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Minecraft video game set to become staple of Yukon classrooms

Yukon educators have been asking to use the version of Minecraft adapted for education purposes. They're getting their wish.

Yukon educators have been asking to use the version adapted for education purposes

Alyce Johnson, teacher and principal at Kluane Lake School in Yukon, is excited about using Minecraft in her classroom. (Dave Croft/CBC)

The video game Minecraft is one of the tools Yukon teachers can now use in their classrooms.

Microsoft has adapted a version of the game for education purposes. Teachers received training on it last Wednesday and Thursday.

The program could be in use as early as this coming week, said Mike Snider, a technology curriculum consultant with Yukon's education department.
    
Snider said schools have been asking to use Minecraft for several years. The video game is used to create and build things online.

That could include something as small as a human eye or as big as a whole city, he said.

Mike Snider, a technology curriculum consultant with Yukon's education department, says schools have been asking to use Minecraft. (Dave Croft/CBC)

There are no limits, Snider said, and students like it.

"You don't have to tell a kid what Minecraft is," he said.

"You don't have to tell a kid, here's what we're gonna do, and try to get buy in. Kids really enjoy the process, they already know how it works," said Snider.

Alyce Johnson, a teacher and principal at Kluane Lake School said it's exciting for her, in part because it will be exciting for her students.

"This morning I had my grandson, my six year old grandson here, creating worlds with me. And it comes naturally to them. It's their world," said Johnson.

Johnson said she already has a project in mind.

She'd like her students to re-create their upcoming week at muskrat camp after they return to their classroom. The students learn about trapping, fishing, navigation and other on-the-land skills at the camp.

Microsoft Education trainer Mario Asta from Toronto has visited hundreds of communities and school districts across Canada over the past five years. (Dave Croft/CBC)

Microsoft's Mario Asta from Toronto led the training in Whitehorse.

Over the past five years he's visited hundreds of communities and school districts across the country.

"I've been loving every single minute of it," said Asta.

"It's amazing to be inspired by these educators and what they're doing in the classroom and I look forward to taking some of the stories that are coming from today's learning and sharing them with other educators across the country," he said.

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story named Microsoft's trainer as Mario Aster. In fact, his name is Mario Asta.
    Feb 12, 2020 9:05 AM CT

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