Coquitlam, BC (October 3, 2023) - kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem) First Nation and School District 43 (Coquitlam) Indigenous Education and SD43 STEAM, with the generous support of Microsoft Canada, is excited to announce the creation of the new Minecraft Education Pacific Northwest Coast Experience. Students will now be able to explore an immersive, virtual world within Minecraft Education that simulates cultural and traditional experiences of the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest.
Combining educational goals in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) with explorations in Pacific Northwest Coast culture and Indigenous ways of learning in a gaming environment, is a global first and the possibilities are already sparking imagination in students and teachers. In Microsoft's Minecraft Education Pacific Northwest Coast Experience, students travel back in time to a coastal community as inhabitants are preparing for winter. Sustainable harvesting of natural resources comes first as students gather cedar bark and planks as well as pulling salmon from the gillnets. Collecting salmonberries and maintaining camas fields are also important roles within the village so that the community continues to thrive as it has for generations. Once students have learned these important skills from elders and knowledge keepers, they may choose to construct a new sustainable village up the coast. Teachers are supported with the Pacific Northwest Experience website that includes teaching guides, technical guides, and videos.
“Goals in SD43 include incorporating Indigenous principles and STEAM across the curriculum and this integrated project with Kwikwetlem First Nation and Microsoft offers an incredible experience for students", said SD 43 Superintendent/CEO Patricia Gartland. “Exploring a Minecraft world while hunting, fishing, and building within an immersive virtual Pacific Northwest Indigenous community is a fantastic way to learn through 'doing'. For many students, gaming greatly increases engagement in learning."
SD43 Board of Education Chair Michael Thomas adds, “SD43 is proud to be at the forefront of educational innovation. It has been a great honour to work with the Kwikwetlem First Nation to create this immersive Minecraft world that teaches young people about the rich culture and traditions of Coastal First Nations people. Together with Microsoft, we've built a truly fun and creative learning tool for students to experience and learn with. We are thankful to our Indigenous Education and SD43 STEAM teachers for their hard work on this project."
We are pleased to be able to share the Pacific Northwest Coast Experience with educators around the world so that students may learn through the lens of the Pacific Northwest Peoples. Visit A Pacific Northwest Coast Experience and learn how this immersive learning tool engages students in rich in-world and real-world STEAM learning with Microsoft Education.
School District 43 (Coquitlam) is located in the Metro Vancouver region of BC and serves the cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody and the villages of Anmore and Belcarra. About 33,000 students attend 70 schools across the district.