learner voice

Leicester In Minecraft! Young People Design New Buildings for their City

James (age 8, Dovelands Primary) Glass pyramid indoor park

James (age 8, Dovelands Primary School) Glass pyramid indoor park

To coincide with our Leicester in Minecraft event, and to celebrate the building work Leicester City Council is carrying out across the city, we invited children and young people between the ages of 6-16 who live or attend school in Leicester to create a building in Minecraft that would make Leicester even better. Entries came flooding in, amazing us with the creativity, ingenuity and thoughtfulness they demonstrated.

A huge thank you to every one who took the time to enter!

The judging panel

The panel looked at the creativity and imagination demonstrated by the entries, as well as technical skill and ability, and the building’s potential to make Leicester even better. The standard of entries was excellent – making the judging an extremely tough job.

Highly commended

James, from Woodland Primary (age 8),  Rufus Avenue Primary School (aged 8) and Abdulrahman, from Kestrels Field Primary School (aged 11) were all highly commended by the judging panel for their amazing creations.

James - glass pyramid indoor park (interior)

James (aged 8, Dovelands Primary School) glass pyramid indoor park (interior)

James writes:

I have chosen to create a massive glass indoor park, made from different coloured glass. There are pools on each side of the pyramid and underneath the floor is a large but shallow pool of water.  My pyramid has two open doorways on each side of the pools so that people can walk in and out easily.  Inside is an open space for anyone to enjoy, there are benches to sit on and sculptures to look at as well as the colourful view of the city. I chose to make this building because it is a very colourful sight and it is free for everyone to use!  It is a very different type of building for Leicester.

Rufus - Treehouse Library

Rufus (age 8, Avenue Primary School) Treehouse tree library

Rufus 2 Tree Library

Rufus (age 8, Avenue Primary School) Treehouse tree library (from below)

Rufus writes:

I have chosen to build a tree library.  It is basically a tree house with a library that has books about trees. I chose this building so children could learn more about trees.  There are lots of trees and parks in Leicester so it would be nice to have somewhere to learn about them.  I thought it would be exciting to make it in a tree house because it’s a library about trees.

Abdulrahman (aged 11, Kestrels Field Primary School) Hotel LOL

Abdulrahman (aged 11, Kestrels Field Primary School) Hotel LOL

Abdulrahman’s entry was Hotel LOL, an “extremely big and luxurious” hotel for homeless people, made with sand, brown wool, glass and oakwood.

Winners

The three winners selected by the judges are Sean from Montrose Primary School (aged 11), Oliver from St Cuthbert’s Primary School (aged 11), and Gurinder from Soar Valley Community College (aged 12).

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building - sweet shop and Korean barbeque seating

Sean (aged 11, Montrose Primary School) Three in One Building – sweet shop and Korean barbecue seating

Sean’s entry particularly impressed the judges with the level of detail and design of both exterior and interior design. The building provides sweets, comics, and Korean barbecue. Sean explained that families don’t all like the same thing, so his building provides something for everyone:

“I chose the look of the building to be different from others since it has a balcony on the second floor and it has windows on the roof. Also it has a water fountain at the front, which is a nice view. I chose this building because it is different, it has something for everyone.”

 

Oliver

Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthbert’s Primary School) Under- and Overground Roller Coaster

Oliver 4

Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthbert’s Primary School) Under- and Overground Roller Coaster – birds-eye view

Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthberts Primary School) Under and Overground Roller Coaster - lava section

Oliver (aged 10, St Cuthbert’s Primary School) Under- and Overground Roller Coaster – lava section

Oliver’s entry was an dramatic under- and overground roller coaster – something currently missing from Leicester. The ride features scenic views of trees, vines, as well as having water and lava features. Oliver writes:

I chose to build a roller coaster for my Minecraft project. I thought about building a tall tower for Leicester so we have a famous land mark but then I wanted to have a bit of fun so I wanted to build something else and a roller coaster came into my head.  It has multiple vertical drops.

I’ve lived in Leicester for all my life. There are a lot of good things in Leicester but there are a few things missing, like some famous land marks. I thought about building a religious as we have lots of unique religions. I then thought about building a tall building like the Empire State building, but then I realised the main thing we were missing was a roller coaster.  I really love roller coasters, but there are no roller coasters in Leicester.

Gurinder (aged 12, Soar Valley Community College)  FUN HUB - crazy golf

Gurinder (aged 12, Soar Valley Community College) FUN HUB – crazy golf

Gurinder’s building was the FUN HUB, a multi-purpose activity centre with floors providing an ice skating rink (with “classes and fun disco nights”) and indoor crazy golf.  Gurinder writes:

This building is the FUN HUB. It is a multi purpose building with lots of fun things to do on every floor. There is a café and ice rink, crazy golf, restaurants with flavours from around the world, a library, terrace area. On the terrace you can sit to relax with a book, or go to the stargazing area in the evenings to look at stars with a cup of hot chocolate from the bar. The FUN HUB would be a cool place to go with friends and family, and I would want to take my relatives that visit Leicester to see the building. There are conference rooms and halls that have different workshops going on like cooking or baking classes, dance and beatboxing workshops and arts and crafts days.

