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Kids build virtual worlds with math, geology

North Hall Technology Center using video game to entice learning

POSTED: July 22, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Aiming to engage middle and high school students through a popular world-building video game, “Minecraft Extravaganza” will be Thursday at North Hall Technology Center.

The technology center will run various educational modules on its own server for the game between 2-4 p.m. at the technology center at 4175 Nopone Road in Gainesville. Up to 100 people can play together simultaneously and learn skills such math and geography. Although, players may play the non-educational version of the game.

“It has more of an educational spin, but it is still about having fun,” Branch Manager Al List said. “We love to see young people come in and get interested in something.”

The educational modules include guided “missions” requiring math skills to complete and areas inspired by real-world locations to teach geography. Minecraft is a game about building and exploring virtual worlds. Everything in the game is made of textured blocks representing environmental or building materials such as dirt, rock, wood, bricks, grass, water and other things. Each block can be broken apart or placed by the player in order to build structures.

“Anyone who wants to see what Minecraft is about can come,” List said.

The game was a runaway success with more than 11 million copies sold worldwide. Players have used it to create virtual versions of the Parthenon, the Egyptian pyramids, the Empire State Building, the Taj Mahal and even entire cities.

Aside from the extravaganza, any library member can play the game for up to 100 minutes at a time on the center’s computers during regular business hours.

Minecraft learning experiences

Pam Helton of Gainesville talks about how Minecraft teaches her grandsons Landon Ramos, 10, and Kaden Ramos, 11, to work toward future goals and work together. Also, North Hall Technology Center branch manager Al List discusses how Minecraft's themes transfer to daily life.


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