Independent Education Autumn 2018

advertorial Independent Education • Autumn 18 67 when they can demonstrate their knowledge. And in Minecraft: Education Edition, educators are able to map projects and activities directly to specific learning outcomes and curriculum standards. So, even though it is fun and engaging for learners, they do learn a lot and their progress is tracked. Welcome to “Small SA” We recently launched “Small SA” – a Minecraft world that includes South African scenes and iconic landmarks such as the Constitutional Court, Ponte Tower, Lion’s Head, a mine, an informal settlement and more. We have seen groups of learners from diverse backgrounds collaborating to think about what some of South Africa’s biggest challenges are, debate feasible solutions and then collaboratively model the solutions in the Minecraft world. Watching these learners was quite remarkable – all their differences fell away as they worked together on issues that they all felt strongly about and affected their experience of being citizens in this country. Each learner had a responsibility to contribute towards the group’s ideas, and the authenticity and active engagement meant that in a group of approximately 100 learners, not one person was disengaged through the day-long activity. Models created in Minecraft can be exported to 3D platforms such as Sketchfab and viewed using cheap virtual reality headsets, which brings the creation to life. It can also be taken a step further and printed in 3D, which provides numerous opportunities for showcasing work with audiences. Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition Computer science is a critical skill for today’s students, and one of the avenues through which this skill set is transmitted to students in the school setting is Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition. This is a brand-new feature that allows educators and students to explore, create and play in an immersive Minecraft world. Partnering with familiar learn-to- code platforms like ScratchX, Tynker and a new open platform called Microsoft MakeCode, players not only develop computational thinking, but can also apply their creations across the curriculum. Coding within Minecraft provides a more engaging context for learning a skill that can sometimes be seen to be a little dry. For more information on Minecraft: Education Edition, please visit https://education.minecraft.net/ or e-mail ISASA@microsoft.com

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