How Minecraft Update Aquatic Can Turn Kids on to Conservation for World Oceans Day

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Ocean Institute and Connected Camps release video June 8 and encourage young people to take part in social media activation.

screenshot of the Minecraft Update Aquatic

Minecraft Update Aquatic

We are seeking to connect kids’ enthusiasm for Minecraft to science and civic engagement in conservation.

In an effort to raise awareness of marine conservation, the Ocean Institute and Connected Camps are inviting young people to take part in a Minecraft social media activation on World Oceans Day June 8.

A video, featuring Minecraft’s new Aquatic Update and fun facts curated by the Ocean Institute, will debut on Connected Camps’ social media channels — YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Kids are encouraged to watch and share the video using the hashtag, #WorldOceansDay, in their own social media posts throughout the day. To top off the collaboration, for every social media share, the Ocean Institute will bring a low-income student from Southern California to its headquarters in Dana Point for a free field trip to visit the ocean for the first time.

“We are thrilled to partner with Connected Camps and to see kids using the tools that are important to them — and their peers — to celebrate our ocean,” said Wendy Marshall, vice president of education at the Ocean Institute. “With 95% of the ocean yet to be explored and many threats to the ocean health, we need to develop the next generation of innovators and discoverers. We believe that the habits of mind that students develop through the learning experiences that Connect Camps offers are the very attributes that are needed! Curiosity, creativity, persistence, collaboration, and flexibility will be critical to furthering our knowledge of the ocean and solving the most pressing problems. Ocean Institute is thankful to the students who are participating and are using their creativity to engage others.”

"Indeed," said Mimi Ito, Connected Camps founder and director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine.

“We are seeking to connect kids’ enthusiasm for Minecraft to science and civic engagement in conservation,” she said. “The new aquatic patch lets us meet kids where they are, having fun with their friends, and connect them to these new potential areas of interest. It’s about educators and civic activists fishing where the fish are already swimming, so to speak.”

Connected Camps is a nonprofit organization that teaches STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) concepts through Minecraft. When Microsoft/Mojang recently released Update Aquatic for Minecraft, Connected Camps teamed with the Ocean Institute and the Connected Learning Alliance and started using the game to teach kids about some core principles of ocean conservancy while they explore the new update to the game. Its campers now are making content and participating in the global conversation about the conservation of the world's oceans.

“The Update Aquatic fills the oceans of Minecraft with marine life, shipwrecks and more, giving players a whole new world to explore. It’s great to see Connected Camps using this release to encourage young people to learn about environmental issues. Later this month, we will bring Update Aquatic to Minecraft: Education Edition, empowering educators with a series of new lessons to engage students in reef biology and conservation,” said Deirdre Quarnstrom, general manager of Minecraft Education at Microsoft.

“It’s about kids becoming creators of digital culture, and finding their voice and understanding that through the connected nature of our world, our voice travels,” Ito added. “The overall theme is around how community-based, interest-driven learning helps kids learn and develop new passions in their lives outside of the game.”

About Connected Camps
Connected Camps is a benefit corporation providing connected learning experiences that foster creativity, problem solving, collaboration and interest-driven learning. Its mission is to build a global online community where kids build, code, play, and learn from one another. Tapping the power of youth tech experts to teach and mentor, Connected Camps has served thousands of kids through its online and community-based programs. Connected Camps is a member of the Connected Learning Alliance.

About Ocean Institute
The Ocean Institute, founded in 1977 as the Orange County Marine Institute, is a community-based organization that educates 250,000 visitors annually through over 60 marine science and maritime history programs. Located on 2.4 acres in the Dana Point Harbor, adjacent to a Marine Life Conservation Area, the facility is an ocean education center that offers in-depth marine science, maritime history and outdoor education programs. It includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, two historic tall ships, and an oceanographic research vessel. Immersion-based field trips range from one-hour science labs to multi-day programs at sea and at the Lazy W Ranch, in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains. All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning.

About Connected Learning Alliance
The Connected Learning Alliance supports the expansion and influence of a network of educators, experts and youth-serving organizations, mobilizing new technology in the service of equity, access and opportunity for all young people. Learn more at clalliance.org.

Media Contacts:
John Gillilan, Connected Camps, johngillilan(at)connectedcamps.com
Wendy Marshall, Ocean Institute, wmarshall(at)oceaninstitute.org
Mimi Ko Cruz, Connected Learning Alliance, mcruz(at)hri.uci.edu

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Mimi Ko Cruz
Digital Media & Learning Research Hub
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