Problem statement: how to communicate boring but important social information to children? Solution: Using Minecraft, of course.
2017 – 2018
- Digital communicator
During 2017, I worked as a consultant in the role of digital designer and web communicator for Tvärbanan’s expansion of Kistagrenen (SL). In the project I was involved in solving old problems in new innovative ways, Using Minecraft to include children in community building, is one of them.
The rails would run through densely built-up areas, which caused problems for the residents. An important task for the project was therefore to effectively communicate and inform these residents. According to the guidelines of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it was particularly important to inform children in the area.
Children and young people in Rissne, Ursvik and Tensta would be affected for a long time, as their school routes would be affected. There was also a risk that they would take risky shortcuts through dangerous areas.
Usually information is given by printing up brochures that are distributed in schools. The problem is that today’s children rarely read brochures. Many children in the area also do not have Swedish as their mother tongue and may not have parents who can help them understand. Another problem that often arises is vandalism and graffiti when the new Tvärbanan is finished.
IDEA & HYPOTHESIS
I got the idea that the children could build the Tvärbanan digitally in Minecraft, parallel to the actual construction. This would take place in collaboration with municipalities and schools, and be designed as a competition. The hypothesis was that by making construction and community information more enjoyable, children would be more receptive to information and possibly act as future ambassadors against vandalism.
RESEARCH & INTERVIEWS
In our research work, we discovered that Microsoft, which owns Minecraft, has recently launched an educational version of the game. We also interviewed some principals, teachers and students, all of whom were very positive about the arrangement.
We prepared a proposal for an activity plan that SL’s management approved. The project will be implemented in autumn 2018, as a competition among children in year 5 in Sundbyberg municipality. To succeed in the competition, the children will need to understand how a real construction project works, including field visits to the actual construction site. A representative from the construction project will also visit the schools to inform about the process.
The winner was to be crowned with pomp and circumstance at Sundbyberg’s cultural center. Microsoft had stated that this would be an important pilot project for them.
In an inclusive way, the children in the area got to take part in the large construction project that would affect the area where it lived. Hopefully they won’t want to vandalize the Tvärbanan and the trains when everything is ready.
SL was able to communicate important information to a target group that they otherwise would have had difficulty reaching, while the cost was lower than if they had designed and printed brochures.
According to Microsoft, this is the first time Minecraft will be used in this way (in the world) and they are talking about it being an important pilot case.