Ever wanted to explore Treasure Island or pretend to be Robinson Crusoe? Minecraft is now being used to create an ‘immersive experience’ to engage reluctant readers – we see how it plays out
Minecraft of resources … Litcraft’s Treasure Island. Illustration: Lancaster University
Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1881 classic Treasure Island tells of Jim Hawkins’s adventures on board the Hispaniola, as he and his crew – along with double-crossing pirate Long John Silver – set out to find Captain Flint’s missing treasure on Skeleton Island. Now, more than a century later, children can try and find it themselves, with the bays and mountains of Stevenson’s fictional island given a blocky remodelling in Minecraft, as part of a new project aimed at bringing reluctant readers to literary classics.
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From Spyglass Hill to Ben Gunn’s cave, children can explore every nook and cranny of Skeleton Island as part of Litcraft, a new partnership between Lancaster University and Microsoft, which bought the game for $2.5bn (£1.9bn) in 2015 and which is now played by 74 million people each month. The Litcraft platform uses Minecraft to create accurate scale models of fictional islands: Treasure Island is the first, with Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom just completed and many others planned.
While regular Minecraft is rife with literary creations – the whole of George RR Martin’s sprawling setting for Game of Thrones, Westeros, has been created in its entirety, as have several different Hogwarts – Litcraft is not all fun and games, being peppered with educational tasks that aim to re-engage reluctant readers with the book it is based on. Lead researcher and head of Lancaster University’s English and creative writing department, Professor Sally Bushell, calls it “an educational model that connects the imaginative spatial experience of reading the text to an immersive experience in the game world”.
An example of Minecraft’s flexibility – users have recreated entire literary worlds, like JK Rowling’s Hogwarts.
She says, of the Litcraft Treasure Island: “We hope it will motivate reluctant readers – we can say, ‘We’re going to read the book and then at one point, we’ll go play on the ship.’ I would have loved it as a kid. It is an empathetic task – you do what the characters did yourself, so you understand why they act they way they did in the book.”
The Treasure Island “level” has been extensively road-tested by children such as Dylan, whose school is set to adopt Litcraft in 2019. “It’s really fun,” he says. “I enjoyed it because I’ve read the book, but you have to follow rules in that. In games, you can explore. Now I know exactly what the book looked like.”
What did he like most? “I like that you get to see the pictures. You don’t have to make them in your head. And I liked the ship, Ben Gunn’s cave and the parrots. And there was that weird pig that kept jumping off that cliff. That wasn’t in the book!” (“That was a game glitch,” says Bushell).
The kids know how to use Minecraft more than the teachers do. It inverts the relationship
Sally Bushell, Lancaster University
The project, which is featured on , is currently being presented to school teachers and librarians across the UK. There has been “an enthusiastic response” to the trials under way in local schools, with plans to roll Litcraft out to libraries in Lancashire and Leeds from October 2018.
Dylan, like many nine-year-olds, enjoys books but is more enthusiastic when talking about Minecraft, which he does with the casual expertise that many children have with their favourite games. He’s already made his own Hunger Games world in Minecraft at home, but couldn’t get some of his traps to work.
This know-how seems to both frighten and impress less tech-savvy adults – which Bushell hopes will not deter schools from adopting it. “The kids know how to do it more than the teachers do,” she says. “It inverts the relationship: you’ve got kids who know more than the adults. You need quite confident teachers. They’re more worried about it. I want to say, ‘Don’t be worried, because all your eight-year-olds will know how to do this.’”
Libraries are particularly interested in the possibilities of multiplayer, Bushell says, adding that one of the future projects will be Lord of the Flies: “In that case, you want all the kids in there playing out a scenario and asking philosophical questions. We hope they do some reading, then play the game, then do some empathetic writing based on what they did in there.”
