South Australia's next national park could be designed by children using Minecraft

The amount of time which children spend in front of computer screens may be a worry for some parents, but instead of trying to tempt kids away from video games, officials in South Australia are proposing that they use the time they spend playing them more creatively. Georgia Gowing of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges natural resources management board (NRAMLR) is responsible for inviting primary school children to design their perfect national park using the popular video game, Minecraft.
Young gamers are encouraged to build features such as mountain biking or horse riding trails, wheelchair accessible paths and campsites, and entries will be judged on their usability and sustainability. $8.9 million of government funds have been set aside in order to make the winning design a reality, at the same time encouraging kids to be aware of sustainable materials and resources.
Minecraft has previously been used in design initiatives such as My Blocks, in which the game helped Swedish housing authorities better understand their tenants' needs, and its educational potential has also been recognized around the world. The game represents one aspect of the trend towards combining education and technology, which is also seen in projects such as Bitsbox. Both ideas are evidence of a general desire to make youngsters' screen time as productive as possible, whether that means giving their gameplay a purpose in real-life, or gamifying learning experiences.