Minecraft has announced that it is offering educators around the world early access to Minecraft: Education Edition, giving them a chance to install the software and try an early version of the product for free.
Minecraft: Education Edition has been created following feedback from education establishments across the globe, ensuring the features and capabilities that are important to enhancing the learning experience are included.
“One of the most common requests we get from educators is the ability for students to collaborate together to build projects and solve problems,” said an official Microsoft press release. “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.”
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.
What’s more, an educator may create an non-player character (NPC) 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.
Individual student and teacher logins help identify each player in the game, and ensure data privacy and security while playing Minecraft: Education Edition. Single sign-on (SSO) capabilities are supported, so no additional passwords or accounts are required.
“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,” Microsoft said.
“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’.
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. Visit education.minecraft.net to download lessons or submit lesson ideas.
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