The Kensuke’s Kingdom map, based on Morpurgo’s story of a boy washed up alone, is particularly aimed at engaging reluctant readers and has just been completed. “The library resources we are putting together include audio and in-game reading and writing as well as graphic novels as a step to the full text,” said Bushell. “The resources are designed to encourage them to either return to or connect with the book through the immersive experience.”
Bushell said more literary Minecraft islands will follow. “Treasure Island is the first world for Minecraft.edu but they anticipate a series – most likely, the next will be The Swiss Family Robinson, The Tempest and Robinson Crusoe,” Bushell says. A recreation of Dante’s Inferno, with a map for each level of hell, is also in development.
But what book does Dylan hope to see next? “The Hunger Games,” he says with no hesitation. “A proper one.”
Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/jul/11/how-minecraft-is-helping-kids-fall-in-love-with-books
Last year Microsoft rolled out the Minecraft Better Together update – one of its most substantial yet with a reworked engine, cross-platform multiplayer, and the Minecraft Marketplace. Minecraft’s Nintendo Switch version just saw the update one year late, bringing long-awaited unification between several platforms. This allows Xbox One and Nintendo Switch players can play together too, joining a growing library pushing cross-play between the duo.
Continue for a breakdown on using cross-play between Xbox One and Nintendo Switch versions of Minecraft.
See Minecraft for Xbox One at Amazon See Minecraft for Switch at Amazon
Setting up Minecraft cross-play for Xbox One
Preparing cross-play on Xbox One is straightforward, thanks to relaxed content restrictions over other platforms. And with direct Xbox Live integration on the console, you’ll be ready to go after installing the game. Xbox One users should ensure “Minecraft” is used, rather than the incompatible “Minecraft: Xbox One Edition.”
Open the Microsoft Store on Xbox One.
Select the Search title.
Select Minecraft from the available titles.
Download Minecraft. This will be a free download for existing Minecraft: Xbox One Edition owners. For new buyers, the game is priced at $19.99.
After completing the above steps, your Xbox One is primed for Minecraft cross-play with other systems.
Setting up Minecraft cross-play for Nintendo Switch
Cross-play on Nintendo Switch brings a few additional hurdles to overcome, due to limitations of the console. Without native Xbox Live integration, you’ll need to sign into a Microsoft account. Furthermore, the lack of an integrated browser means you’ll need help from a mobile or PC. Like the Xbox version, Nintendo Switch users should ensure “Minecraft” is installed, rather than the incompatible “Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition.”
Open the Nintendo eShop.
Navigate to the Search tab.
Search for Minecraft.
Select Minecraft from the available titles.
Download Minecraft. This will be a free download for existing Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition owners. For new buyers, the game is priced at $29.99.
Select Sign In For Free when prompted to sign into your Microsoft account.
Navigate to https://aka.ms/remoteconnect on your PC or mobile.
Enter the unique code displayed on-screen.
Sign into your Microsoft account. A confirmation screen will be displayed. Your Xbox Live profile will appear on your Nintendo Switch shortly after.
Select Let’s Play to complete the process.
Minecraft is now linked to Xbox Live and ready for cross-play with other systems.
How to create Minecraft cross-play games
The process to create cross-play sessions is the same as any other Minecraft multiplayer game – set up your world and you’re ready to go. For those with an existing Minecraft Realm from other platforms, these steps can be ignored.
Select Play from the main menu.
Choose Create New under the Worlds tab.
Select Create New World to start a fresh game.
Navigate to the Multiplayer subsection.
Check multiplayer is enabled.
Select Create once you’re ready to play
Your Minecraft world will now start and be open to other players.
How to join Minecraft cross-play games
Using Minecraft’s Friends tab is a quick way to see active games and join sessions. Navigating to this section will breakdown which online games are joinable across compatible platforms.
Select Play from the main menu.
Press RB to access to Friends tab on Xbox One. Press R to access to Friends tab on Nintendo Switch.
Select an active game to join.
On Xbox One, games will be split between joinable friends and joinable Realms. On Nintendo Switch, games are sorted by Nintendo Switch friends, Xbox Live cross-platform friends, and joinable Realms.
