With Minecraft and Creatubbles, kids share jobs with peers around the world

Minecraft allows you to create virtual worlds, Creatubbles is the social where children share their works of art. From their intersection a beautiful project of sharing and learning was born.

On April 15, the IVA class of the Comprehensive Institute of Tolfa in Allumiere will inaugurate an "international gallery of art and creativity". An ambitious project that will connect the children of Lazio to other "companions" in Japan and other parts of the world. Such as? Thanks to Minecraft and Creatubbles, a Japanese startup that has created a social network for children that allows you to securely share, in digital format, their artifacts and creations, such as those that are realized thanks to Minecraft. I have already spoken about the many didactic applications of Minecraft: but thanks to the integration with Creatubbles, this tool can really be a way to unleash the creativity of our kids. But let's start from the beginning.

The meeting at EDU Day

December 1, 2015, Microsoft EDU Day: I am in Rome to talk about the didactic experience introduced with the "teachers 3.0" to use the world's best-selling PC game inside the school. For example, the civilizations of the great rivers have been introduced, and some have found it interesting to independently build a small zqqurat, a great pyramid or the eighth gate of Babylon, the Ishtar gate. Taking advantage of the concept of simulated reality, we have chosen to use Minecraft to "lead" the whole class in a 360 ° immersive lesson in the city of Babylon, to visit its marvelous hanging gardens, and interact with King Hammurabi. During Microsoft Edu Day we were approached by the founders of a Japanese startup that tells us about their experience in the field of creativity and tinkering: we immediately understand that it is the missing link they were looking for. In fact, two years ago we had already successfully introduced issues related to experimentation with tinkering to fuel interest in STEM activities by mixing old technologies with new technologies. The startup in question is' Creatubbles, a social network for children that allows in extreme security to share, in digital format, their artifacts and creations.

The startup Creatubbles

It is a social network whose goal is to highlight the creativity of children all over the world and to do so has some rules in line with the most important international regulations for the safety of children online: only original creations are allowed, all images or videos that represent other subjects, selfies, or any kind of image that can in any way reveal the identity of the children is blocked before publication. For children's accounts, connected and managed by at least one adult, it is possible to associate only one nickname and not one's real name; all the textual contents, before being published, are initially subjected to an automatic check to block inadequate words and then awaiting approval directly from the adult who manages the children's accounts; all uploaded files are subject to careful review and must be approved by the Creatubbles team before they are publicly visible.

Minecraft as a creative moment

At one point in Creatubbles they realized that among the realizations that the kids were sharing, screenshots of Minecraft worlds began to appear. This is the reasoning: "I created a digital artifact in my Minecraft world, I like it, I spent a lot of time with it, and I want to share it with other guys". Each screenshot is distinguished by the date and time of implementation and must be searched within a specific sub-directory of the Minecraft client.

From the physical to the virtual world

Why not create a personalization (the famous mod) Minecraft to allow the identification of the screenshot and interface directly with the social network Creatubbles without leaving the famous game in pixelated cubes? No sooner said than done. Why not create the return phase, that is, from the social network to the Minecraft world? This is the logical path: the guys physically create something interesting and upload the image in the form of a digital photo on the site Creatubbles. Then they have the ability to customize the inside of their Minecraft world with that same creation. From the virtual to the physical and from the physical to the virtual: closed circle. What better way to combine the old dexterity with the potential of Minecraft? Our children's Minecraft achievements were already fantastic: they now also have the ability to further customize them with objects they created in physical reality.

Connect with the world

We studied with Minecraft all year round, and we often used it with the mod Creatubbles until we had an idea: let's try to put our local server in cloud and ask if any Japanese school, through the local mediation of Creatubbles, can be interested in an exchange of gifts made physically through the virtual Minecraft environment. Being able to access the same world simultaneously would be the best: the time zone with 8 hours ahead of Japan does not facilitate this possibility. If we started in Italy at 8 o'clock in the morning in Tokyo would be to prepare the backpack to go. Probably we must be content to connect in deferred: the Italian boys would find in the shared art gallery the jobs done by Japanese peers and vice versa. The creators of the idea liked it so much and they transmitted their enthusiasm directly to TeacherGaming, a company acquired by Microsoft in January 2016, responsible for the realization and marketing of MinecraftEDU (until April 5 last), giving us support and permission to get in touch with various teachers and educators who have already used MinecraftEDU in their school or in non-school activities. In practice we have a Minecraft server (actually we have two: one on the Microsoft Azure cloud and the other on that of TeacherGaming) accessible on the big network, several schools scattered all over the globe that can access, simultaneously or not, to a world virtual whose goal is to share the creativity of children and especially their realizations created in the real world. Several schools around the world means, to date: Canada, China, United States of America (Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, Hawaii), Brazil, India, Pakistan, Japan, Australia, Poland , Croatia, Nigeria, South Africa. In short, an excellent example of collaboration and school exchange between children and young people who until yesterday maybe did not even know where they were places like Latifabad, Maui, Bangaloore, Sagamu and Allumiere.

It starts on April 15th

From April 15th we will have a month available, 24 hours a day. A month in which we will try to maximize the potential offered by this idea that makes schools and kids interact all over the world: we will have the opportunity to find ourselves virtually in the same place, to exchange messages via chat, to communicate with VoIP solutions, but above all to exchange emotions through artifacts and "artistic" creations created directly by them. As promoters of the project will be the VAT class of Allumiere (Comprehensive Institute of Tolfa - Rome) to inaugurate this international gallery of art and creativity Friday, April 15 and exactly starting at 9 am in the Central European time zone (in these situations must be precise ). The goal is to make our children understand that there are other children in the world who, even if with different cultures, are less fortunate than others, but they are all close because of the creativity that unites them. And they will be able to share with them the beauty of the places where they live describing, through art, the peculiarities of their nation or city. Even living in a small village like Allumiere can now share their creations and interests with other guys who have their own curiosity and desire to discover the world.