Minecraft Meets Eagle, Idaho Education at Innovate Academy

Innovate Academy Recognized for Groundbreaking Smart Manufacturing Education, Including Minecraft Integration

A collaboration between Purdue University’s faculty in the School of Engineering Technology, Purdue Conferences and Event Design, and Innovate Academy and Preparatory School is set to be recognized April 14-17 at this year’s ASU+GSV Summit Education Innovation Showcase, hosted by Arizona State University and GSV Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on the education sector.

The collaboration focuses on game-based learning and artificial intelligence in smart manufacturing, which aims to change the norms of K-12 education by going beyond traditional learning methods and fostering a dynamic environment where students cultivate problem-solving skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. By leveraging popular games to introduce concepts and career opportunities in the smart manufacturing industry, this strategy intends to not only pique students’ interest in smart manufacturing but also propel them toward higher education, thereby increasing the manufacturing workforce in Indiana and the nation.

Chris Bishop, senior manager of business development for Purdue Conferences and Event Design, brought together industry colleagues, including Geri Gillespy, superintendent of teaching and learning and headmaster of schools at Innovate Academy and Preparatory School, and Ragu Athinarayanan, professor in the Purdue University School of Engineering Technology and director of the Department of Energy’s Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute at Purdue.

“This collaboration is creating a dynamic, immersive digital learning environment where students can actively participate and engage with cutting-edge technology and modern concepts in smart manufacturing,” Athinarayanan said. “It represents just the beginning of something that could one day scale and expand opportunities for students nationwide.”

By further partnering with author, director and Minecraft Map producer Adam Clarke, as well as the AI educational platform GuardRailz, the collaboration highlights Minecraft as the first game being used to equip students with crucial digital skills and critical-thinking abilities, making smart manufacturing education more accessible.

“Through the collaboration with Purdue and GuardRailz, we’re embarking on a revolutionary journey in the Minecraft world,” Gillespy said. “Here, every teacher — regardless of grade or subject — can enable students to drive their own learning. Our students are transforming into problem solvers with an entrepreneur spirit, all within a secure, AI-enhanced educational setting.”

The smart manufacturing collaboration, presented by Bishop and Gillespy, is one of this year’s top 10 initiatives at the annual ASU+GSV Summit Education Innovation Showcase, known for celebrating leaders driving innovation in K-12 education. More information about the smart manufacturing project and the upcoming showcase can be found at the Education Innovation Showcase 2024 website.

Purdue Conferences and Event Design is part of the Administrative Operations organization, which supports the university by providing safe, reliable and transformative services. Helping to bring together education, research and industry experts is just one of the ways the organization powers Purdue.

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