Over to you
If you’re yet to jump into the world of Minecraft, make sure to check out our ultimate guide for a full breakdown of mechanics. The game is available on both Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, priced at $19.99 and $29.99 respectively.
Read more here: https://www.windowscentral.com/minecraft-cross-play-guide
A generation of influencers and entertainers have emerged in the digital age. Joyce Fegan profiles Jack Septic Eye, Little Kelly and some of the other young stars who’ve tapped into the lucrative new world.
1) Jack Septic Eye
Worth more than €2m at only 28 years of age, Sean William McLoughlin is Ireland’s number one YouTuber.
Operating under his alter ego, Jack Septic Eye, Google which owns YouTube, lists the Athlone man as Ireland’s most popular YouTuber.
He posts about video games, as well as uploading videos of comic sketches, including a recent one where he makes pizza out of playdough. This video amassed 810,000 views after just one day online.
Overall, he has 19.1m subscribers to his JackSepticEye channel. His total views stands at a staggering 9,503,190,109. Views for his videos in general usually average out at around 1m or 2m, with one recently reaching 7.3m views, as it starred actor Ryan Reynolds.
He is popular on social media too, with 5.6m followers on Instagram and 4.68m fans on Twitter.
While he had been busy building his platform from 2012, and getting more serious in 2013, it was not until last year that he came to national prominence when he was interviewed for RTÉ documentary, Ireland’s Rich List, where his net worth was listed at €2.5m. He also found himself on Ireland’s 30 under 30 rich list. The Athlone gamer’s Twitter bio states: “Dreams absolutely come true but they take time, dedication and patience.”
2) Daithí De Nogla
This 26-year-old Limerick man recently filed accounts showing his company had an income of more than €1m. YouTube officially lists him as having the second most popular channel in Ireland. David Nagle, his real name, posts mostly video game tutorials.
On YouTube, he has just reached 6m subscribers, having started out in the online world in 2012. In total, all of his videos have amassed 929,963,502 views. One day after posting, a video of his can have as many as 327,000 views, while views for all of his uploads averages out at about 200,000 to 400,000. He is also massively popular on Instagram, with 1.8m followers.
While his company cracked the €1m, he has said he is not that interested in money. Accounts show that he pays himself a wage of €33,800 a year, as that is what he needs to live on. He also bought himself a bungalow “in the middle of nowhere” but admitted that it has “good fibre optic connections.”
The Limerick man had been studying Early Childhood Care and Education in the Institute of Technology Tralee, before dropping out to pursue his YouTube channel full-time.
3) Scott and Ryan Fitzsimons
Twin brothers Scott and Ryan Fitzsimons run the YouTube channel Tiny Turtle & Little Lizard, where they chart their Minecraft adventures. Minecraft is a creative video game where players can build virtual worlds using blocks.
The millionaire brothers have 3,688,311 subscribers to their channel. Accounts for the 27-year-old identical twins shows they paid themselves €4.1m between 2015 and 2017. Originally from Co Meath, in 2016, the pair shared a pay-pot of €2.215m million — or €1.1m each.
The joined the video-sharing platform in 2012 and so far their videos have been viewed 2,207,617,369 times. Their videos have an average of around 100,000 views each with some amassing as many as 500,000 views.
The brothers also run an Instagram page alongside their channel which has almost 300,000 followers. On it, they share photographs of trips to the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. There is also a recent photo of one of the brothers test-driving a Ferrari.
Back in 2014, just two years after the brothers uploaded their first video, Scott described their endeavour as “just a hobby” in the beginning and outlined their hopes for the channel.
“We played it, we enjoyed uploading it and some of the stuff clicked more and people started enjoying it. You could easily notice what people wanted to watch rather than just what you wanted to play so if you got a good combination of both.”
The twins’ younger sister Kelly is also a YouTube star with her own Minecraft channel.
