Anyone who has visited Drumbrae Library recently may have noticed that everyone seems to see the world in 8-bit. The phenomenon that is Minecraft has taken the library by storm.
So what it is Minecraft? Basically it is a sandbox type of game. Imagine a world made out of small square blocks similar to Lego. It can be played like a survival game where the player must collect and mine resources in order to build things and survive.
There is also a creative mode: and this is where things really get interesting. In this mode the world of Minecraft is completely open to you and you can build whatever you like using the blocks that are available in the game. There are enthusiasts out there who have built everything from Lord of the Rings fantasy worlds to rollercoasters. There are even a number of 8-bit libraries out there
Recognising that it was something that a lot of young people were already talking about Matt Ferguson, Team Leader at Drumbrae Library, has been using Minecraft in innovative ways to engage with young people.
“Im interested in how we can advocate games in libraries and use them as a tool of engagement. As it is about creating things and they were already talking about it, we were keen to tap into that.
We took it further by incorporating it into activities we were doing with Comic Life and in video production. They would make short videos explaining what mine craft is and why they enjoy it. In doing this they had to plan how the films would be, they’d write up questions and create a structure. In doing all this they are developing their communication and literacy skills. Maybe they become more engaged now that it’s based around something they enjoy.”
Matt points out that the success has led to a continuing demand and the group is expanding and as more and more kids sign up. Reece Crosby, one of the participants, has been taking part for around a year. He tells us: “It’s pretty sociable game and you can hang out and chat with your friends in a good environment as you play the game. We’ve been making a little movie within the game about an adventurer who goes into a temple and is confronted by zombies. The game is very creative, we all make our own skins, play separate parts and also perform the dialogue. We’ve been learning about Minecraft and computers but it’s also been good for learning to write scripts and working together.”