The next logical evolution of Minecraft as a platform has finally happened. Microsoft has announced that they’re bringing an educational version of the hyper-popular game to the classroom. The move involves the acquisition of popular educational mod MinecraftEdu. Mojang is now looking to expand the reach of Minecraft as a platform for learning through building and exploration.
The game is already being used in schools across the United States as a tool for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Previously, this was mostly at the initiative of entrepreneurial educators rather than through formal support from Microsoft and Mojang. That will all change this coming summer, when Education Edition lands as a free trial that schools can take for a whirl.
Much like anything to do with the most popular game in the world, a lot of what goes into Education Edition will involve community-generated content. This time, however, the community will be a group of collaborating teachers and educators:
“…we are dedicated to making sure Minecraft: Education Edition is shaped in the coming months by a growing community of educators online at education.minecraft.net. We’re also excited to also share that these community pages will host a variety of resources like lesson plans and a new Minecraft Mentors page that allows educators experienced in Minecraft to connect with those interested in trying it for the first time.”
At its release, Education Edition won’t be too different from what you can get with the MinecraftEdu mod. Mojang will be adding some features designed for ease of use, as well as a few starter lessons to get teachers acclimated to the platform.
After the free trial period, Minecraft: Education Edition will come free with a school’s premium Office365 subscription. Teachers will also be able to purchase the game-as-a-learning-platform without a premium subscription to Office365. Pricing details have yet to be formally announced, but plans are to “keep the price at $5 per user per year.”