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Youngsters urged to join Belfast Telegraph's Minecraft challenge

Four of our best-loved buildings are set for a high-tech make-over - 21st century style.

The Belfast Telegraph has teamed up with CultureTECH to offer a unique opportunity for children to recreate four of Northern Ireland's most iconic structures through one of the world's most popular games.

To the untrained eye, Minecraft may seem an imprenetrable otherworld of colourful boxes and shapes, but as the parents of many children across Northern Ireland will be aware it has become the latest craze in entertainment.

And while it may seem to be simply entertainment it also has serious educational clout in terms of teaching children about computer programming and vital IT skills. More than 200 schools in Northern Ireland now even use Minecraft as an educational resource.

Today the Belfast Telegraph is launching our Minecraft challenge.

We are challenging young people - both individually and in schools - to recreate and reimagine four iconic Northern Ireland structures in Minecraft.

These structures are the Guildhall in Londonderry, the Giant's Causeway, Samson and Goliath cranes and Belfast City Hall.

The competition will run until December 4 and be open to anyone under the age of 18 who is resident in Northern Ireland.

CultureTECH has supplied professionally developed reference maps which can be downloaded free of charge from the Belfast Telegraph website.

Each reference map will include a custom-built version of the structure in question.

Working from these references, participants will build their own versions and submit their entries via the Belfast Telegraph website as a video clip, GIF or image gallery.

In addition CultureTech is providing background information about each structure, links to original images and plans where available. Lesson plans and curriculum maps will also be made available to educators making use of the platform. The competition includes different categories for different age groups as well as one overall category.

Earlier this year Minecraft was made made available to every post-primary school in Northern Ireland as part of a technology project by the annual CultureTECH festival.

It is the first time anywhere in the world that an entire region has made Minecraft available to its schools. The initiative, funded by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, means 50,000 children in Northern Ireland potentially have access to the game. Licences for the game will be given to up to 240 sites including 30 libraries and community organisations, and a number of volunteer-led coding clubs.

Belfast Telegraph