Microsoft announced today that it was increasing it’s $2.5 billion investment in Minecraft with the purchase of MinecraftEdu from Teacher Gaming LLC and will use the purchase to build “Minecraft Education Edition.”
Microsoft knows Minecraft already teaches kids
The Seattle giant purchased MinecraftEdu today for an undisclosed amount and plans to build an education specific game along with publisher Mojang. MinecraftEdu includes a number of lessons that teachers can use in order to help teaching art, history, STEM, and language. Presently, the Minecraft version that Microsoft already offers gamers around the world is used in an estimated 7,000 classrooms in nearly 50 countries around the world.
Minecraft does teach, and it’s up to the world to realize this in a day and age when kids have so much on their minds that teachers need to be creative in their educational approaches in order to reach these kids that might otherwise be distracted by the world that starts when the final bell of the day rings.
“Once we make the tools easier for schools to get access to and employ, I think you’ll see that number [of classrooms] grow quite quickly.”
What will Microsoft do to improve on MinecraftEdu?
Firstly, Microsoft has already created a website for Minecraft Education Edition which offers teachers lessons, forums and a number of other tools to help them incorporate Minecraft into the classroom. With the purchase, the company has promised that those using and paying for MinecraftEdu will, for the time being, be unaffected and sales will continues until Microsoft releases its own build. Additionally, when the company releases its version for free trials in the summer, MinecraftEdu subscribers will be given a year of Minecraft Education Edition free of charge.
It’s being largely rumored that for new customers the company plans to charge each teacher and student $5.00 annually.
Additionally, Microsoft is promising to improve on MinecraftEdu by allowing students to keep the characteristics of all they have created from session to session. Microsoft will also be offering an in-game camera where screenshots can be saved alongside students’ notes and these shots could also be used by teachers to grade students’ progress.
The maker of Windows is also planning on allowing children to work with Minecraft Education Edition outside of school with no additional costs. Students will simply need to create a Microsoft Office 365 account that will give them access to most of what Microsoft offers in the cloud.