A Pennsylvania school's esports team got a firsthand experience in international collaboration using a familiar tool--Minecraft

How to establish international collaboration with esports


A Pennsylvania school's esports team got a firsthand experience in international collaboration using a familiar tool--Minecraft

As the high school esports club advisor for the William Penn Cybercats, I have had the opportunity to work with my students on some pretty awesome projects. From building our club infrastructure to coordinating a beyond the games challenge, to organizing our first esports teams in Rocket League and Madden 21, and participating in North American Scholastic Esports Federation (NASEF) Minecraft builds. But as a 2020-2021 NASEF Fellow, I was encouraged to go beyond my building walls in a way that enhances cultural understanding and international collaboration.

In our tight urban community, I have seen students enjoy cultural experiences that built on their understanding of the world around them, but I have never helped coordinate them. For my NASEF Fellow Capstone project, I and another fellow, Ashley Sheehan from Windsor, United Kingdom, coordinated to have an international Minecraft Build. The task was simple: have a team from each town build a part of their world in this cross Atlantic server, and then discuss those buildings with each other in a live chat.

I banded a small group of students together, and gave them the task. They decided to build the school, William Penn Senior High School, and the park just outside of our main entrance, Penn Park. Both are iconic spaces in the community of York City, Pennsylvania. Ashley’s team of students were going to build their two schools, the Green Room School and the Green Room Sixth Form both in Windsor, UK.

We met virtually and recorded our venture to share with the world. This build in Minecraft and the consequential conversation afterwards, was a great showcase to formulate learning in a low lift, high ceiling environment. Students connected with other students in the United Kingdom. 

The Beginning of the William Penn School Build

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