Swedish school makes Minecraft a must

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.

Swedish school makes Minecraft a must

“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

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Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid

UPDATED: Swedish billionaire Markus Persson is reported to have outbid the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce with his half billion kronor offer ($70 million) for a 2,000-square-metre Beverly Hills mansion.

Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid
Markus Persson created hit game Minecraft. Photo: TT

The tremendously successful video game creator earned the exclusive set of keys to the phenomenal property after a bidding war with four other potential buyers in what is reportedly the most expensive house sale ever in Beverly Hills.

The self-proclaimed “nerdy computer programmer” from humble beginnings acquired the massive property with features such as a candy room, car showroom, vodka and tequila bars, eight bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, apartment-sized closets, and a movie theater.

According to a press release from John Aaroe Group, the agency which represented 35-year old Persson in the deal, it is the highest price ever paid for a house in Beverly Hills. Persson quickly decided he wanted the home, paid all cash, and closed the sale in a speedy six days.

A listing for the mega-mansion appearing back in August referred to the property as “an overwhelming sensory experience unlike any you've felt before” – and asked for $85 million.

BELOW: Take a video tour of the apartment 

1181 N Hillcrest Rd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210 from Tri-Blend Media on Vimeo.

Past and present neighbors on Persson’s new exclusive Trousdale Estates neighbourhood street include Jennifer Aniston, Ellen DeGeneres, Oakley founder Jim Jannard, and Ringo Starr.

The contemporary-style home includes a glass wall providing a 280-degree view of the city and Pacific Ocean and comes completely furnished – Hermès chairs and Roberto Cavalli sheets included. 

The video game designer became a billionaire in September when he sold his company Mojang to Microsoft for 18 billion kronor ($2.5 billion), announcing at the time that he had never intended to make such a fortune

“I make games because it’s fun, and because I love games and I love to program, but I don’t make games with the intention of them becoming huge hits.”

Persson also publicly voiced his views vis-a-vis his growing heaps of cash last year on Reddit, saying “I think the right way to use money like this is to set a decent portion aside to make sure my family is comfortable, spend some on living out your dreams, and then try to put the rest towards making society a better place.”