Who am I? Where do I come from? Where do I fit in? Challenging questions that even the most self-assured adults struggle with at times. Over the last five years, we've been trying to help the people of Scotland develop a sense of identity and belonging through knowledge of their history and heritage.
For the last five years, we've been creating Minecraft experiences that allow players to explore some of Scotland's historical sites and their stories. These projects now have their own collective website: http://craftingthepast.co.uk Here you can find a complete recreation of the country in Minecraft as well as a series of detailed resources including St Kilda, Perth Castle, Moredun Fort and more.
Our heritage Minecraft maps, provide an opportunity for learners to walk in the shoes of those who have gone before, and learn how the events that unfolded and the decisions that were made undoubtedly led to the world that they experience today. It targets a commonly reported issue that children have with learning about the past – the idea that what occurred happened to other people, in other places, and too long ago to fully relate to. The connection between global historic events and their home, their family, and their life is too difficult to grasp. In order to address this, we utilise the powerful digital visualisation tools provided by #Minecraft to bridge this conceptual divide. We ask the deeper question:
‘How does your local area, it’s landscape and heritage shape your identity?’
An embedded strand in social studies curricula around the world, this important question – if explored fully, can help learners develop a deeper connection to their place, not just here in this locale, but in this time, and as part of this community. In beginning to explore the answers to this question, young people, begin to define themselves within the wider context of their community. In short, it can promote the growth of embryonic roots, the same kind of roots that over time create a sense of belonging and stability, ‘family roots’, ‘community roots’ and so on. This cornerstone of the social studies curriculum, if developed through to its natural end point, can help form the basis of a sense of identity and belonging.
Our history and heritage game-based learning resources are designed to pave the way for #Literacy and Storytelling, #Collaboration, #ProblemSolving #Creativity #Numeracy, #DigitalSkills and #Engineering, not to mention the more obvious connections to #History, #Geography and #PoliticalScience. We’ve also been using the learning resources to tap into the rich learning opportunities associated with Sustainable Development Goals and the #TeachSDGs campaign.
With this range of learning opportunities, as well as the possibilities for intergenerational connection, and community cohesion, and with its great potential to nurture a sense of belonging among young people, it is our great pleasure to begin work on the stories of the very town our director, Stephen Reid was born in. Inverkeithing, population 5000, sits on the North coast of the river Forth, overlooking the city of Edinburgh on the South. Despite its size it is steeped in history both bright and dark. Without giving too much away about the forthcoming project, we will be using Minecraft to help learners uncover the mysteries of why so many women were condemned as witches in the small town. What happened when Oliver Cromwell stopped by on his way to do battle in Edinburgh, and what pirates found in the town that was worth docking their ships for!
We are proud to be partnering with the primary cluster schools in the area to bring this project to the local children, headed by Inverkeithing and Donibristle primary. Stephen himself was a pupil at Inverkeithing Primary.
Check out CraftingThePast for more information and our existing resources.