One of the world’s most popular sandbox games is proving to be the ideal platform to Ontario students to learn about cybersecurity.
The Minecraft Education Cybersecurity Challenge was launched by the Ontario Federation of School Esports Association (OFSEA) in March 2023, inviting student teams in grades 5 through 8 to identify one or more problems in cybersecurity, then research and build a Cybersecurity Training Facility in Minecraft where players can interact to learn more about the topic and proposed solutions.
Eighty-four teams entered the competition, and were required to share their build in a short video walkthrough to showcase their learning. OFSEA’s judging panel of educators will review the student submissions and up to 32 top-scoring teams will be invited to compete at a live one-day event in June.
The submissions were also encouraged to enter their builds into the Cyber Champion Challenge, a digital awareness student media contest co-led by ECNO and Fair Chance Learning. More than 80 entries were received, combining the Minecraft submissions and other ideas using various forms of digital and visual media, and winners will be announced at the ENCO conference in June.
The joint-submission partners marks the first collaboration between ECNO and OFSEA. As esports became more popular during the pandemic, OFSEA was formed in 2021 to look for ways to integrate video game esports into the classroom and as a resource within the curriculum.
Notes co-founder Matt Kovacs, a STEAM consultant and curriculum developer with the Halton Catholic School Board, “Esports is an effective tool for educators to help build skills around social emotional learning, team building, and giving students opportunities they otherwise might not have through traditional athletics. As educators, Esports presents a unique opportunity to reach students where they are. It’s not often that a new area with such a massive potential for growth presents itself in education, and we’re working with educators around the province and country to make it happen.”