Is it too late for me, a fully grown man with a university education, to return to elementary school? I certainly hope not now that Microsoft has officially announced Minecraft: Education Edition.
Minecraft: Education Edition is almost identical to the game you already know and love but with options specifically designed for classroom use. It includes enhanced maps with coordinates for students and teachers to find their way around the Minecraft world together, a Student Portfolio feature, where students can take photos and selfies to show their work and learning, enhanced multiplayer, where a classroom of up to 40 students can work together toward a greater world in Minecraft, login and personalization, where students have personalized avatars and feel more engaged in the game and teachers can know who each player is, and world import and export, where teachers and students can create and save their worlds in the game.
Though Minecraft: Education Edition has been around since 2011, used in 40 countries around the world but it has now been acquired by Microsoft and will have an expanded set of features. The game will be available as a free trial from summer and, presumably to get schools on board, it’ll be free for use for the first year. “One of the reasons Minecraft fits so well in the classroom is because it’s a common, creative playground,” says Mojang’s COO Vu Bui in the official announcement. “We’ve seen that Minecraft transcends the differences in teaching and learning styles and education systems around the world. It’s an open space where people can come together and build a lesson around nearly anything.”
What can students learn from playing Minecraft: Education Edition? Geometry, resilience, coding and pretty much everything under the sun.
The only worry is…what if including Minecraft in school curriculum makes it uncool?