'Minecraft' game used to teach 12-year-olds about religion by Spanish priest

A Spanish priest uses the computer game "Minecraft" to teach 12-year-old students in his religion class.

Daniel Pajuelo Vazquez, a Marianist Catholic priest and innovative educator, created the Zona Educativa Minecraft (translated as Minecraft Education Zone) project to teach secondary students the construction of a Catholic parish. He takes his class of 12-year-old students out to the real physical church so they can take down notes and then create a virtual version through the game.

(REUTERS/Microsoft)An in-game screenshot of "Minecraft" is seen in this undated publicity image.

"I thought it was cool and significant to connect tech and religion," Vazquez told Daily Edventures in February during an interview.

Vazquez's project has been deemed so cool that he just made national appearance on Spanish television because of it. According to Rome Reports, Vazquez also attracted the attention of the global computer company Microsoft, whose CEO Satya Nadella visited the school Vazquez teaches at and invited him to Brussels so he can introduce his project there.

The theologian and computer engineer has also employed newfound ways in teaching such as creating a workshop for Arduino and Raspberry Pi to uplift students flunking in their studies. He released a rap music video with Davidhs, a group of Catholic rappers, to encourage Christians to be bold in sharing their faith with others. Vazquez also gained the attention of Goliath Games, a Spanish company selling Rubik's Cube, when he incorporated it into his teaching.

Vazquez considers teaching as a vocation linked to his calling.

"This vocation is connected with the inner calling I received from God to share my life generously and help others to experience the love of God in their lives," he said.

He revealed that he found God's calling at the age of 17.

Vazquez said, "I had a strong experience of the presence of God in my life; I felt really loved as I was, with my weaknesses and inconsistences. That experience made me stronger, filled me with energy, and made me put my life to the service of others, especially the most disadvantaged."

He joined the Society of Mary congregation and devoted his life to teaching as well as serving the drug-addicted, AIDS-stricken patients and prisoners.

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