A group of Bribie Island State School students has won a national award after creating a Minecraft world showcasing the island’s First Nations cultural heritage.
The students won the Best Minecraft World (Foundation to Year 6) in the Indigital Minecraft Education Challenge, which asked entrants to create a world under the NAIDOC theme “How can we ‘Heal Country: Side by Side,’ and build more sustainable communities by embracing First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country?”.
Students worked together to build a present-day representation of local Country, alongside another representation of the area in the future, sharing their ideas in their Minecraft worlds while learning about local Indigenous history and culture.
Teacher Lisa Anici says the school entered the challenge by chance.
“I run the school’s Solid Pathways Program, which is an extension program for Indigenous children,” Lisa explains.
“I mentioned the Indigital competition to the students in passing and they were so excited – but I had never played Minecraft.”
But thanks to the support of the Indigital team, Lisa and her enthusiastic Bribie students soon found themselves immersed in learning more about Bribie’s First Nations heritage and translating that into a Minecraft world.
"It’s all about learning about Indigenous places of significance in the area and rebuilding our world in Minecraft.”
Gubbi Gubbi elder Auntie Christine delivered an ochre workshop for Year 4 pupils involved in the challenge, Lisa says.
“They asked her about language and stories and whether they were true and they discovered a lot of things weren’t culturally accurate.”
Bribie Island State School's Minecraft Emu
Bribie Island State School's Minecraft Ibis
With the students leading the Minecraft build, Lisa facilitated research and video recording to enable the team to deliver a fly-through of the worlds they created.
“There’s a traditional fish trap at Sandstone Point that you can see at low tide and the students learnt that the traditional owners only caught what they needed.
“We learnt about sustainable practices and how we can take that into the future.”
Nine students were involved in the project, with a mix of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children spanning years four and five.
“It really brought them together – some were good with coding and some were really good with design.”
Bribie Island was one of 160 schools registered for the national challenge.
The nine students were rewarded for their efforts with a limited-edition Xbox console and four controllers - wrapped in this year’s National NAIDOC poster artwork created by Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas - which was presented to them on Friday by Indigital Queensland regional facilitator Thiwi Rowlands.
“What Bribie Island State School did was just amazing because the island still has a lot of their sacred sites intact,” Thiwi says.
“For the kids to be able to look at these and see the culture and take it to the next level was fantastic.”
Artist BJ Murphy took out the coveted prize on his first entry. Now he is encouraging others to submit their favourite pieces. Find out more here …