November 7, 2019 | accessibility, Flexible Learning, UK Education
This post comes to us from Evelina Hospital School in London. Their team is using Minecraft: Education Edition to teach students in treatment at Evelina London Children’s hospital. Read their inspiring story about using Minecraft to facilitate learning under challenging circumstances.
Evelina Hospital School is a hospital community school with the UK’s Department for Education that educates young people who are patients of the Evelina London Children’s Hospital. The school was established in 1949, and they’re celebrating their 70th Birthday this year! Located on the South Bank of the Thames river, the hospital is directly opposite the British Parliament.
Over the academic year, Evelina typically teaches 1,500–1,800 different pupils who are unable to attend their home schools because of their medical needs. Their students are taught in classrooms based in the hospital’s atrium, or even at their bedsides in the ward. The school aims to minimize the disruption to young people’s education caused by hospital treatment so that academic progress and an interest in learning will continue as far as medical circumstances permit.
The pupils at Evelina attend for a wide variety of reasons. As a school, they need to offer an enriching educational experience, facilitating learning and continuity in education while meeting the challenges present during a hospital stay. They offer bespoke lessons for each pupil and often seek to find a highly motivated activity to help the students with that initial engagement. The teachers at Evelina discovered that Minecraft: Education Edition was a common theme when discussing student interests. It was a great leveler across wide-ranging needs and age groups, affording accessibility while nurturing opportunities for peer learning. What they see with Minecraft: Education Edition is energy, enthusiasm, and excitement for learning.
Minecraft naturally evolved out of a desire for pupil-led learning and educational experiences. When the opportunity arose for Evelina Hospital School to apply to be Minecraft Champions, it was a golden opportunity to promote educational Minecraft within the hospital school. They were lucky to have Marquel, a staff member who has a background in multimedia and a great deal of experience with Minecraft itself, in addition to Benjamin Neasom, the lead teacher. Both became Minecraft Champions.
Marquel was able to take the lead on the project, and the results have been phenomenal, with a full replica of the hospital produced through pupil input. This replica has been further adapted into a virtual learning environment. As a result, students readily connect and identify with the context where the teachers set their challenges.
Evelina Hospital School provided laptops to pupils across the hospital, allowing multiple participants within a Minecraft session. Now, pupils in the primary classroom can interact directly within Minecraft with those in the dialysis ward. This connectivity is particularly useful in a hospital setting, where learners are often not able to be present in the same room but benefit from peer interaction within a safe virtual space.
For the staff who are new to Minecraft: Education Edition, Marquel is offering one-to-one drop-in and group training sessions to help them get started and deliver Minecraft across their settings.
Any achievement is on a strictly individual basis since pupils are often dealing with a complex set of medical circumstances. Achievement could be as simple as engaging with the session. Evelina Hospital School encourages participation and peer work wherever possible. Achievement is recorded through Evelina’s own organization-specific Management Information System, based on teacher observation and demonstrated through finished challenges or the creation of Minecraft content.
Many of the incredible students at the hospital school have been inspired to think about the jobs of the future—jobs that might not even exist yet! Minecraft has expanded the horizons of students who are overcoming complex problems and has encouraged the building of self-esteem, inspiring creative thinking to prepare them for the challenges of the future.
To learn more about how Minecraft: Education Edition can inspire students in any setting, head to education.minecraft.net.
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