Microsoft Ships Minecraft: Education Edition

Posted on November 1, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Windows 10 with 4 Comments

Microsoft Ships Minecraft: Education Edition

Today, Microsoft announced the availability of Minecraft: Education Edition in over 50 countries around the world.

Minecraft: Education Edition was built with the help of more than 50,000 students and educators who participated in our early access program and provided valuable feedback to help us fine-tune the experience across a diverse set of learning environments,” a Microsoft representative told me.

Microsoft announced Minecraft: Education Edition as part of its acquisition of MinecraftEdu in January 2016, well after its 2014 purchase of Mojang, which owned the mainstream versions of the game. After a short limited beta, Minecraft: Education Edition launched publicly in an Early Access Program back in June, giving educators an early (and free) peek at the experience. Then, in September, it said that Minecraft: Education Edition would ship on November 1.

Well, look at the date.

The generally available version of Minecraft: Education Edition includes everything educators saw in the Early Access Program. But it also adds new features, such as the Classroom Mode companion app that lets educators manage world settings, communicate with students, gift items, and teleport students in the virtual Minecraft world.

“Classroom Mode displays a map view of the Minecraft world, a list of all the students in the world, a set of world management settings and a chat window,” Microsoft told me. “There is even a Minecraft clock to show time of day in the world. Classroom Mode offers educators the ability to interact with students and manage settings from a central user interface.”

Of course, now that Minecraft: Education Edition is shipping, it’s no longer free. But the cost is reasonable at $5 per student per school year. Microsoft also offers education volume licensing discounts.

You can find out more about Minecraft: Education Edition on the web, and be sure to check out the Minecraft Mentors program, which connects educators with others who are teaching with Minecraft.

 

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Comments (4)

4 responses to “Microsoft Ships Minecraft: Education Edition”

  1. 5234

    This is interesting, as far as turning the classroom into play time.

    This kind of stuff irks me.  Students needs to learn early that learning isn't play time.  It's serious work, and they need to be good at it.  Game-ifying the classroom just makes kids think that life is fun and they can do what they want.  The reality is that kids need to learn hard math, get proper computers skills (either technical skills, or be proficient in productivity applications), maybe learn some sciences, to prepare them for the cold hard truth that they'll get a job working for less than they envision, have to get a mortgage to pay for their house, have to make car payments and pay for up-keep, and maybe have an understanding of how the Real World works.  Learning shouldn't be "fun".  Life is hard.  Motivation towards competition, completion, and accomplishment should be instilled in young minds - and teachers can do that without letting them play video games.

    I'm an advocate for keeping work and play time separate.  Your personal life should be separate from your work life, although many corporations would make workers into little slaves where they don't know the difference.  This is also a fault of modern teaching.

    • 4327

      In reply to Waethorn: " Students needs to learn early that learning isn't play time."  It has been shown that the best learning comes in play time. Play is for children "serious work".  Learning should indeed be "fun"--for if it is fun, one will continue it and keep learning. I am sorry you had such a lousy education and teaching environment. 
      Motivation towards competition, completion, and accomplishment should be instilled in young minds--that pretty much sums up play. 
      The job of children is to play and create and in so doing learn, and if done right, they will have abilities to face those "cold hard truths" to which you refer or ignore them if need be. And they will not be pre-programed into some mindset that will probably be taken over by pre-programmed robots anyway. Also you kind of leave out many of those things that kids so need to learn, like reading, art, music, literature, and sports. Things that they will enjoy when the become adults. 
      I am glad you are not my grandchildren's' teacher--they may end up being miserable when they are adults, but there is absolutely no reason for them to be so when they are children.
       

       

  2. 7932

    This reply is more directed towards the Premium side comments:

    I was curious about the hoopla around Minecraft, so I bought a licence for a copy on Xbox 360. I'd have to say it has a certain educational value it, far beyond the 'building of structures' aspect, although there is some technical redstone circuit stuff in that mode that I haven't touched yet myself. That could be useful to older students who are trying to master the basics of digital logic.

    In Survival mode, I think the game logic really comes alive, whereas in Build mode, there is basically no reason to do anything except fool around placing blocks into pleasing structures. I hope that is not the entire focus of "education mode", whatever that turns out to be.

    The real education comes with learning the game logic, essentially 'the why' of why various resources and crafting methods are built into the game, and why you need them, in order to make steady progress in the game. I tend to think of Minecraft as being 'enjoyable homework', rather than actually wasting class time playing the game. Class time might be used effectively to answer questions and evaluate student homework in the game. More mature students could potentially learn some of the joy of teaching, by helping the less experienced make progress in their Minecraft world. They could all start with the same world seed, but all playing in one world at the same time? Chaos would most likely ensue (there is always a bad apple or two in every class).

     

  3. 5184

    $5 per user per year will be tough for some schools/districts to cover.  That's disappointing.

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