This morning Microsoft launched Minecraft: Education Edition early access for educators to download, try, and learn it during the US summer months for free before our general availability in the fall.
Minecraft: Education Edition is built based on feedback from the educator community and the features and capabilities they have told us are important to enhancing the learning experience:
And they’ve refreshed the website with new content, lesson plans, and curriculum.
Easy Classroom Collaboration: In Minecraft: Education Edition, an entire classroom of up to 30 students can play in a world together without a separate server required. Or, students can work together in pairs or groups simply by joining their classmates’ worlds.
Camera and Portfolio: Another important aspect of Minecraft in education is being able to collect evidence of learning in the game. The camera and portfolio features allow students to take screenshots of their work and document the development of their projects.
Non-Player Characters: An educator may create an NPC (Non-Player Character) to act as a guide for students in the game, giving instruction, providing more information, and also allowing educators to insert an active web link to additional references.
Chalkboards: Similar to an NPC, educators can use chalkboards to communicate learning goals, provide information, give explicit instructions, or challenge students with problems to solve within the game.
The complete version of Minecraft: Education Edition will be available for purchase in September and will cost between $1 and $5 per user, per year depending on the size of your school and qualification for volume licensing offers. To start using Minecraft: Education Edition early access,
- Upgrade your computer to Windows 10 or OS X El Capitan
- Sign up for a free Office 365 Education account using your school or district email
- Download Minecraft: Education Edition and start playing!
We will be hosting training sessions on Minecraft: Education Edition along with many great sessions led by the community of game-based learning educators at ISTE – we hope you can join us! And for those not attending ISTE, reach out to one of our Minecraft Mentors to learn more. For more information and resources on Minecraft: Education Edition, and to sign up for updates, please visit education.minecraft.net