Minecraft: Education Edition is Microsoft’s way of doing their part for the kids. It’s a wildly popular game for building and creativity so why not put it in the classroom for the benefit of everyone? Now, this may seem counter- intuitive to parents and orthodox teachers but the truth is that kids learn much better through visual aids and objective-based learning rather than reading off a packet or listening to a lecture in class. The game is now ready for launch on Windows 10 and MacOS and is $5 per student for a year’s subscription. Volume pricing will be available for educational institutes.
The Education Edition isn’t much different from the basic Minecraft except that it facilitates group learning and has a bunch of tools custom made for teachers. These include in-game items like a chalkboard and a camera, a map to see the location of each student, a way to give students different resources and the ability to teleport people to different locations.
Microsoft had acquired the MinecraftEdu learning game earlier this year. The app has been in development since last January and was scheduled to come out in time for the school season. It missed that deadline because the educational tools couldn’t be ready in time. But the game had already been tested by 35000 students and teachers as Microsoft announced in September.
The Minecraft: Education Edition will only be as good as its different contributors want it to be. Of course, anyone familiar with the game knows that one person can’t build an entire world so developers will make the environment rich for kids to learn. For instance, there’s one example on the game’s website of a blocky model of the human eye. Students can go inside and see what makes it tick. Similarly, people can use the game to build historical buildings and models of atoms and entire galaxies to facilitate learning. All subjects from history, language art as well as the STEM fields can be explored.
The game will be available in 50 countries with 11 languages and will ship with the Classroom Mode companion app that lets teachers interact with students. For more information, tutorials, lesson plans, starter worlds and collaborations with other students, people can visit education.minecraft.net.
In addition to the Education Edition, there’s a Minecraft Mentors addition available online to help teachers interact and learn from each other. This will help in the proliferation and betterment of models used in schools to teach. And the classroom is in desperate need of a makeover.