Since its official release in 2011, Minecraft has become quite the phenomenon and especially among a younger audience, with Microsoft and Mojang (which the company purchased in 2014) seeking to expand the game’s appeal beyond games with further developments in the field of using Minecraft for educational purposes.
Microsoft announced today that the company has officially acquired MinecraftEdu, a third-party developed version of Minecraft used in schools and universities since 2011, from its developers at TeacherGaming – however, specific details of the acquisition have not been revealed at this time.
Microsoft and Mojang’s acquisition of MinecraftEdu will begin with the development of Minecraft: Education Edition, which will take the ideas and utilities of MinecraftEdu and expand them for learning and educational purposes, with MinecraftEdu having been used in over 40 countries across the globe and the new Education Edition to offer “features that make Minecraft more accessible and effective in a classroom setting,” with specific features including:
- Enhanced maps with coordinates for students and teachers to find their way around the Minecraft world together.
- Student Portfolio feature, where students can take photos and selfies to show their work and learning.
- Enhanced multiplayer, where a classroom of up to 40 students can work together toward a greater world in Minecraft.
- Login and personalization, where students have personalized avatars and feel more engaged in the game and teachers can know who each player is.
- World import and export, where teachers and students can create and save their worlds in the game.
Mojang’s Owen Hill explained in a statement that “every Minecraft player learns essential life-skills like tree-punching and good Creeper-defense,” but also added “when used in the right way, Minecraft can help people around the world to learn lots more.”
Mojang explained that the pricing plan for Minecraft: Education Edition will aim to keep the software at a low price barrier and make it as “affordable and accessible as possible,” with plans for a one-user license to be offered at $5/year, with other large volume license options to be offered for “large-scale academic institutions,” with more information to come later this year. Mojang will also offer users that purchased the original iteration of MinecraftEdu a one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition free for one year.
Minecraft: Education Edition will be offered primarily for institutions such as schools, universities, museums, libraries, and other public learning facilities such as home schooling programs: full details of eligibility for Minecraft: Education Edition are available here, along with an extensive FAQ with more details on the new version. A free trial of the software will also be released this summer, with a video explaining the program available to view below: