'Minecraft: Education Edition' Going Official On Nov. 1 For School Teachers And Students

23 September 2016, 8:56 am EDT By Carl Velasco Tech Times
Microsoft announced that it is rolling out the full version of "Minecraft: Education Edition" on the start of November. Teachers, students and educators received an early access of the education-focused program in June.  ( Minecraft: Education Edition | YouTube )

On Nov. 1 Microsoft will officially roll out the complete version of Minecraft: Education Edition in time for the 2016 school year.

Minecraft: Education Edition is a carbon offspring of the immensely popular game by Mojang. It still largely retains what attracted users to the game in the first place: being able to create anything you please, the only difference is that the education edition is streamlined for teachers, educators and students to be a staple element of an efficient learning environment for schools.

In June this year, Microsoft released an early access version of the game offering a free trial for teachers. A month prior, it hosted a beta program, which garnered feedback from 2,000 teachers and students who represented over a hundred schools across 26 different countries. Now, that number has ballooned to 35,000, and Microsoft wasted no time in cultivating this data, taking substantial advantage of it in fine-tuning the Minecraft experience in relation to school settings.

"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," said Microsoft in a blog post. "We're committed to releasing the highest quality product that is reliable and secure to use in classrooms around the world, and we will continue to improve Minecraft: Education Edition with each release."

Once it goes live, the service will cost $5 per year per user with plans to offer special district licenses. The early access edition will still be available up until the full version release.

New features include a "Classroom Mode," a companion app to provide a communication channel between teachers and their students, along with enabling them to manage world settings, give items and teleport their students within the Minecraft world. It allows them to have interaction, which is crucial considering students would conceptually be left to their own devices as they create and experiment.

The education edition will additionally have the features embedded in regular Minecraft releases. All the latest updates available in the Windows 10 beta release of the game will also be found in the education edition. Additional player skins, pistons, leads, horses and an updated user interface are among the things in the list of updates that will appear in both the game and the education edition.

As previously mentioned, the early access edition will still be available up until Nov. 1, a sufficient window of opportunity for educators to enlist, if they haven't tried the program previously or are just hearing about it now. The education edition website offers free resources like lesson plans, starter worlds, tutorials and a mentor program to help new users understand how teaching works through Minecraft.

The program will be available both on Windows 10 and OS X El Capitan, but requires an Office 365 Education account.

Minecraft was created by indie studio Mojang, which in 2014 Microsoft acquired for $2.5 billion.

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