In a blog post yesterday, Microsoft announced that they had acquired a learning game by the name of MinecraftEdu. According to MinecraftEdu’s website, the game is “a special version of Minecraft specifically for classroom use. It contains many additions to the original game that make it more useful and appropriate in a school setting.” Produced by TeacherGaming LLC, MinecraftEdu is currently being used in over 40 countries to teach a variety of subjects ranging from STEM, Language, Art, and History.
Microsoft offers examples of the varied use of the game in their post: “Alfriston College students in New Zealand are partnering with Auckland War Memorial Museum to learn the history of the New Zealand people who served in the 1915 Gallipoli campaign by re-creating the landscape in Minecraft, block by block. Elementary students in Scotland are learning about city planning and engineering by reimaging, redesigning and then building in Minecraft what they think Dundee waterfront should look like.”
According to the their own announcement of the acquisition, MinecraftEdu has been working with Microsoft since the company’s original purchase of the base game in 2014. Together, they have worked to build a new game, Minecraft: Education Edition, which will have features inspired by MinecraftEdu. Microsoft’s immense resources will bring the game to a higher number of classrooms than ever before.
Alongside the announcement of the new game comes a trailer for it, which offers no actual gameplay footage of the title or its new features, but includes a number of educators’ opinions on how the use of Minecraft in the classroom has changed learning for both students and teachers alike.
“Minecraft is changing the way people learn.” – Adam Clarke, Freelance Minecraft Content Producer.
Educators interested in the game can find a growing community of peers on a new section of the Minecraft website. Minecraft: Education Edition will be released as a free trial in summer of 2016.