The pixelated world-building game Minecraft is already making coding fun, and now it's also giving a fresh look on the history of Ireland as the MindRising project conducts a competition across schools to encourage kids to tell the story of their country's past, present or future.

The project was conceived to celebrate Ireland's 200-year history and to encourage young Irish schoolchildren to reflect on the past century of the country, as well as the next hundred years to come, via digital storytelling skills like using the game of Minecraft to recreate the 1916 Easter Rising which lead to Ireland breaking free of English rule.

While the actual streets of Dublin in 1916 were prone to boughts of random gunfighting, the Minecraft-built replica the students have been making allows them to explore the city as it was a century ago. They even managed to rebuild Nelson’s Pillar that was destroyed by the IRA in 1966.

And although they may not be historically or geographically accurate, MindRising co-founder Gar Mac Críosta said that they also “borrowed” some significant sites that are located in Northern Ireland and made them available for those who want to join to download and hack and use in their own projects.

"We’re currently building a futurescape of urban living in a 2066 city featuring landmarks from Limerick, Galway, Cork, Belfast and Dublin,” Críosta said.

Educators in Ireland are excited to see the entries the children have been coming up with to honor and bring Ireland's history into a modern-day context and beyond.

“Whether they are drawing on the evidence to reconstruct past events and localities, investigating change over time or building on the present to imagine possible futures, MindRising offers rich opportunities for child-led and enquiry-based learning and, most importantly, gives voice to that learning though digital storytelling,” said Professor Fionnuala Waldron Cregan, Professor of Education at DCU Institute of Education.

The contest is ongoing and at stake is €5,000 (roughly $5,652) for a digital refresh for the school or organization of the winning team.

MindRising will also be helping out with video lessons on how to build with Minecraft and will soon feature some project ideas on their website.

The contest began on Feb. 3 and will run for 8 weeks.

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