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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3031 Comments
  • elsaqueen11
    elsaqueen11Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 6:11 am
    At my school and my sister's school they blocked any way for you to look at it at all... That makes me sad 😢😢😢
    • cachetes
      cachetesTuesday, May 12, 2020 at 7:31 pm
      So sad
      • lazypump61
        lazypump61Friday, March 20, 2020 at 2:34 pm
        at my school we could t play min craft you can go on gool and typ mincraft classic
      • little_angel27
        little_angel27Monday, March 16, 2020 at 6:12 pm
        this is an afterschool activity in my school but it is always full.
        • cutefurrygamer
          cutefurrygamerMonday, May 18, 2020 at 7:45 am
          That's not surprising some schools have Lego as a class you can take
          • cachetes
            cachetesTuesday, May 12, 2020 at 7:32 pm
            I wish my school had Minecraft
          • hackerifu
            hackerifuMonday, March 16, 2020 at 3:38 pm
            I have Minecraft for Xbox one s
            • btnoob
              btnoobSunday, March 15, 2020 at 12:32 pm
              I like the pandas🐼 in minecraft!
              • cutefurrygamer
                cutefurrygamerSunday, May 17, 2020 at 6:32 pm
                Yea they are so cute
              • btnoob
                btnoobSunday, March 15, 2020 at 12:23 pm
                I'm in 2020 and they don't have it yet!!!
                • unspekable
                  unspekableTuesday, March 24, 2020 at 1:29 pm
                  same with me fam
                  • darkhunter
                    darkhunterMonday, March 16, 2020 at 10:29 am
                    :( I'v been using snapshot because well BLUE FIRE!!!
                  • sans_and_sonic
                    sans_and_sonicFriday, March 13, 2020 at 8:15 am
                    This Is AMazing , I still want to play Undertale, But Still MINECRAFT IN SCHOOL....... AMAZING
                    • darksonik
                      darksonikFriday, March 13, 2020 at 8:12 am
                      I am glade that minecraft is coming to schools it is about time
                      • alphys
                        alphysThursday, March 12, 2020 at 11:09 am
                        cool I play minecraft but i think that undertale is better :}
                        • gamerboy56
                          gamerboy56Sunday, March 29, 2020 at 8:08 am
                          nope little girl
                        • zaydenz277
                          zaydenz277Tuesday, March 10, 2020 at 12:49 pm
                          I play Minecraft on ps4. I want minecraft on nintendo 3ds.
                          • spykitten
                            spykittenSunday, March 8, 2020 at 5:35 pm
                            That is really cool. I like normal creative better, but that is WAY better than math!