Young digital leaders were invited to Microsoft HQ after impressing bosses with their New Milton in Minecraft Project.
Fifteen youngsters, who are carefully crafting the town’s post World War II history by re-creating streets and buildings using the popular computer game, were invited to present their project to Microsoft representatives at their Reading HQ.
This project is being funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by Hampshire Cultural Trust and Forest Arts Centre.
The Block 2 Block: New Milton in Minecraft project is a virtual museum that will be filled with interviews, oral history, short films, photos, original songs and music. All created and curated by groups of young people from across the town.
After a tour of the Microsoft building, students presented their contemporary museum with use of illustrated visuals from their Minecraft map.
They explained their role in creating New Milton in Minecraft, what they had learned from the project and answered questions from Microsoft staff.
Nigel Pressnell, Headteacher at The Arnewood School said, “This project is a wonderful fusion of technology, history, creativity and teamwork.
“I am delighted that students are working together on such an important community project and I am grateful to partners at Microsoft, and Forest Arts for working alongside our children and Miss Milligan to deliver such an interesting challenge.
“The student’s energy and enthusiasm is a real credit to the school and I am fascinated to see how their learning has been inspired through programming and gaming architecture.”
On the day students also took part in a three-way Skype conversation with Minecraft specialists in Yorkshire and the USA, where they were able to share their project, answer questions and receive useful tips and advice.
Later they took part in a coding and programming training session with a facilitator using Minecraft Education.
Darren Smith, Year 9 student at The Arnewood School said, “Our trip to Microsoft was a great experience and something I will always remember.
“The best part was the Xbox room and being able to present our Minecraft map of New Milton to the Microsoft team. They were amazed by our hard work and commitment. Thank you for a very enjoyable trip”
Julia Bishop, Device Marketing Lead UK at Microsoft said, “The Arnewood School visit made everyone in Microsoft feel energised, as we experienced the excitement of the students visiting our offices.
“Their enthusiasm to be at Microsoft was infectious and we were incredibly impressed with their ability to articulate their project and their Minecraft programming prowess”
“It was fascinating to hear how they have combined local history and filmmaking into Minecraft, and how this project has inspired many of them to think of a career in technology.”
The project has brought together the diverse talents of young musicians from Coda, skateboarders, filmmakers, songwriters, actors, Minecraft devotees and historians to create this innovative project.
Helen Farquharson, Minecraft Project Manager said, “Thank you so much for a fantastic time at Microsoft. The students were bowled over by your reception, your interest in the project and the time you gave them.
“The ICT staff at Arnewood came away inspired with new ideas to integrate Minecraft Education into school.
“I expect this experience will ripple in their lives for some time to come.”
The Block2Block: New Milton in Minecraft website will be launched at the Celebration Day at Forest Arts Centre from 2-5pm on Saturday 14th July 2018 with an exhibition, live music, film screenings and a special performance by EPIC theatre group.