Last spring, when students from The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine in New York City took Level Up Village’s Global Minecraft Builders course, they were paired with partner students at iEARN Pakistan in Karachi and the result was extraordinary cross-cultural collaboration.
“They built a transportation system at Pakistan’s suggestion, a hospital that Cathedral organized, and even a collaborative flower garden, which required both classes to recall their point plotting skills from an earlier class,” said Chris Doyle, U.S. Program Coordinator for Level Up Village.
“The opportunity to work with fellow students in Pakistan gave our students a unique opportunity to collaborate on projects with students in an entirely different environment from their own,” said Monika Jasinska, Director of the After School Program at The Cathedral School.
“Level Up Village courses made our children sensitive not just to the world around them, but to a very different world and showed them how much they still have in common. The Global Partners component of Level Up Village classes is extremely important and worthwhile.” – Monika Jasinska, Director of the After School Program at The Cathedral School.
Several years ago The Cathedral School made a commitment to bring STEAM-based programs into its curriculum with the support of faculty and students who were eager to collaborate, explore and grow through project-based learning. Level Up Village was an early partner in that effort, with the added benefit that LUV courses align with a very important part of the school’s mission – to educate articulate, confident, responsible citizens of the world.
“Level Up Village courses made our children sensitive not just to the world around them, but to a very different world and showed them how much they still have in common. The Global Partners component of Level Up Village classes is extremely important and worthwhile,” added Jasinska.
The Cathedral School started out with LUV’s Global Doctors (biology), and then added a customized course that combined Global Inventors/3D printing and Global Minecraft Builders – all during the After School Program.
Minecraft has been rapidly gaining momentum among educators as a highly engaging and effective teaching tool. The game is used to teach mathematical concepts such as plotting points, graphing and calculating volume and area, as well as design thinking, decision making and building skills.
In addition, Level Up Village uses Minecraft to teach Internet etiquette and facilitate global collaboration – two important 21st Century skills. Collaboration takes place in a safe and controlled Minecraft world, populated only by the U.S. students and their Global Partners.
“Multiplayer games are all the rage, yet kids need to learn how to conduct themselves in this environment. They need real role models to pave the way because in most cases, parents are in completely unfamiliar territory,” said Neesha Rahim, Co-Founder, Level Up Village. “By taking Minecraft with us, students learn how to behave and collaborate within the context of the game, plus we provide them with a secure environment to explore.”
Students communicate virtually via video messages with their individual partners during each class period and also interact within the game itself by using Minecraft signs to tell each other what to build next.
“In most cases, the U.S. students start out with much better Minecraft skills than their Global Partners, so collaborative learning truly comes into play as they work together to create the Minecraft Utopia,” Doyle added.
Level Up Village will build on the success of Global Minecraft Builders, which is geared to grades 2-6, with a second Minecraft course for grades 6-8 starting this fall. In Global Minecraft and Physics, students will learn about Newton’s Laws of motion, simple machines and advanced Command Block and Redstone uses. All this will lead to the fun and collaborative creation of a Minecraft Rube-Goldberg machine.
Helpful Minecraft resources for educators: