In a collaborative effort, Kwikwetlem First Nation, School District 43 (SD43) Indigenous Education, in Coquitlam BC, and SD43 STEAM, with support from Microsoft Canada, have introduced the Minecraft Education Pacific Northwest Coast Experience. Students will now be able to explore an immersive, virtual world within Minecraft Education that simulates cultural and traditional experiences of the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest, seamlessly blending educational goals in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).
Immersive Learning Scenarios with Minecraft Education
In a global first, the Minecraft Education Pacific Northwest Coast Experience combines STEAM education with Pacific Northwest Coast culture and Indigenous learning in a gaming environment. Possibilities are sparking imagination in students and teachers. Venturing into this virtual world, students time-travel to a coastal community preparing for winter. They gather cedar bark, planks, and salmon from gillnets, ensuring sustainable harvesting of natural resources. Additionally, collecting salmonberries and maintaining camas fields are vital roles within the village for its continued prosperity. Elders and knowledge keepers impart crucial skills to students. Having learned these skills, students may choose to construct a new sustainable village along the coast.
To facilitate integration into the curriculum, teachers are supported with the Pacific Northwest Experience website that includes teaching guides, technical guides, and videos.
The initiative signifies a unique blend of STEAM education with a focus on the cultural nuances and Indigenous learning methods of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The project has already generated considerable interest, with educators and students anticipating the potential impact of this innovative learning experience.
SD43’s Educational Vision
SD43 Superintendent/CEO Patricia Gartland underscores the district’s commitment to incorporating Indigenous principles and STEAM across the curriculum. She notes, “Exploring a Minecraft world while actively participating in activities like hunting, fishing, and building within an immersive virtual Pacific Northwest Indigenous community is a fantastic way to learn through ‘doing.’ Gaming significantly enhances student engagement in learning.”
Pride in Collaborative Innovation to Boost Student Engagement in Learning
Michael Thomas, SD43 Board of Education Chair, expresses pride in the collaborative effort with Kwikwetlem First Nation and Microsoft. “Together, we’ve built a truly fun and creative learning tool that educates young people about the rich culture and traditions of Coastal First Nations. Our gratitude extends to our Indigenous Education and SD43 STEAM teachers for their dedication to this project.” The collaboration reflects SD43’s commitment to remaining at the forefront of educational innovation.
Global Reach and Inclusivity
The Pacific Northwest Coast Experience goes beyond local classrooms, aiming to reach educators globally. Collaborators share this immersive tool worldwide, offering students a unique perspective on Pacific Northwest Peoples and fostering cultural understanding.
The Minecraft Education Pacific Northwest Coast Experience is an innovative educational approach, emphasizing collaboration, cultural understanding, and technology integration. In the evolving educational landscape, initiatives like this contribute to a more inclusive and engaging global learning experience for students.
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