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College Course Leader wins Microsoft award for innovative use of video game

Barnsley College staff Abby Parkin, Gavin Mitchell and Rob Lea stood together inside the Old Mill Lane campus in front of decorative umbrellas.

One of our Course Leaders has won a Microsoft Educator Community Engagement Award for his innovative use of Minecraft to aid student experience and learning.

The Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (MIEE) program was created to recognise global educator visionaries, and the annual awards are designed to recognise exceptional work by people within the 1355 MIEE organisations across the country.

“To receive recognition for doing this is very unexpected and I’d like to thank my colleagues for the nominations.”

Winner Gavin Mitchell, a Course Leader within our Learning for Living and Work (LfLW) department, a specialised team which supports students with additional and complex learning needs, said: “I’m really honoured to have won this award for the work we’ve been doing.

“I couldn’t have done it without my colleague Matt Wilson, we worked really closely on it and Matt is just as responsible as me for the success of it.

“All we wanted to achieve from doing it was to add to the experience of the students and help them learn more effectively by using this creative, digital method. I’d like to think they’ve found it fun too.

“To receive recognition for doing this is very unexpected and I’d like to thank my colleagues for the nominations.”

Gavin and his colleagues creatively made use of the video game to aid engagement during lessons teaching students about key issues such as sustainability.

Rob Lea, our eSystems Technologist who nominated Gavin along with colleague Matt Wilson, added: “Myself and Matt nominated Gavin for the work he is doing with students in LfLW using Minecraft to explain and ensure understanding of key issues such as sustainability.

“Using Minecraft fully engages students and creates an immersive ‘world’ and environment for them to learn.

“Gavin also supports colleagues in his MIEE duties with the adoption of 21st Century Teaching and Learning methodologies which allows them to take risks and strive in improving their pedagogy to integrate technology tools that improve student outcomes.”

Last updated: 22nd August 2023

Originally posted on: 15th August 2023

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