Microsoft today revealed the pre-release schedule for Minecraft: Education Edition, with a limited beta version shipping in May and a broader Early Access program starting in June. Any educator will be able to download and try the early access version of Minecraft: Education Edition on Windows 10 or Mac OS X El Capitan for free.
Microsoft announced Minecraft: Education Edition back in January as part of its acquisition of Minecraft for Education. At the time, the software giant said that Minecraft: Education Edition would be available as a free trial “this summer,” and in time for the new school year.
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Now we have a bit more clarity on those plans.
In May, Microsoft will offer a Minecraft: Education Edition beta program to over 100 schools from 30 countries around the world. This beta will be used to get more detailed feedback on the product so Microsoft can fine-tune for the diverse learning environments of its customers.
In June, Microsoft will release Minecraft: Education Edition in an early access program so that any educator can download and try it for free, and provide Microsoft with feedback. Minecraft: Education Edition early access will be available in 11 languages and 41 countries, Microsoft says.
“During the summer months, we are also going to be focused on working with educators on building out lesson plans, sharing learning activity ideas, and creating re-usable projects,” the Minecraft Education team notes. “If you are new to Minecraft, or if you aren’t sure where to start in bringing Minecraft into your classroom and incorporating into your curriculum, the early access program is going to be a great way to familiarize yourself with Minecraft: Education Edition.”