Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun

PUBLISHED: 16:12 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 28 March 2019

Wisbech art teacher John Birch (pictured) transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

Wisbech art teacher John Birch (pictured) transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: HARRY RUTTER

HARRY RUTTER

A talented arts teacher at Thomas Clarkson Academy has created a Minecraft version of the school to transport students to virtual lessons.

The two-year project was a “labour of love” for John Birch who has designed the package to make learning fun for children who struggle to be in the classroom.

The Minecraft school has five lessons including maths and art with equations, algebra, painting and real Thomas Clarkson Academy teachers.

Mr Birch, who has worked at the school for more than three years, said: “I had an interest in Minecraft for many years and I was intrigued with the possibilities of it.

“It dawned on me that we could actually use it as a tool to access lessons.

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

“It was really important to me that pupils recognise it as their school, so I even put cars in the car park and made it so that the photocopier gave out paper.

“There are more than 30 members of staff too.”

Students who may not know how to play Minecraft can take a tour of the school first taking on easy commands to have a look around.

Once they have mastered the basics, they can submit work from their lessons and take a ‘selfie’ before progressing to the next room.

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

Five students have tested it out so far and the feedback has been positive.

Mr Birch hopes the programme will be rolled out in the school in the coming weeks and more lessons added.

“I wanted to make something that used what’s on the curriculum and my own knowledge and love of learning,” he said.

“So I thought why not bring them both together and learn and play.

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

“It feels safer as there is a virtual world for them to be in.

“Some students struggle with the classroom and lessons and if you say ‘would you prefer Minecraft or maths?’ then usually the answer is Minecraft.

“But now it’s refreshing to see students run to maths lessons.

He added: “It was a labour of love but something I’ve really been passionate about.”

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.Wisbech art teacher transforms Thomas Clarkson Academy into Minecraft school to make learning fun. Picture: JOHN BIRCH.

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