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How Minecraft Education is helping students design a greener Croydon

Croydon’s history stretches back centuries – and it has the architecture to prove it. Often synonymous with post-war buildings, Croydon actually has 327 listed buildings, predating the Domesday Records of 1086.

But a new era of design is on the horizon for London’s southernmost borough – and it’s based on a video game.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has teamed up with Minecraft to tackle an exciting challenge for young Londoners. The 2023 Design Future London Schools Challenge invites students to build their future London in Minecraft through a partnership between City Hall, Microsoft’s Minecraft Education and C40 Cities.

Designing a greener Croydon with STEM

Primary, secondary, college and university students are tasked with redesigning Croydon city center to make it a greener, safer and more prosperous place for all. As Chair of C40 Cities, a network of global mayors aiming to tackle the climate crisis with science-based goals, Sadiq Khan aims to put sustainability at the heart of the challenge.

The Mayor even makes his virtual debut as a non-player character (NPC), introducing young Londoners to the game and outlining the challenge: to make lasting changes to a Minecraft version of Croydon town center using his creative design skills.

The mayor and his team as Minecraft characters in front of the town hall.  TExt reads Schools reinventing London
The mayor and his team as Minecraft characters in front of the town hall

Each participating team of students then produces a two-minute video of their Minecraft creations, explaining their vision for a greener Croydon.

So said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan: “Creating a greener, fairer and more prosperous London for generations to come is one of my top priorities. Fulfilling my missions to fight air pollution and achieve net zero carbon by 2030 is a big part of that, so I’m really excited to have help from the voices of tomorrow.”

“It was an honor to be rendered in blocks and to join the Minecraft family to start the Design Future London Schools Challenge for young Londoners. London Minecraft World is a fun and engaging way for young Londoners to think critically about the built environment, collaborate with friends and peers and creatively showcase their vision for the future of the capital.”

“I can’t wait to see the brilliant ideas that come out of this challenge and I wish all participating young Londoners the best of luck with their entries.”

Empowering young people to make a difference

The competition offers young Londoners the opportunity to put science-based thinking behind their designs. To support this, the Greater London Authority is offering all schools across London free access to Minecraft Education.

Minecraft Education is a game-based learning platform set in the Minecraft universe and used by millions of educators and students around the world.

A Minecraft rendering of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in Minecraft

Through creative challenges like Schools Reinventing Cities, thousands of young people engage with real-world issues impacting their communities — and then shape a more inclusive, sustainable future.

“Students from around the world have amazed us with their creativity in designing sustainable solutions for their communities in Minecraft building challenges,” said Allison Matthews, Director of Minecraft Education. “We are thrilled that through this partnership with the Mayor of London and C40, we will be able to connect these ideas directly to the governance of London. The Design Future London challenge will give school students an understanding of how climate change is affecting Croydon, get them thinking about future green careers and show city leaders what kind of city they want to grow up in.”

Clare Barclay, CEO of Microsoft UK, said of the initiative: “I am delighted to be partnering with the Mayor of London and C40 to bring free Minecraft Education licenses to schools across London. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to support the Mayor’s agenda for sustainability and education and to encourage young people to rethink the places they live. I can’t wait to see what the students come up with.”

The deadline for all entries is Tuesday 25th April 2023. To show your interest you can send it using this form. All details about the challenge can be found here.

Tags: education, gaming, london, minecraft, sustainability

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