UCC builds on Boole’s logic and learning with virtual university

A virtual UCC quad is to feature in a Minecraft version of the university.

Some 50,000 school students from more than 30 countries have signed up to use educational 3D logical puzzles in “Boole World”.

The virtual project is part of the Boole200 project which celebrates the bicentenary of the birth of George Boole, UCC’s first professor of mathematics, now widely recognised as the founder of modern computer science.

Accessing Minecraft’s Boole World will position up to 100 players at a time in the centre of the quad at UCC, from where all three wings of the building can be explored to access puzzles based on boolean logic. Students will use lesson plans developed by Maths Circles Ireland for the Boole2School programme.

Minecraft is an open world game that allows players to explore their environment, build, gather resources and interact with other players. It is the third highest selling computer game ever. Swedish developers Mojang sold Minecraft to Microsoft for €2.25bn in 2014.

There are 100m registered users of Minecraft, which can be played on computers, consoles or mobile devices.

Increasing numbers of classrooms worldwide recognise the creative potential of the game and use it as an instruction tool.

Boole World was designed by Aaron Bolger, a PhD candidate at UCC’s department of applied psychology. As well as teaching logic, Boole World is equipped with a programme to track the usage of the puzzles and study how students learn the concepts.

“Each piece of logic has a demonstrated example, which the student learns by pulling switches in order to cause a light to turn on. This example is then followed by a short puzzle that can be solved by applying the same logic that was just demonstrated,” Mr Bolger said.

Students will be presented with increasingly complex puzzles which build on the knowledge they have just gained, Mr Bolger said.

“This culminates in a larger puzzle at the end of the route that the student must solve in order to leave.”

There will be Boole2School lessons, in English and Irish, taking place in the quad on campus at UCC on George Boole Day, November 2. Registration details for Boole2School: georgeboole.com/boole2school.


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