A Game For a Double Celebration

MPTX2: A Game for a Double Celebration
by Shalom Nehaisi & Karina Batat

“Have you ever thought you’d come to school to play Minecraft?” The City Mayor, Itzik Braberman, asked the students participating in the MPTX2 game: A game celebrating the country’s 70th anniversary and 140 years of Petah Tikva: History, Geography and Citizenship; Past, Present, and Future occurring together in one Minecraft world.

The Game

MPTX2, Minecraft Petah Tikva X (the country age multiplied by 2, was born out of the idea to celebrate the city’s double celebrations of the Israel 70 Anniversary and Petah Tikva 140 and my acceptance into the Minecraft Global Mentor program. The idea was to run a game between school teams in Petah Tikva. Each team consisted of one or two leaders (teachers) and up to 30 students. Our goal was to connect students with the Israeli /Petah Tikva’s heritage, to promote two main values at the level of education in Petah Tikva: respect and teamwork and to empower students to be involved, creative and active. The game was created in collaboration between Beta School, the Education Department of Petach Tikva Municipality, Pisga (Center of professional development, MoE), Top Edu and Microsoft.

The game has 2 periods: the preparation period and the game period. The Preparation Period included a call to join the project. We recruited 12 schools (elementary and high schools): 300 students and 28 teachers. We led 10 hours of Minecraft training for the leaders (teachers) team. We built a Minecraft Education Edition world for the game.

Parallel and complementary, we created for each school a shared OneNote. The OneNote includes the game objectives, instructions, and resources. In OneNote the teams documented, planned and reflected about each level. In addition, we opened a Facebook page to share the project and its products with the city education community, parents, teachers, principals, and supervisors, but also in Israel and around the world.

The Game period lasted 6 weeks. Each week we met in Skype for one-hour sessions to share good stories, consult and prepare to the next challenge. The game included one mission with 5 levels: The Lobby Challenge, Challenge 1, 2, 3 and 4, each level exposes the teams to a new challenge. For example, the first challenge (1st level) was about the beginning. Each team received a riddle about something related to beginnings. The teams needed to solve the riddle according to the resources we gave them in the shared OneNote and plan how to build it in a specific area we had marked for the team in the Minecraft world (see Lobby & First Challenge pic.) At the 2nd level, the challenge changed to be a collaborative one. All the teams had the same goal-reconstructing the Founder Square. Each team chose what to build from a list we published. They all built in the same area. This time they were no boundary (see Second Challenge pic.). In the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Challenge we deal with local heritage, Petah Tikva and Israel. The participants were encouraged to explore the roots of the city (figures, events, and places) connected to the country heritage. At the 4th and the final Challenge, we will link the local heritage with the Global: SDGs and the teams will be required to build in relation to a better world!

The Technology Challenge

In the technological aspect, we have a great challenge. According to the pedagogical goals of the project, we needed to build one collaborative world, big enough to allow 12 teams to work together in mutual respect and cooperation. We decided to locate the world in an independent server with a specific URL. During the preparation period, the teams received precise instructions in their shared OneNote: how to download Minecraft Education edition and how to connect to the specific server we built.

Everybody is involved

The partners were very excited from the beginning and we knew students loved the game. We were aware, that for teachers who would choose to join, the project will be an interesting challenge. We received incredible feedback from teachers regarding the game and how much it changed their roles as teachers. They continue to thank us for their opportunity to see their student’s strength.

Teachers Quotes:

“Hello everyone, I have been privileged to participate in a very enjoyable and challenging project with my school for the Israel 70s anniversary and the Petah Tikva 140 years. A game on one server, 12 schools from Petah Tikva participate together with missions and challenges on one server”. Tzufit, Teacher from Uzi Hitman School shared about the project in a FB group.

“Our team includes students from 4th-5th and 6th grade. Students with different abilities and it is amazing to see that in the game they are all active and cooperative”. Eti Dor, Gordon School.

What’s Next?

The game ended on March 6. The Closing Event was attended by the Mayor who He congratulated and awarded the prizes to the teams. Of course, that’s just the beginning. In fact, MPTX2 was a pioneer, and we already started to plan our next Minecraft adventure! Stay tuned!!!

Karina Batat is the director of Beta School: the Innovation in Education Lab, MiE Fellow at MEC, Israel Lead Ambassador at Future Classroom Network, ICT Instructor at the Tel Aviv District, Israel Ministry of Education and Digital Technologies Teacher at Gordon Primary School, Petah Tikva and Minecraft Global Mentor.