Students get creative with digital designs for Level Up Calgary: Minecraft Education Edition challenge

The City of Calgary's Resilient Calgary program proudly continues its collaboration with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), the Calgary Public Library, and Microsoft Canada to launch Level Up Calgary Season Two, the first Minecraft Education Edition challenge of its kind in Canada.

This spring, the Level Up Calgary Season Two: Achievement Unlocked project expanded the existing partnership among the CBE, The City of Calgary, Microsoft, and Minecraft Education to include students from the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) and Rocky View Schools (RVS) to create digital design solutions that could be recreated into real-life solutions.

"Much like the Minecraft world, student creations show us that imagination, innovative spirit, problem-solving abilities, and technology skills have no limits. I'm proud of the hard work and thinking that went into building inclusive and sustainable spaces where everyone belongs. And the best part is, you had fun learning", says Greg Luterbach, Superintendent of Schools for Rocky View Schools. He further adds, "as one of the judges in this year's competition, I've been blown away by the quality of the spaces you designed and the sustainable future you envision for Calgary and our region. Thank you to each student."

Students were tasked to design dynamic and sustainable public spaces that celebrate diversity, foster equity, and create unity for all Calgarians. This challenge provided a unique opportunity for all grade students to grow their digital skills while preparing them to become future change-makers in a fun and creative way.

“The Level Up Calgary Minecraft Design challenge has changed the reality of teaching and learning in our city and across the globe. Level Up Calgary has inspired the way we consider student engagement and learning in a world that is shaped by digital technology and global information,” noted Joanne Pitman, Calgary Board of Education Superintendent of School Improvement, “In the world of Minecraft, students have collaborated with classmates, explored limitless creativity, and learned the importance of digital citizenship. They have accomplished all of this while exploring significant places in the city of Calgary as imagined in the Minecraft world, and their designs contribute to the resilience of the city in which they live. This is no small achievement.”

For this 2023 competition stage, students chose from four different build sites: Sien Lok Park, Fort Calgary, an underground Green Line LRT Station at Eau Claire, and the Central Library LitCon street festival. This season also launched a special challenge exclusively for kindergarteners in partnership with the Calgary Public Library.

Approximately 30,000 students from all grade levels participated, resulting in a total of 72 finalists. The judges evaluated the finalists' submissions and selected 19 winners.

Dr. Bryan Szumlas, Chief Superintendent, CCSD announced “On behalf of the Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD), I am honoured to congratulate our Level Up Calgary Season Two winners. I am incredibly proud of each of you and all the CCSD students and teachers who participated in this season’s Minecraft Education challenge. Every CCSD student submission demonstrated ingenuity and collaboration and supported diversity and inclusivity. I thank you all for your participation and hard work. I also thank The City of Calgary, Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and Microsoft Canada for extending their partnership to CCSD and providing our students with a unique digital learning opportunity.”

The groundbreaking success of Level Up Calgary has gained momentum, with many other cities following The City of Calgary's lead. In 2023, Level Up programs have been launched in Los Angeles and Winnipeg, with similar initiatives underway in London, New York, Buenos Aires, and Toronto.

Jason Cameron, Economic Resilience Lead of The City’s Collaboration, Analytics & Innovation (CAI) team concludes “This partnership highlights our collective commitment to engaging students in our city’s future while showcasing the growing creativity Calgary has as a great place to implement new ideas for Microsoft’s Minecraft.”

The Level Up Calgary Season Two awards ceremony can be watched at, and student submissions will be displayed at the Calgary Public Library throughout the month of July, along with video presentations from the finalists.