Minecraft May Finally Be Coming To US Schools


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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  • laynebot5
    laynebot5Thursday, August 6, 2020 at 6:55 pm
    Cool I love Minecraft
    • 29zabraham
      29zabrahamSunday, July 26, 2020 at 3:16 pm
      I like Roblox better but ok 👌
      • videogamenerd
        videogamenerdSaturday, June 27, 2020 at 6:56 am
        Hi I'm new here and I love videogames! it is kind of obvious because it is in my name (videogamenerd). Anyway this article was very coo l because there is such thing as a educational Minecraft game! That is awesome because students can have fun and get to learn at the same time! I would like to try this at my school, but I don't think they would allow the students to.😢 On the bright side I can always look it up and play it on a computer or tablet! If you like this article is and this I it is amazing and you want to try it please like this comment and follow me! PS: I will follow you back, but you will have to wait a couple of hours for me to do it, thanks to the ones who are going to do this!😁
        • animereina2020
          animereina2020Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 6:51 am
          That is JUST what we need in middle school!
          • videogamenerd
            videogamenerdFriday, June 26, 2020 at 7:47 pm
            Hello I'm new to this, so everyone you will mostly find me around the videogame section! This is really cool because Minecraft can be educational to students in school and mine craft is a really cool game ! Every time I play Minecraft I make roller coasters and bases and all sorts of amazing things. If you like videogames please like this comment and follow me!
            • wolfieland
              wolfielandWednesday, June 10, 2020 at 8:41 am
              OMG I LOVE MINECRAFT!! but i wish it wasent educational and minecraft isnt in my school. :(
              • legendofzelda
                legendofzeldaFriday, May 29, 2020 at 7:41 am
                Minecraft has educational worlds in the marketplace...
                • wolfieland
                  wolfielandMonday, August 10, 2020 at 2:07 pm
                  that is true...
                • l78
                  l78Tuesday, May 19, 2020 at 5:17 pm
                  MINECRAFT Is awsome!
                  • blueclaw
                    blueclawTuesday, May 19, 2020 at 5:10 pm
                    • blueclaw
                      blueclawTuesday, May 19, 2020 at 5:03 pm