01.11.13

The school where Minecraft is mandatory

No, it's not just a sweet daydream. It's real, and it's in Sweden:

An international competition for city planning inspired instructors at the Viktor Rydberg secondary school to make freeform construction game Minecraft a compulsory part of the curriculum.

About 180 students around 13 years old have begun to play - and work - in Minecraft at Viktor Rydberg. "They learn about city planning, environmental issues, getting things done, and even how to plan for the future," says Monica Ekman, a teacher. Her lessons in the game involve constructing realistic cities, complete with power and water networks. The game's strengths, according to Ekman, are its gender-neutral mechanics and aesthetic, and its focus on slow, gradual construction. "The boys knew a lot about it before we even started, but the girls were happy to create and build something too - it's not any different from arts or woodcraft."

While we're falling all over ourselves to figure out how to get kids to embrace STEM fields and close the STEM gap with the other developed nations, Sweden is all, "let them play videogames and trick them into learning." Parents, take note.