4) Brian Hanby
In fourth spot is Terroriser, real name Brian Hanby, with 2,582,021 subscribers to his gaming channel. The 29-year-old Dubliner also has his own line of merchandise to accompany his online brand.
His gaming videos average out at having around 200,000 to 300,000 views each and overall his channel has had 234,796,504 views since he started it in college. The gamer is also popular on social media, where he has almost 1m followers on Instagram and 994,000 on Twitter.
His previous employment included working for Subway covering the festival circuit for them and also baking bread in Sandyford Industrial Estate.
“I used to work in Subway,” he says. “I used to hate my job. It was a lot of stress. I did all the Subways for Electric Picnic and Oxegen one year. I worked in the Sandyford Industrial Estate baking bread for a whole summer. I’ve worked shitty jobs for so long, it’s nice to be doing what I love now. I’m grateful.”
While Brian dropped out of his original course in Dublin Institute of Technology, he did return to education.
5) Kelly Fitzsimons
At age 22, Kelly Fitzsimons already has €60,000 in her pension fund and, over the last two years, she has earned more than €850,000 from your YouTube channel, Little Kelly Minecraft.
Her creative video channel has more than 2.5m subscribers at present after she join the platform just under three years ago. From Ashbourne, Co Meath, Kelly is one of the highest earning people in their 20s in Ireland and paid herself almost €350,000 last year.
Her older brothers, Scott and Ryan Fitzsimons, are behind the popular YouTube channel, Little Lizard & Tiny Turtle, which also creates Minecraft videos.
Since she went live at the end of June 2015, her videos have amassed a total of 1,350,303,587 views. Some of her most popular videos have as many as 1m and 2.3m views each. She also runs several other channels, including a vlog about her life with her fiancé David.
The YouTube star has also been outspoken about abuse online, creating videos about bullying and posting reassuring content about how to deal with such behaviour on her Instagram page. Her Instagram account boasts more than 300,000 followers alone and it charts her personal life, which includes life in Ireland and travelling for work.
6) Chris O’Neill
At age 28, Chris O’Neill’s channel OneyNG is the sixth spot from the top. He is the first non-gamer to make it on to the list. Instead of video games, the Wexford man has been busy creating animated cartoons for the last number of years.
Some of his animation cartoons have had 27m views, 30m views and even 42m views. In total, all of the videos on his animation channel have had 444,285,568 views.
The 28-year-old YouTuber, while not very active on his OneyNG channel at the moment, currently has 2.1m subscribers.
More recently, he has been uploading gaming videos to another channel called OneyPlays.
This channel while not at the top of the list has 537,620 subscribers of its own. Many of the videos on there receive up to 300,000 views each.
The Wexford YouTuber started out online in his late teens and has said that he makes “a good living out of it”. He described the life of a YouTuber as “pretty good” and that “it all pays for itself”. While his net worth is not known, nor how much he takes home as a salary, he has been busy travelling the world for conventions and talks within the industry.
7) Carina Elliott
From nurse to YouTube Minecraft star, Carina Elliott runs her own YouTube channel, Little Carly Minecraft. Having only joined the platform in August 2015, her channel now has 1,377,248 subscribers.
In total her videos have been viewed a total of 581,744,084 times.
Originally from Swords in Co Dublin, she plays the long-lost sister of Little Kelly Minecraft (Kelly Fitzsimons) online, even though the two are not related in real life.
Some of her Minecraft videos have 2.3m views on YouTube. She has recently created a new YouTube channel, Little Carly Plays, which currently has more than 30,000 subscribers, with all of the videos on the new venture having a total of 1,528,768 views.
Meanwhile on Instagram, the YouTube star has 254,000 followers. Similarly to Kelly Fitzsimons, Carina has spoken out about mental health and bullying.
In a recent post called ‘Talking Makes us Stronger’, the online entertainer said: “Talking to a friend, family member, teacher or grandparent can be extremely helpful in these [bullying] situations.”
