Minecraft is educational - really

Outside the curriculum it�"s all fun and games with the staff members, Mr John McLaughlin (ICT Technician), Mr Paul Wade (ICT Network Manager), Mrs Clare Melaugh (Head of ICT), Miss Yvonne Connolly (Teacher of ICT), Miss Heather McGee (Teacher of ICT), Miss Aine King (Senior ICT Technician), Mr Ruairi Dwyer (ICT Technician). DER0315MC079
Outside the curriculum it�"s all fun and games with the staff members, Mr John McLaughlin (ICT Technician), Mr Paul Wade (ICT Network Manager), Mrs Clare Melaugh (Head of ICT), Miss Yvonne Connolly (Teacher of ICT), Miss Heather McGee (Teacher of ICT), Miss Aine King (Senior ICT Technician), Mr Ruairi Dwyer (ICT Technician). DER0315MC079

In a world where adults struggle to keep up with kids when it comes to the latest technology, St Mary’s College have opened up their very own digi-hub

If you’re the parent of a child aged between 10 and 17, chances are you have a vague idea what Minecraft is.

Pupils Who Code: Have you got the secret code to the Digi-Tech Hub? - Mr. Paul Wade, ICT Network Manager pictured with students, Leah Garnon, Orlaith Maxwell, Hollie Harkin, Chloe Waterkemp and Naomi Coyle. DER0315MC078

Pupils Who Code: Have you got the secret code to the Digi-Tech Hub? - Mr. Paul Wade, ICT Network Manager pictured with students, Leah Garnon, Orlaith Maxwell, Hollie Harkin, Chloe Waterkemp and Naomi Coyle. DER0315MC078

It’s the latest craze in the computer world and now a Derry school has decided to take a game that is known for its entertainment value and make it educational.

St Mary’s College in Derry have just opened up their first Digi -Hub to provide an interactive space for students to innovate and create digital media and explore a range of industry leading software outside of the curriculum.

Students will also have the opportunity to explore new innovative hardware such as the Raspberry Pi and XBox.

The hub will develop pupils’ skills in gaming, coding and programming in an inspiring and challenging environment.

The crafting minds of St Marys pupils - Jason Hegarty, Kevin Mellon, Ally Fitzpatrick, Dearbhla Doherty and Kayleigh Ward, with seated in front, Mr John McLaughlin (ICT Technician), Mr Ruairi Dwyer (ICT Technician), Miss Yvonne Connolly (Teacher of ICT), Mrs Clare Melaugh (Head of ICT). DER0315MC077

The crafting minds of St Marys pupils - Jason Hegarty, Kevin Mellon, Ally Fitzpatrick, Dearbhla Doherty and Kayleigh Ward, with seated in front, Mr John McLaughlin (ICT Technician), Mr Ruairi Dwyer (ICT Technician), Miss Yvonne Connolly (Teacher of ICT), Mrs Clare Melaugh (Head of ICT). DER0315MC077

As part of this St Mary’s are one of the few school in Northern Ireland to have the Minecraft Education software installed and available to students. This is a modified version of the game that gives users the creative freedom to adapt the game, add code and modify the game and create their own world and avatars.

Meanwhile the Xbox version allows pupils to understand and explore the concept of Minecraft.

Students can also avail of ‘Unity’ that allows them to create any type of game on a number of platforms.

St Mary’s College also works with the University of Ulster to teach students the basics in Java coding.

The future is App'ening at St Mary's College! - Seated, left to right, Rebecca Doherty, Miss Aine King (Senior ICT Technician), Megan Anderson; and back row, left to right, Miss Heather McGee (Teacher of ICT), Aisling Hegarty, Megan Kelly and Shelby McElwee. DER0315MC076

The future is App'ening at St Mary's College! - Seated, left to right, Rebecca Doherty, Miss Aine King (Senior ICT Technician), Megan Anderson; and back row, left to right, Miss Heather McGee (Teacher of ICT), Aisling Hegarty, Megan Kelly and Shelby McElwee. DER0315MC076

Java is one of the most common coding languages used in industry.

The schools is also using a software package called App Inventor which allows students to create their own Apps.

Students can design, create and publish their own App. Five of the students recently won Ulster’s Mobile App Camp competition in Coleraine,

Students can also use Kodu which focuses more on the creation of the game rather than the concept and will teach students how to use Kodu game labs as well as learn a bit of coding which will beneficial for their future in the computer industry.

This also shows students the process of developing a game and helps develop their team working skills as they overcome the challenges of games development.