Building a shared future in Minecraft at Castle Ward

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Downpatrick children playing MinecraftImage source, National Trust
Image caption,
Children from two Downpatrick schools playing Minecraft, a computer game in which players build societies using cubic blocks

Children at two Downpatrick primary schools have been building a shared future, albeit a digital one.

Children from Downpatrick Primary School and St Brigid's Primary School visited Castle Ward on Monday for the launch of a new education programme, Minecraft at Castle Ward.

The cross-curricular project uses the game to encourage children to explore the National Trust-owned property.

Most schools participating in the pilot were supported by Shared Education.

Shared Education supports children in separate schools engaging in joint classes or projects.

The project is the result of a collaboration between the National Trust and iTeach, a Belfast-based education programming development company.

What is Minecraft?

Minecraft is a computer game in which you build things using cubic blocks.

It is a bit like Lego but you never run out of blocks and they never fall over.

Players can walk among their own creations, and play online with other people who are in the same world.

This is the first programme of its kind to feature to a National Trust property and the trust hopes to develop the programme across more of its sites.

National Trust co-ordinator, Geoff Magill, said: "The 18th Century Corn Mill at Castle Ward is being brought to life on Minecraft as schools combine the latest technology with the outdoors.

Image source, National Trust
Image caption,
90% of the pilot Minecraft at Castle Ward project has been funded by the Shared Education programme

"They will learn about the history of the Corn Mill, the engineering aspects and traditional milling processes in an interactive tour which will culminate in pupils actually constructing the building in Minecraft.

"We are also pleased to announce that the programme will be available in conjunction with the Shared Education initiative which enable schools from diverse communities to come together and share the experience.

"The programme is currently in its pilot stage and will be available to schools from September," he added.