Carina married Kodaline drummer Vinny May in 2017, after the pair had been dating for several years. The pair got engaged in New York in 2014.
8) Vlad Mare
Limerick teenager Vlade Mare runs the successful YouTube channel VladTeeVee. He currently has 1,263,633 subscribers to his channel.
The 19-year-old was born in Romania and moved to Ireland at a very young age. Since joining the video sharing platform in July 2015, his videos have been viewed a total of 151,594,926 times.
He says he uploads “videos everyday based around the newest trending topics such as top 10s, top 5s and 5-minute crafts”.
More specifically, the teenager has posted videos about the latest online trend, such as the Laurel and Yanny audio trick that went viral last month.
A video posted seven months ago, called ‘Don’t Judge Challenge Compilation Reaction’, has had 1,196,129 views.
9) Stephanie Lange
Stephanie Lange is the first non-gaming woman to enter the list. The vlogger is a professional make-up artist, so as well as posting video tutorials about make-up, she uploads content about her day-to-day life, including her struggles with anxiety.
Stephanie currently has 1.2m subscribers to her channel. Overall, her videos have been viewed 124,631,037 times on YouTube.
The Irish-based, Australian-born vlogger has had several of her videos go viral. One called ‘Foundation Dos and Don’ts’ has amassed 3.2m views, while one titled ‘Why I hide my ugly face behind make-up’ has had 888,128 views. Other popular videos include one about eyebrow hacks and about make-up for your face when you have just woken up.
The 30-year-old vlogger also posts advice videos following on from questions her fans have sent in. She has covered topics such as infidelity.
Stephanie started out posting videos in January 2013 and she is now repped by former model Andrea Roche which runs a model and influencer agency. The vlogger is also a hit on Instagram with 182,000 followers. Her exact earnings from the channel are not known but it is understood that it is her main source of income.
10) Brian McManus
Brian McManus runs Real Engineering, which has 1,105,637 subscribers and counting.
Having joined YouTube in September 2013, his videos have been viewed a total of 55,312,233 times. The 28-year-old engineer from Galway quit his job in the oil industry in 2016 to focus on online content creation. It is estimated that he earns approximately €80,000 from his online channel.
Recent videos include ‘How to solve the housing crisis’. This video alone has been viewed 349,000 times since it was uploaded one week ago. A video he put up three months ago about the ‘Truth of wireless charging’ has been viewed 1.2m times.
Surpassing 1m views per video is a common occurrence for the engineer. Brian narrates each of his videos and attracts sponsors such as such as Skill Share. Having worked as a porter in a Galway hotel just eight years ago, he now runs Junto Media Ltd, which is described as a “production studio that specialises in the creation of entertaining and informative content for a growing online audience”.
11) Sinead Cady
Cork-based vlogger Sinead Cady takes 11th spot on the YouTube list. The make-up artist is solely a beauty vlogger and her channel, the Make-up Chair, boasts 1m subscribers on YouTube.
In total, her make-up tutorial videos have amassed 127,479,233 views since her channel began in 2010. She is also popular on social media, with 50,000 followers on Instagram and 60,000 on Facebook.
One video in particular has gone viral, where she demonstrates a beginners eye make-up tutorial. So far it has had 12m views. While her earnings from the channel is not known, she previously told the Irish Examiner that she did not start out with a business venture in mind.
“I didn’t set out to create a business. I actually only started to get into studying makeup but it’s my full-time job now,” she says.
While the channel is now her full-time work, it has not been without its challenges as she had met ‘trolls’ online.
“You can’t control what is said online,” she says. “People make up stories about you and post things that can hurt deeply. When people make assumptions about you without even knowing you, that’s hard to deal with. I’ve learnt to be pretty private now, but I have met amazing people through YouTube; they make it worth it.”
