Microsoft will launch an educational version of Minecraft this summer

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Minecraft’s potential as an educational tool has been explored numerous times over the years, but Microsoft will bring it past the point of experimentation with a full-on educational version of the game this summer, known as the Minecraft: Education Edition. It’ll be based on the existing MinecraftEdu program, which is a modded version of Minecraft that’s designed for education, and will expand on the program’s features in a number of ways. As I mentioned before, the game won’t be released until this summer, but the official website still has a number of resources available to help educators prepare for the release, such as forums and starter lessons. 

Launching this summer, Minecraft: Education Edition will be an “expanded” version of Minecraft for classrooms, distributed to educational institutions worldwide. Based on the already existing MinecraftEdu program—a modded version of Minecraft, used for teaching, which Microsoft has acquired—this new edition wants to help things along by launching a community site that, as the announcement from Mojang puts it, will “host lesson plans and give Minecraft: Education Edition users somewhere to discuss ideas and provide feedback.” According to the new site’s FAQ, what the developers are actually doing with the Education Edition is “growing and expanding” MinecraftEdu’s features—there’s a list of changes showing exactly what will be different compared to the game’s regular version. It’s multiplayer Minecraft with an educational twist, basically, where you can play together with your class on a Minecraft server and learn about (or teach) all kinds of subjects—as the FAQ puts it, “from math and physics to history and language arts.” Sounds more fun than the classes I’m used to, at least.

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