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Minecraft Education Edition Gets First World – BuildAbility

Minecraft has been a great classroom tool for a while now, and I would know because both my kids have used it with our local school board. From using the world to build relationships, solve math puzzles, make mazes, and more, Minecraft Education Edition has combined having fun with learning in new and exciting ways. The team at Microsoft has now expanded this experience for the first time with a brand new world called BuildAbility, which is focused on identifying and elimination accessibility barriers.

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With BuildAbility, students will be able to identify some – although not all – of the barriers that can impact their lives, or the lives of those around them. They will explore the world and learn how these barriers impact people in different ways through prebuilt experiences, while also having the option to learn themselves in a sandbox environment.

Microsoft has teamed up with the Peel District School Board in Ontario on some of these initiatives, using a small group of educators to establish opportunities within the game. Here are the highlights of the project:

  • The world was developed by Microsoft in collaboration with Peel District School Board. A small working team of educators contributed their time weekly to provide insights and help develop ideas.
  • It was important to draw on the lived experiences of people who face accessibility barriers and therefore PDSB learned from their students about the barriers they face at school and in the community. These insights are reflected in the game.
  • Imagined by Canadian educators from PDSB, this Minecraft world draws on spaces from the Peel area, and has familiar similarities between a local shopping mall and library.
  • BuildAbility explores a few, but not all, accessibility barriers and disabilities experienced by students
  • Accessibility barriers and disabilities experienced is incredibly diverse and vibrant – expressing the dynamism of real world experiences in to video game like Minecraft with BuildAbility is by no means comprehensive and complete
  • The barriers and disabilities expressed in BuildAbility are representative of the ones easily communicable to young minds with a limited time for instruction
  • The majority of disabilities are invisible to others and thus are not all represented in BuildAbility 
 

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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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Twitter: @AdamRoffel