Microsoft launches new Minecraft site for educators

Rebecca Lambert
Rebecca Lambert
By Rebecca Lambert on 01 July 2015
Microsoft launches new Minecraft site for educators

Educators now have a space to share ideas about how they can use Minecraft in their lessons, thanks to the launch of a new website revealed at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference 2015 taking place in Philadelphia, US this week.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Minecraft is a video game where you use 3D blocks of all different varieties to build structures and characters – a virtual Lego, so to speak. Already hugely popular with children, the game is now making its way into classrooms and Microsoft wants to be there to help educators understand how they can incorporate gaming into their lesson plans.

In essence, the Minecraft in education site is a space for sharing ideas. “Share your story. Ask a question. Find a partner to help create your first Minecraft lesson. Tell us what you’ve learned so far, and help inspire the world to change the way we learn,” says the welcome note on the website.

Already, schools worldwide are using Minecraft in their lessons. In a blog, Microsoft’s vice president of Worldwide Education Anthony Salcito mentioned a school in Seattle where students are learning foundational maths skills by calculating perimeter, area and volume in Minecraft. And in New Zealand, Alfriston College students 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.

Also unveiled by Microsoft at ISTE this week are previews of two new Office 365 Education services – Microsoft Class Dashboard and Microsoft School Information Sync, which are designed to improve teacher-student collaboration and make it easier to sync data across systems. A new student engagement and classroom insights platform from Bing Pulse debuted too.

In addition, global education network Edmodo is integrating Office 365 into its platform, so that teachers and students can use Microsoft’s productivity tools within Edmodo.

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