By: Marianna Azizian
For Armenian Cultural month, middle school students at Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School were encouraged to fuse technology and tradition in the first annual Minecraft competition. There is no denying the fact that the virtual world of online gaming has swiftly become part of the children’s real world. At Pilibos, we encourage innovative ways to further learning therefore we have utilized the power of games. The Minecraft competition and other classroom based games like Class Craft motivate the students to get involved in their education in a stimulating and creative way. In other words, they learn and they have fun doing it. In a hyper-stimulated world, students can thrive at school within a more modern environment as we incorporate online games in education.
Minecraft is an anime game where the purpose is to build structures with cubes and blocks. In this world, the students need protection from zombies, monsters, and other nocturnal creatures. In teams, the students end up recreating their own fantastic imaginations.
Every year for Armenian Cultural month, students in the past used to compete and make physical models of churches to be judged. This year, the middle school faculty decided to incorporate Minecraft. In the 3D environment, the students were thrilled to build with all kinds of different materials and collaborate together online, but without the sticky mess. The assignment dedicated to Armenian Cultural month was to recreate and build the classical Armenian Church, St. Hripsime on Minecraft. One of the challenges students faced was learning how to create the traditional Armenian dome of the church using only cubes and square blocks. Interestingly, the Armenian word for square is “qorhanart”, which also is the root word for “qoran”, meaning church altar. In a way, building Armenian churches on Minecraft already had some connection, at least in the Armenian language. The students went as far as to incorporate sensory details in the interior of the churches. One team had a rotating bible turning pages on the altar. Another team’s creativity incorporate zombies by the Armenian church, which showed that the students were not afraid to create, improvise, and think outside the block, so to speak.
The Minecraft competition judging was based on accuracy and creativity. On Novemeber 25, Dr. Dorian, Nancy Zorlu, and Talin Gureghian Hall judged and picked the winning team. All students were recognized for their efforts. Marco Antonyan and Andy Marachelian from 7th grade won first place in the first annual Minecraft competition. All students did exceptionally well and it was a great opportunity for us to be part of their creative world.