There is a small village on the outskirts of a mountainous region, perched on a plateau overlooking the sea. It sits in the shadow of a great castle adorned with great towers, fortified walls, and topped with a roof made entirely of blocks of pure diamond. SpringHaven, as the locals call it, is a quaint village in a vast, largely unexplored world. Shopkeepers and an ever-patrolling lad named Drakia, add to the activity and bustle, but real life is breathed into this town, and the surrounding regions, when the world’s architects are there. I’m talking about the learners who are actively creating and building this living, breathing virtual world in Minecraft. I merely provided them with the canvas, but they are the true artists who are making this year’s newly re-designed survival server come alive.
This year, we’ve re-launched our district’s survival Minecraft server with an emphasis on building community among our student-players. If the first few weeks is any indication, they have embraced that call. They designed our starting area, the town of SpringHaven, the great Diamond Castle that overshadows it, and are working to create a unique world, all their own. Another goal of this year’s project is to increasingly hand over the leadership and ownership of this community to the learners. We’ve instituted a challenge/rank system, offering players the ability to “level up” by actively contributing to the design of the world and participating in the community-building projects and contests that we will be rolling out. We’ve also incorporating some exciting new plugins, including MCMMO which allows players to level up skills like Mining and Archery.
Just last night, we just launched our first event, a community build (a collaborative, server-wide building project), called “The Town of Deadwood!” In the spirit of the Halloween season, players are invited to build a deserted, and haunted town, each choosing a different component to be responsible for, and working to add it to the town’s deserted streets. By participating, they earn community participation points and can advance their “status” on the server as a contributor. Want to see our event flyer? You can find it here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16Ry36DMAIarAKirE-3UECM6tCmDfubZ6s9Seu8r-iPk/edit.
I’m thrilled at the level of engagement and ownership I’ve seen so far. I can’t wait to see what’s next!