More amazing entries

Eden 1

Eden (aged 10, Buswells Lodge Primary School) Leicester Sky Scraper

Eden’s sky scraper included a basement for “relaxing and looking at art or old items or fossils”, as well as a party room, and “awesome views of the city”.

Issac 1 - KR3 Hotel

Isaac (aged 8, Christ the King Catholic Primary School) King Richard III Hotel

Isaac writes:

I have chosen to create a hotel called ‘The King Richard the Third’ hotel. It has many floors which are all made out of different materials. There is a pub on the side with a swimming pool on the top and a number of rooms have balconies where people can sit outside. Each bedroom has a library and all are child friendly family size rooms. There is also a helicopter pad on the top in case any celebrities want to come and stay here.

Alijawad (aged 12, Soar Valley College) People's Art Gallery

Alijawad (aged 12, Soar Valley College) People’s Art Gallery

 Alijawad created a People’s Art Gallery:

You can give in your art so you won’t just look at art you can also give it in if you would like. This will encourage others to embrace their creativity and imagination.

 

Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport - runway and the control tower

Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport – runway and the control tower

Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport - passengers boarding plane

Jill (aged 6, Dovelands Primary School) Leicester Airport – passengers boarding plane

Jill designed an airport for Leicester, with direct routes to Singapore.

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre

Stan (aged 15, Beauchamp College) Learning Centre – entrance

Stan writes:

I have created a learning centre with many functions such as computer training, engineering and inventing. I have attempted to create a calming environment to learn in using balconies and plant life. It is elevated on a wall and I mainly used dark oak wood, spruce wood and cobblestone for the exterior with lots of flowers.

The entrance “includes hanging chandeliers and an underfloor area with shrubbery and a tree which protrudes up to the staircase.”

Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School

Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School

 

Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School - utilities supply

Thomas (age 11, Leysland High School) Underground School – utilities supply

Thomas’s underground school design made use of solar panels and took into account environmental issues.

 

 

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Leadership Briefings: Student Digital Leaders

The DigiLit Leicester team are currently running a series of briefings for school leaders. The briefings are designed to ensure school leaders are aware of and up to date with current, effective approaches to using technology to support learning, teaching and school community development.

Our second briefing was held in January at the Soar Valley Training Centre. Chris Sharples led the session which focused on school based Student Digital Leaders (SDL) programmes.

Chris defines Student Digital Leaders as “a team of enthusiastic students who work with teachers and students on regular or one-off projects to improve learning with digital technologies.”

SDL initiatives represent a creative and effective approach to supporting learners who are enthusiastic about technologies in playing an active role in school technology development and use. Programmes usually involve one or more students in each class being identified as digital leaders. At Chris’s school, there are 25 SDLs, across years 7 to 10, with a decrease in pupil involvement in year 10 as a result of GCSE commitments. SDLs were recruited from an open, year based call, with all pupils who wanted to be involved joining the group. Other schools have selected participants by interviews. SDLs are then responsible for supporting the school community in their use of technology. This could be through trialling of devices or techniques, making recommendations about the best technologies and apps to use for specific tasks, providing training to peers or staff members, or being able to provide basic technical support in the classroom.

Student Digital Leaders at Chris’s School have been involved with a range of projects this year, including creating resources, developing Open Badges, attending conferences, writing reviews, providing training and leading assemblies.

Chris provided us with a mind map of the kinds of activities SDL were involved with:

Digital Leaders Mind Map

Student Digital Leaders programmes are a great way to give responsibility to learners and a non-confrontational method of embedding enhanced technology use across the whole school.

Key take aways from the briefing were:

  • Student Digital Leaders can be integral to schools responding to the challenges of the new computing curriculum. They can can play an active part in the way that the school designs and delivers learning and teaching around computing.
  • Chris emphasised the importance of a student leadership opportunities in developing a culture of learner engagement. Student leadership provides opportunities for young people to take responsibility for actively supporting their communities and peers, fostering a community expectation that everyone has a contribution to make and will help others if they can. Chris’s school has active sports leadership and Duke of Edinburgh Award programmes for learners as well as a Digital Leaders programme.
  • Student Digital Leadership programmes actively support and promote learner voice – learners contribute to the decision-making process (which tools are best to use, surveying students about preference), provide an opportunity to develop communication skills (training  peers and staff, demonstrating tools, writing about their recommendations, activities and preparing support materials). Chris quoted David Hargreaves as saying “one of the most successful entry points into effecting change and transformation lies in the area of student voice, and the opportunities offered to students to share the leadership and redesign of learning with their teachers.”

Want to find out more? Download the resources sheet Chris produced:

Digital Leaders Briefing (Word)

Digital Leaders Briefing (PDF)

You can find even more resources and links on the Digital Leaders Network blog.

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