VIRTUE partners with the DDR Museum to educate youth on historic value of Berlin Wall
Thirty years after the historic fall of the Berlin Wall, The DDR Museum and creative agency VIRTUE have joined forces to teach a new generation about this important moment in world history.
The wall has been recreated in the hugely popular game Minecraft Earth to help further young people's understanding of this event, bringing the historical into their everyday lives and providing a tool that can be used by both teachers and students around the world.
Spending over 300 hours of game to gather the exact materials needed for a credible and historically correct reconstruction, Tear Down That Wall is the first-ever educational tool that is integrated into Minecraft Earth. 29% of Germans were born after the wall fell and have little memory of the injustice and grief it caused — and no way to imagine how that could happen again.
Morten Grubak, Executive Creative Director, VIRTUE: “I’m proud that The DDR Museum and VIRTUE have transformed the traditional history lesson into an immersive learning experience to spark interest of younger generations.”
An immersive experience in the popular Minecraft Earth Game Minecraft Earth is the newly launched, Phone-based version of Hit Game Minecraft – a popular digital building-block based game that uses Augmented Reality to put constructions directly into the physical space as an image overlay viewed through the phone.
To make the Tear Down That Wall experience immediately accessible inside the game environment the team had to build elements of the wall on the exact same premises as every teenager in Minecraft Earth: By mining the materials inside the globally spanning parallel reality. By building iconic segments of the Wall gamers are now able to witness iconic places such as Brandenburger Tor and Mauerpark in its full scale in Augmented Reality.
To gamify the installation, users can take part in tearing down the oppressive wall with a pickaxe, just like when the wall fell back in 1989. To create a friction-free experience throwing users straight into the action, the team used Buildplates, a social gaming feature that let’s Minecraft Earth users invite friends to explore their creations side-by-side.
So with one click, users can bring up a historically correct, 1-1 full scale model of the Berlin Wall in its original location — or any other location around the world.
Gordon Freiherr von Godin, Director, The DDR Museum: “This is the first time we’re actually able to let people from all over the world tear down the wall. Being an active participant, instead of a spectator, makes a big difference with younger visitors and really catches their attention in a different way.”
The AR experience is part of a new teaching course, developed in collaboration with teachers and the DDR Museum allowing teachers, students and people from all over the world to access the Berlin Wall through Minecraft Earth and use it as a part of their class.
The teaching course provides a full curriculum, group exercises and discussion guidelines to drive critical reflection and historical empathy aimed at students from grade 6-9. The full educational plan that will guide and inspire teachers on how to implement this AR experience in their classroom, can be downloaded from www.teardownwalls.org
Emil Asmussen and Martin Nørgaard Furze, Creative Directors, VIRTUE: “By using a beloved gaming platform, we brought an overlooked piece of history to the attention of a new generation by using AR applications and interactive elements. Additionally, by expanding the gaming experience into a fully fledged teaching module, we fostered curiosity and critical reflection on the role of border walls in our own times.”