September 11, 2020 | Build Challenge, Minecraft: Education Edition, Student Safety
For the Creative Classrooms Build Challenge, we invited students to design inventive solutions to make a traditional classroom environment more suitable for social distancing and safety. Would the ideal school have class outside? Would it distance the desks? Build bigger classrooms?
Students brainstormed ideas, then built their creations in Minecraft: Education Edition. We were amazed to see what they developed, building fun solutions to a difficult problem. Let’s take a look at some of their designs!
In an effort to support teachers at Broward County Public Schools in Florida, one educator decided to get on board with the challenge himself. Erik Leitner is a STEM and Computer Science Instructional Facilitator, and he created a virtual office filled with NPCs, links, and a teleporter to help players get all the info they need for using Minecraft, including tips, videos, ongoing challenges, and more. We love the idea of using Minecraft: Education Edition as a virtual professional development tool for teachers. See all the pictures Erik shared here.
Shrestha Gupta from India chose to focus on mechanical solutions for cleaning both students’ hands and the air they breathe. Entrances feature well-positioned sanitizer dispensers operated by a lever, and air filtration cleanses any particles that might be passed between students in the classroom.
Namya Joshi also took the entrance to her school building very seriously, with not just sanitizer dispensers at the gate, but a machine for distributing masks. Classrooms are divided up with plexiglass barriers, and Namya noted that students would be submitting all work online instead of handing in physical copies that can carry germs.
Indian educator Mrunal Ganjale shared work from her student Sharvil. He adopted a hybrid learning model, with small classes at the school and camera equipment designed to capture lessons for students at home. Sharvil’s video submission even displays how he presented this build to his teacher remotely!
Avina, another one of Mrunal’s students, also submitted a build for the challenge. You’ll notice that Avina’s creation focused on rooms aligned lengthwise to allow for unidirectional, socially distanced seating. Her classrooms provide plenty of space for study, but also for creativity and art. Avina’s build reminds us that learners need recreational and artistic outlets during a difficult time.
In Malaysia, Goh Kok Ming’s students developed an entire school complex bursting with creativity. It wasn’t just designed to tackle COVID-19, but wider issues facing the world as articulated by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Their school was built from the ground up to foster students’ creativity. It includes passageways that provide access to nature, a green screen room, an astronomy space, built-in ecosystems for studying the natural world, and more!
Brothers Piyush and Punit Bhange both entered the Build Challenge. Piyush’s ideal classroom makes good use of space, with different examples of socially distanced rooms. In one end of the room dedicated to reading, the desks are arrayed against a wall. In the other, the desks face the teacher for instruction, but they have ample space between them at the expense of overall numbers. That represents an excellent take on two different strategies! He also doesn’t overlook a sink where students can wash their hands every time they leave the room.
Punit’s father Deepak shared his creation, which is very lively from a design standpoint. This build makes sure that teacher safety is prioritized, with a special area at the head of the class for instruction. Friendly monitors are onsite to make sure students are following social distancing rules. He also added huge splashes of color to every room, which can’t help but lift morale. Taking care of social-emotional wellbeing is an essential consideration under the current circumstances.
Gurpreet Sandhu presented her student Sherlyn’s design. This build features spacious rooms that are ideal for social distancing. A medical professional greets students at the door to take temperatures and assess symptoms. Other safety measures include automated doors to minimize contact with surfaces and sanitizer sprinklers, and she’s also made her classrooms more cheerful and sustainable by including massive windows to capitalize on natural light. Her motto: clean and green.
Finally, Monica Joshi’s student Chinmay created a school that sets the stage for social distancing right from the entrance, with color-coded cement to signify proper social distancing and plenty of signage. We especially like how Chinmay conducts his tour in style. Just look at that outfit!
We’re always impressed by what students create, and seeing all of these learners take such care to ensure safe spaces for one another gives us plenty of hope for the year ahead. With this willingness to work for the good of everyone around them, we’re optimistic that students will overcome this difficult time with energy and empathy.
You can find more Build Challenges to inspire students’ creativity here. If you’re new to Minecraft: Education Edition and want to give it a try with your learners, begin your journey at education.minecraft.net/get-started.
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