Minecraft May Finally Be Coming To US Schools

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Photo Credit: Minecraft: Education Edition

Shortly before the school year ended in June, 1,700 American kids got to do what most students can only dream of — play video games in class. No, the 100 educators that allowed this were not slacking off. They were helping Microsoft beta test a new Minecraft Education Edition, which the company plans to offer to schools across the globe within the next few weeks.

While the computer game, which challenges kids to use their imagination by building futuristic virtual worlds, has been offered in Swedish schools since 2013, it has not been widely embraced by educators elsewhere. But project director Deirdre Quarnstrom believes that this new education version, where students get to create their own stories and games, will be a huge success with both student and teachers.

Photo Credit: education.minecraft.net

Of course, the classroom version will have some differences from the traditional game you might play at home. Non-player characters, placed into the game by teachers, will provide guidance and narration, while a chalkboard will allow them to write instructions. A control panel called Classroom Mode will enable educators to grant students access to resources, monitor their location, send messages, and even teleport students to the right place should they wander off or get lost. Teachers unfamiliar with the game can select from numerous pre-created immersive lesson plans that range from exploring the Temple of Artemis to modeling biodiversity loss.

For educators concerned that bringing video games into the classroom might reduce classroom collaboration, there is a multi-player mode. Using this, students can enter other’s games and help their peers solve an issue they may be struggling with or test out new ideas.

Photo Credit: education.minecraft.net

However, while these features add more structure and allow teachers to give specific assignments, students still have complete freedom to use their imagination and creativity to program a game based on their interest, whether it’s a science-fiction movie or their favorite fantasy series. Quarnstrom says Microsoft has kept the game “pure” to ensure kids (aged 5 and above) have an authentic Minecraft experience." The director believes that "a lot of what creates that kind of magical educational experience is the no-rules sandbox environment. Students really feel inspired to keep going and set up their own challenges, which is exactly what educators want to see."

The students and teachers fortunate to be selected for the June beta test seem to agree. 13-year-old Elena Rezac, who built a quest-driven maze inspired by the science fiction movie,"The Maze Runner,” says that the game is “lots of fun because you can do whatever you want." Her teacher, Steve Isaacs, approves of the game because it encourages students to be inventive. The educator says that the game’s varied choices allow every kid to find an area where he/she can succeed.

Photo Credit: education.minecraft.net

The Minecraft Education Edition that is expected to cost between $1 to $5 a student, will be launched sometime this month. Meanwhile, educators can introduce gaming to their classrooms by signing up for the beta version. While it doesn’t have all the features of the final product, it is a good way how students engage with this popular video game, without paying a dime.

Resources: Fastcompany.com,the verge.com,cnnmoney.com

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3132 Comments
  • rofydygokyko
    I love Minecraft, it is the best game ever!
    • dark_wolf_alpha
      OMG its the best game ever My username is: Darkewolfalpha
    • cmason1
      cmason124 days
      i just got a computer and minecraft for a early b-day gift.
      • legomasters
        legomastersabout 1 month
        Omg, wouldn't it be so cool if they had a Minecraft emoji?? Like Steve's face oor something...
        • luketheawesome
          That seems like a good idea, but several things would have to change. While most parents are okay with it, some wouldn't want their children to play Minecraft all day. Plus, some families (like my own) have certain restrictions when it comes to things like sorcery and dragons. Otherwise, Mine craft is the perfect game to teach children with!!! 🎮🎮🎮
          • lilypads
            lilypads3 months
            I play roblox too!!!!!
            • lilypads
              lilypads3 months
              I have play Minecraft for 2 years and I'm not the best but I'm sure good I'm very bad at PvP games
              • kittiesmama
                kittiesmama3 months
                I just got an Xbox 360 you know OG (original) for an early birthday gift and I got like 15 games and all I ever play is minecraft! On creative! I hate survival the spiders and monsters creep me out *shivers* but whatever you can still do everything almost that you can in survival you can enchant make potions go to the neather! And almost everything else you can do in survival!
                • lilypads
                  lilypads3 months
                  Just 2say lucky
                  • lilypads
                    lilypads3 months
                    Really spiders are not scary I just don't like skeletons there have bows
                  • kittiesmama
                    kittiesmama3 months
                    I was born in 2009 so wow!!!! That's weird I have been playing since about 2018 or 19
                    • lilypads
                      lilypads3 months
                      And I was born 2 years later in your differents in 2011 I came into dis world
                    • comikos
                      comikos4 months
                      Minecraft was one of the first video games I ever played, besides Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U.
                      • lilypads
                        lilypads3 months
                        Same but not the Mario cart thing