Minecraft link to educate new players on net zero transition

Minecraft link to educate new players on net zero transition

“Any kind of educational topic can be created using Minecraft, from turning your local town into a sustainable city to educating kids about climate change, energy transition, hydrogen and water efficiency – the possibilities are endless,” he says. the CEO of Skewb Climate, Ruta Blazeviciute. Utility Week Innovate.

A study of 5,000 UK children aged 11-16 by the National Literacy Trust (NLT) and the UK Association for Interactive Entertainment (UKIE) in 2020 similarly noted the ability of video games to drive educational buttons, creative and social.

More than a third of respondents (35%), for example, said that games made them better readers, while 63% write content related to video games and 76% discuss topics encountered while playing games with others.

Insights like this are the building blocks that Skewb Climate has loaded onto Minecraft, a sandbox-style video game in which players explore virtually endless 3D terrain to discover raw materials and build structures, with educational content on climate change and decarbonization.

So far, this has ranged from flying like a raindrop through the water cycle to absorbing new behaviors and reducing consumption to discovering the dangers of carbon monoxide exposure.

“There is evidence that clearly shows that the delivery of environmental education to children trickles down to adults when they interact with them at home,” says Blazeviciute. “This transfer of knowledge from child to adult has been shown to positively influence behaviors,”

Accelerating climate and social action

A digital education arm of water, gas and electricity technology company Skewb, Skewb Climate is currently in the early stages of collaborating with utilities to further target schools in ‘hard-to-reach’ communities and empower youth to combat challenges like energy poverty, water efficiency, and gas safety through personalized content.

Already working with three major utility clients, including Affinity Water and Cadent, with whom it has broken down the challenge of reducing carbon monoxide risk in communities into Minecraft-shaped blocks, Skewb Climate has so far gamified education around to energy efficiency, management of water demand and social. awareness.

“Our purpose is to accelerate climate and social action through digital education,” adds Blazeviciute. “We are passionate about the creative process of developing bespoke gaming products by working with utility customers in their focus on being a force for good in the communities in which they operate.”

Currently in a testing phase, with schools or parents able to book a teacher trained in Minecraft modules through Skewb Climate or a partner utility, lessons are delivered virtually or via Skewb-provided laptops for schools that otherwise they wouldn’t have the equipment to create content. accessible can participate.

With months of summer school camps, a community launch, and formalized education starting in September in the works, Blazeviciute aims to take advantage of Minecraft, which, according to Statista, sold in the region 200 million copies last year and is the most-app paid game downloaded from the Google Play store – to reach at least 10% of Skewb Climate’s UK target market of around 11 million households in the next six months. Long-term goals are to engage five million households by March 2023.

Derivative solutions

Working with Three Cubes, a Lithuanian-based developer of educational content, Skewb Climate has produced its own “Minecraft world”, made up of a steering group of children between the ages of five and 15 who have helped design and test new products. where lessons are held.

“To date, we have included nearly 100 children in the span of four months and have been amazed at the quality of the improvements and suggestions, so please plan to use our children’s panel more widely as we develop new products and services,” he explains. Blazeviciute.

This emerging range of digital educational products has also opened up a new supplier market for developers who have not traditionally worked in the water and utilities sector, and in turn introduced the sector to gamification, digital education and other new technologies. innovation areas.

“This also importantly stimulated the thinking of our clients in the water and utilities sector and channeled their creativity and passion for climate action and sustainable performance,” adds Blazeviciute. “The use of gaming technology has also generated a wealth of brainstorming for new solutions for our customers in their core activities, including training and development, onboarding and recruitment. The use cases are endless.

While these early developments have focused on working directly with utilities, the company has found itself increasingly engaged with other parts of the industry ecosystem, from construction and operational service providers and technology partners to services increasingly direct to schools.

“We see this as part of the broader ‘digital skills transition’, to support skills development as part of the ‘levelling’ agenda, to this end we have started to extend our reach to schools, but also with housing. and social housing. providers, to engage more broadly with local communities, this includes cross-collaboration with multiple utilities to drive integrated multi-channel engagement.”

Leveraging educational technology

While Skewb Climate’s approach is still relatively new both within the utility sector and more broadly, Blazeviciute describes it as part of a fast-growing education technology industry, energizing what she describes as “static ” which does not yet comprehensively cover climate challenges.

“Our approach is based on a growing recognition that educational games can stimulate children’s and young people’s interest in topics that might otherwise seem elusive,” he says. “This builds further on growing evidence about the role digital products play in education, both for children and adults, overcoming some of the barriers to traditional learning methods.

“Children and young people are naturally creative, curious and love game-based learning,” adds Blazeviciute. “Creating interactive games with teachers facilitating with the game, much of it self-directed experiential learning, is very powerful.”

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