Minecraft is popular with kids, and the game’s been compared to the LEGOs of today. But can you learn with LEGOs? That’s right, today Microsoft and Mojang announced the Minecraft: Education Edition.
Not that this is an entirely novel concept. Minecraft has been used to teach since 2011, with MinecraftEdu. It’s used in the classrooms of over 40 countries to help students learn. Microsoft and Mojang have acquired the program and appear to be running with it.
“One of the reasons Minecraft fits so well in the classroom is because it’s a common, creative playground,” said Vu Bui, COO of Mojang. “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.”
Minecraft: Education Edition will see its launch this summer, and there will be a free trial available then. Plus, any current MinecraftEdu customers will get the first year for free.
And for anyone fearful that the Education Edition will just be a repackaged MinecraftEdu, fear not. Mojang detailed a few features of this expanded version of the game as part of the F.A.Q.:
What is Minecraft: Education Edition?
Minecraft: Education Edition is a version of the popular open world game, Minecraft, specifically designed for classroom use. It contains features that make Minecraft more accessible and effective in a classroom setting including:
- Enhanced maps with coordinates for students and teachers to find their way around the Minecraft world together.
- 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.
- World import and export, where teachers and students can create and save their worlds in the game.
So that’s it in a nutshell. Hopefully this the start of a trend of using video games to help teach, proving to certain people out there that video games do more than instill violence in those who play them.