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Swedish school makes Minecraft a must

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Swedish school makes Minecraft a must
11:45 CET+01:00
A school in Stockholm has made headlines after introducing compulsory Minecraft lessons for 13-year-old students, with teachers hoping the Swedish computer game will encourage the children to develop their thinking.

“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

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