Prodigy Learning in association with Microsoft Ireland and Belfast Met College today have launched an initiative to deliver skills in utilising the popular Minecraft: Education Edition platform in primary education to 150 primary school teachers across Northern Ireland during the academic year 2017/18.
Microsoft have recently released Minecraft: Education Edition (Minecraft: EE), a customised Minecraft environment with powerful features for using Minecraft in the classroom to provide an immersive engaging experience for learning.
Prodigy Learning will be providing a number of 1 day in-person events held throughout Northern Ireland in December 2017 & March 2018 to introduce primary school educators to the Minecraft:EE platform and give them the basic skills and knowledge to implement Minecraft:EE within the classroom. The in-person events will be delivered by a local Minecraft Certified Trainer and will enable the attendees to engage with their students in the Minecraft:EE environment and enable them to utilise Minecraft:EE to deliver topics from various subject areas of the curriculum.
Speaking at the launch Kevin Marshall (Head of Education, Microsoft Ireland) said: “Microsoft Ireland is committed to supporting the education sector through a variety of Microsoft technologies and education experiences. We are very excited about our upcoming STEM tour to work with teachers using Minecraft and understand how it can play a role in classrooms. Minecraft Education Edition encourages computational thinking, with great potential to provide a new approach to student engagement within the classroom learning environment.”
Belfast Met’s extensive experience in the education sector and links with the primary education sector via its CoderDojo Belfast initiative are playing a key role in the delivery of the project. The Bring IT On initiative, run by Belfast Met, are also providing support to the events.
Jonathan Heggarty (Director of Curriculum, Belfast Met College) commented “We are delighted to be involved with this initiative. Belfast Met has a strong history of working with educators to provide skills in innovative technology and encouraging coding from a young age in its CoderDojo programme. Minecraft is a powerful and exciting platform for educators which can transform the learning experience. This initiative with our long-standing partners Prodigy Learning and Microsoft Ireland is an exciting opportunity to engage the students and staff in the NI education sector.”
The events are FREE and open to all Northern Ireland primary school educators. The first set events will take place during the week of December 4, 2017 in Belfast, Antrim, Omagh, Portadown and Dundonald with a further week of events to take place in March 2018 in locations to be announced.
Upon completion of the 10 events all attendees will be invited to a Minecraft: Education Edition Summit in Belfast Met College where attendees will have the opportunity to learn from educators who are already using Minecraft:EE in the curriculum, learn how to use block-based coding in Minecraft:EE as an introduction to coding and network with their peers.
Billy Breen (Country Manager – Ireland, Prodigy Learning) noted: “Prodigy Learning in association with Microsoft Ireland and Belfast Met are delighted to be supporting the STEM tour for teacher professional development in Minecraft:EE. The demand for these events highlights the importance of STEM education in schools and the commitment of teachers to encourage digital skills in the classroom, which we are proud to support.“
Image: (L-R) Dr Kevin Marshall (Head of Education, Microsoft Ireland), Damien Duffy (Director of Development, Belfast Metropolitan College), Billy Breen (Country Manager – Ireland, Prodigy Learning)