Microsoft has announced a release date for their new version of Minecraft called Minecraft: Education Edition. Minecraft: Education Edition will released on November 1st, 2016 and it allows teachers and students alike the ability to go into a sandbox world in Minecraft and learn a wide range of topics like city planning and problem solving as well as story telling. Teachers will be given tools to allow control of multiplayer servers and software so that they can show top down, interactive views of the world that is being built to educate the kids on different things they’ve built collectively.
Microsoft has also setup a website that allows teachers to become better educated themselves on how Minecraft works and to allow teachers to also collaborate and submit ideas for lesson plans to the group of teachers. Some of the features include an Easy Classroom Collaboration which allows the students to all play on the same server and work together to build projects or to solve problems in game. A teacher can create an NPC and act as a guide to their students in helping resolve issues in game that they are facing. On top of this there will be a Camera and Portfolio aspec that will allow teachers to take pictures to show the students their progression on builds and/or the story or problem they are tackling curently. There will also be chalkboards that allow calibration between students and will come in 1×1, 2×1 and 2×3 sizes in game.
Minecraft: Education Edition will also have some built in, already made, lesson plans for teachers who want to start immediately. The cost of all of this is kept low as well. Licenses will range from $1 to $5 per user, per year depending on the volume of licenses that are purchased. The reason for such low cost is that this isn’t your standard Minecraft game. It will have different blocks and different tools and be more similar to a creative mode server than a survival mode game but with a lot more tracking of users who log in. This is a version of Minecraft that was made by Teacher Gaming, LLC called MinecraftEDU and has now been purchased by Microsoft and expanded.