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A Minecraft graduation? These students recreated their school stadium online for a virtual ceremony

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

As Chambersburg Area School District in Pennsylvannia kept delaying the return of students this spring, the inevitability began to set in. This was something Chambersburg Magnet School rising junior Everyn Kenney noticed, and despite not personally missing out on a commencement at Trojan Stadium, he decided to find a way to help out those who were. So after some joking about the idea at first, Kenney turned to a game he's played for years: Minecraft. Using the block-by-block multiplayer cooperative game, as well as some home-brewed coding, Kenney and his crew of nine friends set out to build a virtual, to-scale Trojan Stadium on Minecraft, and set up a virtual commencement for June 25 that graduates can attend either as a game character or watch on Twitch, all the way down to virtual caps and gowns. "I decided to just try putting it into my own hands because the school wasn't really doing anything yet," said Kenney, who is doing the project in conjunction with the school's Video Game Club.


Learn how to design your own video game using Unreal Engine

Mashable

TL;DR: Create your own fun with an online course called The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Learning Unreal Engine for Game Design and Animation for $40, a 96% savings as of June 8. Way back in 1998, a game engine called the Unreal Engine was developed and showcased in the first-person shooter game Unreal. More than two decades later, it's now used in a variety of other game genres, like platformers (think Super Mario Bros.), fighting games (think Mortal Kombat), MMORPGs (think World of Warcraft), and other RPGs (like The Legend of Zelda). Heck, it's even become a leading resource in the creation of animations, television shows, and illustrations. For all you curious gamers out there, you can learn to use this multi-purpose engine for yourself.


Video Games Don't Have To Be Educational To Spark Learning

NPR Technology

Columnist Kaity Kline says a serious Assassin's Creed: Black Flag habit helped her ace a surprise quiz on the Caribbean. Columnist Kaity Kline says a serious Assassin's Creed: Black Flag habit helped her ace a surprise quiz on the Caribbean. When I was in high school, the best way I could describe myself was as a parent's worst nightmare: I didn't care about my education, didn't do homework, and was known to sleep in class. My SAT score was so bad that I still don't know how I did! My very frustrated mom threw that letter in the trash.


Can't Leave The House? Try Playing Competitive Video Games

NPR Technology

For millions of college students around the country, coronavirus lockdowns effectively canceled their hobbies and extracurriculars. The $20,000 prize pool will go to a SUNY student emergency aid fund, medical research, personal protective equipment and student scholarships. It's sponsored by Extreme Networks, a technology company that provides the technical infrastructure for varsity esports at Canton and other campuses around the country. "We want to reach out and continue to build community," says SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson. Over 400,000 SUNY students are now at home, and plans for returning to campuses are very much still in formation.


Create a video game similar to 'Portals' with this $25 online course

Mashable

TL;DR: If you can't find any game that seems worth playing, make your own. Enroll in the Make a Portals Clone in Unity 3D and Blender From Scratch course for $25, an 87% savings as of May 13. Once you've exhausted all of the usual self solation activities -- cleaning, sleeping, binge-watching Netflix, exercising, crying, ect. Perhaps something like building your own video game from scratch will cure your boredom. Or, at the very least, it'll distract you from the news for awhile.


School's Out--but on 'Minecraft,' Graduation Day Goes On

WIRED

The lectern stands before a vast, grassy amphitheater. Above, the sky is a pristine blue, the cloudless quintessence of a spring morning. Perhaps the most arresting feature in this panorama is the stage: a towering neoclassical structure with Doric columns that soar heavenward. Suspended from the columns are banners emblazoned with the letters QU, for Quaranteen University. The name is a wink from the worldbuilders--college and high school students, homebound for weeks now--about the surreal circumstances of their situation.


Minecraft, machine learning and bots: enter an AI wonderland with these #stayathome workshops - Microsoft News Centre Europe

#artificialintelligence

Alice envisions the future is a unique program run by Microsoft in partnership with Avanade and Accenture which allows high school girls around the world to develop their understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the world's leading technology in terms of its potential for building a better future. Named after Alice's inspirational and curiosity-driven adventures in Wonderland, participants are treated to workshops led by industry experts, in addition to receiving help from Microsoft, Avanade and Accenture mentors to develop their own projects, before pitching them to a panel of judges. "When we look at the gender gap among AI workers, it makes me think that we really need to do something," says Ana Maria Stanciuc, EMEA Education Marketing Lead at Microsoft. "Events like this help teach girls to trust their imagination, to believe in their ideas, and to show that there are no limits. "Having different mentors helping them with design-lead thinking, technical and business skills is an incredible resource.


Block party: eight brilliant Minecraft models to attempt at home

The Guardian

With lockdown entering its fifth week, Minecraft is proving a useful venue for friends and families to meet up, play together and work on collaborative projects. The game is widely used in schools throughout the world to teach everything from sustainable farming to the history of art, and Microsoft recently made the many lessons and exercises in its Minecraft Education programme available to everyone with an Office 365 account. If you have the game at home and are looking for new projects to attempt – maybe as part of your home schooling timetable – here are eight ideas that will test and expand your modelling skills. And we'd love to see how you get on! We'll run a gallery of our favourite examples.


How will children keep learning and stay in touch? Easy: with video games

The Guardian

As with millions of other parents around the world, when our two sons get home from school this afternoon, we have no idea when they'll be going back. Their schools have been hastily scrabbling together remote learning plans, but things are going to be chaotic and unstructured and that's something we'll all have to learn to deal with. What I know for certain is that my boys will have one thing on their mind: video games. What they're picturing (and I can almost see the thought bubbles above their heads when we talk to them about the school closure) is three months in front of the TV playing Apex Legends. You may be in a similar situation in your household, and you may already be feeling guilty about the amount of time your children will end up spending in front of screens simply because you have work to do and their options are limited.


Kentucky banned 'Fortnite' from esports because of guns but swords and lasers are fine

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

LOUISVILLE – Even after Kentucky High School Athletic Association Commissioner Julian Tackett sent out an email notifying school officials that esports teams may not participate in the video game "Fortnite," there was nothing to be done among schools here. That's because "Fortnite," an online video game developed by Epic Games and released in 2017, was never included among the games played by Kentucky students in high school competitions. "Fortnite" is a third-person shooter game that doesn't include any blood, injuries or dead bodies, but nevertheless was given a Teen rating for violence by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Epic Games and PlayVS, a software company that provides a platform for competitive esports, last week announced last Wednesday a partnership to introduce a competitive league for "Fortnite" across high schools and colleges. "There is no place for shooter games in our schools," Tackett said, adding that the KHSAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations had no knowledge that "Fortnite" was being added as part of the competition platform and are "strongly against it."