12) David May
Engaged to Little Kelly Minecraft, aka Kelly Fitzsimons, David May co-runs YouTube channel Sharky & Scuba Steve. His channel currently has 954,628 subscribers.
It is part of the Little Club family, the Minecraft empire created by Kelly’s older brothers Scott and Ryan, who feature in third place on this list. The Little Club family has a host of characters in the Minecraft world it has created.
David’s own channel has been active since July 2015. His videos have amassed a total of 424,768,562 views in that time. One of his videos from 2017, has been viewed 2,849,438 times.
Sharky & Scuba Steve is just one of his online endeavours. Last February, he and Kelly set up their own channel, Kelly and David Vlogs. So far it has nearly 30,000 subscribers, having only posted three videos.
One of which is of their new adventure, where the young couple chart their move from Ireland to a different country, which they have not revealed. David said they moved in January in a “last-minute” decision and because they wanted a change of “routine.”
In a recent media interview the YouTube star described the running of the online channel as “demanding job” because of the length of time spent indoors.
“It’s a very demanding job. An average office day can be 12 or 14 hours and that can be a half day sometimes depending on the days you do,” says David.
13) Adam Beales
At only 18 years of age, this head boy from St Columb’s College in Derry has literally just finished school, but his YouTube channel, TheNewAdamb99 is already closing in on 1m subscribers.
Officially, he has 949,072 subscribers to his channel, which hosts videos of pranks and regularly stars his little brother Calum.
Based in Co Derry, Adam has also brought out his own range of merchandise, which includes hoodies and T-shirts, as well pop-sockets to attach to the back of smartphones. All of the merchandise is branded with his channel’s logo.
So far, his videos have been viewed a total of 85,796,811 times.
They include single videos of him driving through a carwash for the first time and spray painting his white runners pink and blue. A video of him pranking his little brother, pretending to be the police, has been viewed more than 600,000 times.
In another business move, he has just opened his channel up to “sponsors” where people can pay £4.99 a month for access to exclusive live streamed videos. He films all of his videos and edits them from his bedroom in his parents house. He taught himself how to shoot and edit video.
While his earnings are unknown, he has made a video about his net worth where he Googles himself to see wha the media has been writing about him. One source suggested the 18-year-old was earning around €80,000 a year, a suggestion Adam laughed off.
In a recent interview with the Irish Times, he was described as originally having dreams to study at Oxford or Harvard. However, he has opted to study at a university in Ulster so that he can continue with his fledging vlogging empire.
14) Barry Maguire
With 933,418 subscribers, Barry Maguire’s channel Donut the Dog, is also part of the Little Club Minecraft family, which stars Scott, Ryan, and Kelly Fitzsimons.
The former firefighter is also in a relationship with Lithuanian-born model Irma Mali, who had previously dated Danny O’Donoghue from The Script.
Barry’s YouTube channel was created in August 2015, and so far his videos have been viewed a total of 412,953,843 times. One of his videos has received 4,728,849 views alone.
He charts his life on two Instagram accounts, with the one dedicated to YouTube avatar Donut the Dog, having 171,000 followers. In January, he posted a photograph of himself in his old work uniform captioned with: “One of my last few days serving as a firefighter.”
The rest of his Instagram profiles his life as YouTube star with images from various trips around the world and him taking part in adventure sports. He also posts shots of himself with Scott and Ryan Fitzsimons, describing them as the “masterminds”.
15) Conor Power
Conor Power is yet another member of the Little Club Minecraft family. His character is Little Donny and his channel of the same name has 870,313 subscribers.
His channel was set up in October 2015 and so far all of his 1,701 videos have been viewed a total of 357,821,708 times.
Very little is known about this member of the Little Club family, other than that he is married to ‘Little Leah’, another of the show’s characters.
Little Leah is Vicky Power in real life. Her YouTube channel has 526,423 subscribers.
Read more here: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/lifestyle/features/from-beauty-vloggers-to-minecraft-irelands-top-youtube-earners-853790.html