Minecraft: Creative Crew

Minecraft: Creative Crew

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Description: 
A program designed for children 9-12 years old. We have Minecraft installed on several computers and laptops, and children get together once a week for collaborative play.
Frequency: 
Weekly
Length of program session: 
60-120 minutes
Presenter(s): 
Valerie Moss
Audience
Primary Audience: 
Intermediate (Gr. 4-7 or aged 9-12)
Resources
Resources required (materials/supplies; food/refreshments, etc.): 
We supply the computers and laptops for game play, as well as 11 individual Minecraft licenses.
Funding (grants/foundations/corporations): 
United Way of Northern British Columbia
Budget for this program: 
$300
Evaluation
What were the goals/objectives of your program?: 
1) Increase positive interactions with and opinions of the library by local youth. 2) Increase use of our collections, services and space by local youth. 3) Increase the kids' soft skills, including socialization, confidence, creativity, independence, and teamwork. 4) Increase STEM-related skills such as spatial reasoning, leading to improved academic performance. 5) Provide a program for an underserved demographic in our community. 6) Provide opportunities for underprivileged children, particularly those without access to computers or Minecraft at home, to participate in gaming and interaction with their peers.
Feedback from Participants: 
The children love it. They often come early and hang around after the program ends so that they can play a little longer. I often have kids coming in on other days to ask if they can play. Parents and teachers like the game because it promotes imaginative play and teamwork. The participants, particularly the boys, are spending much more time in the library than before the program and are
Highlights - what worked well?: 
The children work very well together. There is a lot of laughter, and the computer lab can get quite loud, but it's all in good fun. When newcomers join in, the more experienced Minecraft players love to help them learn the game. We have a couple of teen volunteers who run an online server and facilitate the program. We bought refurbished laptops from ReUse Tech BC. While we offer a creative-mode focus and a no-griefing policy, we have set aside a "PvP pit" inside the game where players can choose to battle each other. Although children as young as five are excited to play, older youth (we serve 9 -13 yo) are more independent and emotionally able to handle the game - required less supervision.
What would you change about this program?: 
When we have more children than computers, we have to rotate turns. We currently determine who has been on the longest and ask them to give up a spot for a while. In future, since they don't all arrive at the same time, we may have them take numbers and then ask them to take turns accordingly. We'd also like to host a local server to reduce our dependency on our teen volunteers' availability and our occasionally spotty internet connection.