Updated: Oct 25, 2018
Post by: Heena Sharma
Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. It is important for things to change to more modern standards as the world progresses. This is the only way to keep developing as a species, and the only way for us to become better individuals. However, the education system lacks the certain qualities essential to providing ‘modern day’ schooling. Most children waste the first 18 years of their lives learning things they will never need in the future. However, a group of students from Newlands Intermediate, accompanied by their teacher, Marianne Malmstrom, and a few software developers from ‘Theta’, have their minds fixed on changing the education experience of middle school children.
Origins of The MiniDevs
In May, 2017, Marianne Malmstrom took part in a VR hackathon that was held at Projectr as part of New Zealand’s annual tech week. It was here that she met Jim Taylor, Emerging Technologies Architect, from Theta Innovation Lab. Jim had been experimenting with the idea of creating a ‘pop up museum’ experience on the Microsoft Hololens. That fit perfectly with Marianne’s goal to build a platform that would help schools shift focus from teaching content to students learning through creating their own content. of changing the education system. After a very unexpected win at the hackathon, Jim and Marianne got together and decided they wanted to work together with the middle school students, at Newlands Intermediate.
After a group of seven students was selected, we brainstormed ideas for our project. We chose to make a game; a pick-a-path/breakout game combo. The next several weeks were spent deciding details of the game, and writing out a script. We focused on what was unique about this new technology and tried to think of things that could not be done on any other platform.
Unfortunately, the breakout game was left incomplete because the school year was ending and we did not know if Minidevs would get funding to continue our work. Still, all students unanimously agreed that they learnt more from scripting a pick-a-path than any other school activity they’ve done before!
The breakout game wasn’t the biggest of successes, but the MiniDevs were determined to achieve their goal. We decided that in our new project, we would code the game ourselves. Keep an eye out for the next article, where I will be going in depth about the next chapter of the MiniDevs story!