Schools in Pender Co. take learning to a new level - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Schools in Pender Co. take learning to a new level

Students say the game helps them build their skill levels in other classes like typing and art. Students say the game helps them build their skill levels in other classes like typing and art.
Some students at Topsail Elementary learn by playing Minecraft, a game all about building. Some students at Topsail Elementary learn by playing Minecraft, a game all about building.

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Despite inevitable job cuts in Pender County, school leaders say schools are still rising up.  Teachers are using new techniques to keep students engaged and excited about learning.

Some students at Topsail Elementary learn by playing Minecraft, a game all about building.

"Everybody's like, ‘Oh you're in Minecraft you're so lucky, everybody wants to be in Minecraft,'" said Caroline, a fifth grader at Topsail Elementary.

Students say the game helps them build their skill levels in other classes like typing and art.  Teachers say the game helps strengthen some of the staples of student socialization because they're in an environment where they aren't afraid to ask questions.

The subjects in Minecraft are widespread ranging from art to building a functional roller coaster.

Instructional Technology Coordinator Lucas Gillispie said the class started at a middle school, but he hopes to extend it to every grade level in Pender County.

"There's a wall between play and work and play and learning," explained Gillispie. "My job – what I want to do is break that wall down."

Breaking down the wall to new ways of teaching eases some of the budget weight, according to Gillispie.

"We are looking at a game that is very cost effective," said Gillispie.  "We only pay a one-time licensing fee."

Folks with the Board of Education have agreed teaching Minecraft in school is one idea worth investing in.

The class counts as an elective and has gotten so popular that some schools just pick students' names out of a hat to see who gets to enroll.

Gillispie said several schools in Pender County are interested in the program, and he'll meet with Burgaw Middle School next.

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