Building a World and Examining Barriers

Our world is full of different kinds of people. People with different accessibility needs that aren’t always addressed. Needs that need talking about. That’s where Minecraft comes in. Today, at the Microsoft Ability summit, Microsoft is announcing the launch of a new Minecraft world: BuildAbility. Existing as the first world for Minecraft: Education Edition, BuildAbility is focusing on helping students in understanding, identifying, and working to eliminate accessibility barriers in school and their communities. A blog post provides more details about BuildAbility. 

Featuring three distinct areas, the BuildAbility world’s design is focusing on helping students examine their own world. Specifically in how it is built with or without accessibility as a feature. Of course the distinctive areas are reflecting real life spaces. For instance, a school, a shopping mall, and a community corner. Additionally, BuildAbility will also feature a sandbox area where educators provide unique build challenges centering around accessible designs. 

Furthermore, BuildAbility is including an Educator Guide. The guide provides lessons and resources educators can use when teaching about accessibility barriers. In addition, the guide also gives discussion prompts and inquiry questions, encouraging students to highlight empathetic experiences. 

Microsoft is collaborating with Peel District School Board (PDSB) to develop BuildAbility. According to the blog post, PDSB students and teachers have been actively using BuilAbility in the classroom. Jennifer Newby, Superintendent – Special Education, Social-
Emotional Learning & Well Being, says in the blog post We were excited to have the insights and expertise of a committee of educators who supported the development of the Minecraft world. More so, to ensure we were reflecting the lived experiences of those who face accessibility barriers.” 

May 19th, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, will feature a BuildAbility live lesson. The Cobblestone Collective is hosting these live lessons. More information is available at the Minecraft Blog

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Microsoft Launching New Minecraft World: BuildAbility