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Minecraft Builder Bowl Kicks Off; Aims to Teach Benefits of Immersive Tech

Immersive Education Initiative's Minecraft Builder Bowl kicked off this month to early success. The tournament seeks to use the virtual building game Minecraft to highlight the importance of immersive learning in a competitive summer series that is being called the first of its kind.

"The initial elimination rounds of this bracketed competition are underway now. Small teams of students are using Minecraft to build 'immersive experiences, content, and applications,' the Web site says. The championship rounds are scheduled to take place during the Immersion 2015 conference in Paris in September," said TheJournal.com.

For those unfamiliar, iED is a consortium of colleges, universities and other organizations dedicated to providing students with the benefits of immersive technology and has been using Minecraft in its endeavors for two years.

The Builder Bowl series is slated to be an annual competition and is being launched with Minecraft initially because many students and schools are already familiar with the platform, proving the scope of the game's educational usage. In the future, the Builder Bowl will include "traditional virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and all forms of immersion tech," said Aaron E. Walsh, iED's founding director to TheJournal.com.

"Walsh, who is also on the faculty at Boston College, is credited with coining the term 'immersive learning.' His definition of immersive technologies includes VR, AR, simulations, video games and full-body immersive environments such as caves and domes — even 3D printing and robotics," the article said.

The Builder Bowl competition is open to not only members of the iED, but to any student of any age who would like to participate. The competition currently has a wide-range of K-12 and higher ed participants and all competitors will be judged by skill, not age.

"'There are a lot of immersive education tools out there that allow you to build three-dimensional immersive content...But Minecraft is, hands down, the easiest. It has built in gameplay mechanics; it's fun, and kids love it,'" Walsh said, according to TheJournal.com.

Winning entries from the competition will be made available for teachers to refer to in their classrooms.

Read more here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/01/2015

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