For educator fans of Minecraft, the wait is over.
On June 9, Microsoft announced the release of Minecraft: Education Edition for teachers, administrators and students. After hosting a beta version of the program in May to find any issues, Microsoft has released this version of the program for educators to install and try for free during the summer.
The company reports that the summer edition includes features specifically requested by beta testers. Features include:
- The ability to have up to 30 students playing in a world at the same time—no separate server required.
- "Non-player" characters to help students throughout the game, including giving instructions and offering a way for educators to insert a hyperlink to additional references or resources. (Shown above.)
- Camera features that allow students to photograph and document their gameplay and projects. (The first photo below.)
- "Chalkboards" where educators write learning goals, instructions, or any other information children need during gameplay. (The second photo below.)
The company also shares that it has released sample lessons to help get educators applying Minecraft: Education Edition in the classroom; sample topics include "Effects of deforestation" and "Exploring factors and multiples."
The program won't be free for forever, however. Microsoft reports that the complete version of Minecraft: Education Edition will be "available for purchase in September and will cost between $1 and $5 per user, per year depending on the size of your school and qualification for volume licensing offers."
If users have suggestions for future features and capabilities, Microsoft requests that users send those suggestions at http://aka.ms/meefeedback.