The folks at Mojang have once again upped their game by announcing Minecraft: Education Edition, a new version of the classic game specifically designed with the classroom environment in mind.
For those that have been following the various evolutions of Minecraft since the early days before the Microsoft acquisition in 2014, an educational version of the game should sound awfully familiar. That’s because it’s already a thing called MinecraftEdu - a version of the game specifically modified for use by teachers. Mojang (and by extension Microsoft) has acquired MinecraftEdu, which is essentially the basis of all this.
Mojang’s announcement of the acquisition and new version states that they will be “building upon [MinecraftEdu’s] proven success to create a new version of Minecraft that’s dedicated to learning.” Basically, they intend to take what’s already working and add even more stuff to it. But what exactly is going into the new edition of the game? Here’s the features the new FAQ describes Minecraft: Education Edition as having:
- 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.
The company has also launched a new website specifically devoted to their educational efforts. The website will host resources like lesson plans as well as forums for teachers. “We know teachers can be a rowdy bunch,” the announcement jests, “so we’re looking into the best ways to moderate the forums as I type. Wish us luck.”
Minecraft: Education Edition is scheduled to launch as a free trial this summer, with an eventual price point of $5 per user per year. Current MinecraftEdu customers will be offered the first year of Minecraft: Education Edition for free.