Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Minecraft Educational Edition is Coming to your Kid's School

Image Credit: Minecraft Education Edition

Yesterday Microsoft announced their acquisition of MinecraftEdu, a school-ready remix of the massively popular game, Minecraft. If you're still wondering, what is Minecraft, read our guide for concerned parents.

Microsoft's Minecraft Education Edition will be launched in the summer of 2016. It will build on MinecraftEdu, previously owned by TeacherGaming LLC, which is already used by many schools to enhance lessons and teach various subjects in the curriculum.

This move by Microsoft, shows their commitment to education and will be a welcome additions for schools already using Office 365. They plan to bundle the lot to simplify logins and servers for schools.

Schools already using MinecraftEdu will be able to continue to use their licences and will then receive a one year free licence for Minecraft Education Edition. A free trial of Minecraft Education Edition will be available in the summer.

Each student and teacher will require a licence to play, to allow personalised characters. Microsoft's currently plans to keep these licences affordable for schools at $5 per user.

  • BETT 2016: Through this week educators attending the UK educational show in London, will be able to play, create and learn more about Minecraft Education Edition

Too much Minecraft?

Some parents may feel confused by this decision. Especially those with kids that play Minecraft endlessly at home. Educators and schools believe this is a welcome addition to the classroom. Kids are more engaged when they enjoy their learning and many kids will be familiar with Minecraft. Certainly my 5 year old knows it well, from playing Minecraft Pocket Edition on the iPad.

Minecraft is particularly well suited to teach collaboration, collaboration, problem solving, communication, and digital citizenship. Teachers in over 40 countries are successfully using Minecraft to teach STEM subject and others like art and poetry.

According to research 30 minutes of daily video game play can lead to increased brain plasticity, spatial reasoning, strategic planning, working memory and motor skills. [Kunh, 2013]

Minecraft at Home

Although you will not be able to purchase a Minecraft Education Edition for home use, if your child has a licence at school, they will be able to login with that licence at home. Minecraft Education Edition will only be available for purchase by schools, libraries, museums, and participants in nationally recognised home-school organisations.

Minecraft has the potential to create more links between home and school. Parents taking an interest in what their kids are learning at school, could get a glimpse through their kid's Minecraft World.

Playing Minecraft with your kids at home, can also be a good way of engaging with them. The best way to learn Minecraft is to play it and a Playstation or XBox console is a good place to start for beginners.

Research: Kuhn, Simone. Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014 Vol. 19, pgs 265-271. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.

Images: Microsoft Education Edition

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