world and they enjoy it,” Monica Ekman, a teacher at the Viktor Rydberg school, told The Local.

“They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future,” she said.

Around 180 students take part in the lessons, learning how to build virtual worlds, complete with electricity grids, water supply networks and indeed anything else that may come to mind.

“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,” Ekman said.

The students themselves are enjoying the unconventional teaching method, she said.

“You get to learn how things work because you’re actually trying to build something,” student Amanda Hillström told Sveriges Television (SVT).

The idea stems from a national school competition called "Future City," where classes around Sweden were invited to submit proposals on how to make things better in the future.

The teachers at the Viktor Rydberg school, however, went a step further and made Minecraft compulsory.

While Ekman admits that some parents were uncomfortable with the idea at first, she thinks the school will keep using it as a teaching tool.

“It’s been a great success and we’ll definitely do it again,” she told The Local.

“We think it’s a fun way of learning and it’s nice for the students to achieve something.”

Minecraft has proven to be extremely popular since its release in November 2011, with over 40 million registered players and 17.5 million games sold worldwide.

The 3D game demands that players find creative solutions to construction problems. According to its website, the idea is as simple as “arranging blocks to build anything you can imagine.”

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter here

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

15:44 January 9, 2013 by Commie
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:59 January 10, 2013 by Grokh
in USA they want to censor videogames instead of banning guns which are the real problem, in sweden they put it into the school system guess who is the wise one?
16:19 January 11, 2013 by MichaelZWilliamson
Grokh: I'm not clear on why you went there, but in response:

Minecraft is not a particularly violent game, unlike "Kindergarten Killer," for example.

The AR15 rifle is legal in Sweden, as are most guns.

The Supreme Court says there is a right to keep and bear arms, including modern firearms, so there will be no ban. Nor do bans work--consider the ban on meth, cocaine and heroin.

There are many repercussions to free speech as well. See: Fred Phelps for example. Unlicensed access to computers makes it easy for scammers and exploiters of children to reach people. Nevertheless, the right remains.

To say "Guns are the real problem" would mean there was no murder before guns were invented. This is patently untrue.

And per Leyden University's International Crime Victims' Survey, and other studies, while the US murder rate is higher (largely due to the illegal drug trade), Sweden is more violent in crime overall, when considering also burglary, robbery, rape, assault, etc.

Instead of trying to ban anything--books, guns, games--a rational person would propose better education, child raising, and social action to improve lives and behavior voluntarily, with treatment for the sick.
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