Occupational therapy focuses on promoting health and wellness through the therapeutic use of everyday occupations. Individuals who live in rural less-resourced contexts experience unique challenges with daily tasks such as bathing, cooking and doing laundry, as amenities such as water and electricity are frequently not easily available. Occupational Therapy students are currently trained to assess the occupational needs of communities using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) techniques, including transect walks and community mapping. To assist the students with the preparation for their community work a rural village in Minecraft Education Edition was created. Students had time to navigate through the world and see what a rural dweller needs to go through daily to fetch water.
The game creators were challenged by the fact that a lot of the materials that they needed to build an authentic rural village with wasn’t available in Minecraft and the Resource packs needed to be edited to fill the needs of the building. For example, a roof made from sheets of corrugated iron needed to be developed.
The students immersed themselves in the game and associated with Arabang, the main character. As many students grew up in cities and are unfamiliar with the demands of rural lifestyles, it is hoped that exposure to a simulated rural Minecraft world will contribute to preparing them to deliver contextually relevant occupational therapy services.
The project lead is: Jennifer McAdam @jennife08118989 and the lead game creator is Amanda Calitz. @AmandaCalitz
The project was done at the #Wits_eZone and @eFundanathi was very supportive.