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Just over a year ago, I went to the Northern Territory to a small community, famous for honey-ants called Papunya. It was a short trip, but has finally resulted in getting the local kids immersed in all sorts of learning and fun – at all ages. This is great as often the ‘computer room’ was sees as a place for young-men, and others tended to not get a look in. I can’t take any great credit for making it happen, that was down to the local brilliance of CAYLUS – an organisation fully worthy of support.

Many challenges included lack of bandwidth, hardware, local supervision, busy day to day needs and so on, but thanks to amazing Blair McFarland, Minecraft has arrived with a local server, locally-sourced youth-expert and a dozen accounts. From a year ago, these photos show a completely transformed computer room.

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They’re adopting the model of allowing kids to explore the vast open landscape and along the way, use the experience to produce stories and art. Papunya is famous for its Indigenous artists and art-centre, so it’s even more amazing to see a culture more famous for dots that squares leap into Minecraft. The room is packed – and of course no one has to be there.

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What is great to see is how using imagination and ‘positive deviation’ from the purpose of Minecraft (as a game) leads to kids of all ages working both collaboratively and independently .

With the help of CAYLUS I hope that it will grow and maybe to get back there next year to help other communities (*doubts will get funding). Best of all the Chief Miner has handed over running it to the local community already which has given several kids new ‘roles’ – something I suspect will pay dividends in the months ahead.

Grats to Blair, Jenny and Lelep – Massively Outback is up and running.

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