Today, we are excited to announce the release of Minecraft: Education Edition early access for educators around the world. The early access version of Minecraft: Education Edition gives educators a chance to install and try an early version of the product for free.
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.
Easy Classroom Collaboration
One of the most common requests we get from educators is the ability for students to collaborate together to build projects and solve problems. 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, and being able to demonstrate student progression. The camera and portfolio features allow students to take screenshots of their work and document the development of their projects.
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.
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. Chalkboards come in three different sizes – Slate (1×1), Poster (2×1), and Board (2×3) and can be placed either on the ground, or mounted on a vertical surface.
Simple, Secure Sign-In
Individual student and teacher logins help identify each player in the game, and ensure data privacy & security while playing Minecraft: Education Edition. Single sign-on (SSO) capabilities are supported, so no additional passwords or accounts are required.
And we’re continuing to work on a whole host of other features that the community has told us are important, including a Classroom Mode interface for educators with a map and list view of all their students, teleport capabilities, and a chat window for communication. If you have suggestions for future features and capabilities, please let us know at http://aka.ms/meefeedback.
In addition to the product features, we are also releasing updated lesson starters and starter worlds to help educators get started quickly using Minecraft: Education Edition. A range of sample lessons are available for educators to use across subjects and age levels. Each lesson includes learning objectives, activities, suggested reflection questions, and evidence of learning criteria. Some example lessons include “City Planning for Population Growth”, “Exploring factors and multiples”, and “Effects of deforestation”. Visit education.minecraft.net to download lessons or submit lesson ideas.
Many of the 100+ schools and 1,700 students participating in our Beta Program have already found great benefits of using Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom.
One of my favorite features of the new Minecraft: Education Edition is the camera and portfolio. I showed my students how to take pictures of their projects and save into their portfolio of work with captions – and they absolutely loved it! And actually they were the ones who discovered that you could place the camera and take selfies of themselves and their classmates… we had a lot of fun in class that day! –
Lisa Douthit, Media Technology Specialist, Turner Unified School District
Our teachers had been using the MinecraftEDU version for the past couple of years, and were excited to try the new Minecraft: Education Edition. The Minecraft Education team were very supportive and helpful through the Beta program. The tutorial and new features and functionality in Minecraft: Education Edition are awesome. Several of our students also enjoyed being part of the Beta program and sharing their thoughts with the Minecraft Education team. It has been a powerful, real-world learning opportunity for them.
Mark Blair, School Technology & Innovation Partner, Douglas County School District
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.
The Minecraft Education Team