FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is Minecraft: Education Edition?
Minecraft: Education Edition is a version of the popular open world game, Minecraft, specifically designed for education. It contains features that make Minecraft more accessible and effective in a classroom setting including:
- Easy Classroom Collaboration: Educators have told us that one of the greatest benefits of Minecraft: Education Edition is the ability for students to collaborate together to build projects and solve problems. An entire classroom of up to 30 students can play in a world together with no separate server setup required. Or students can work together in pairs or groups simply by joining their classmates’ world.
- Non-Player Characters: An educator may create an NPC (Non-Player Character) to act as a guide for students in the game, giving instruction, providing more information, and also allowing educators to insert an active web link to additional references.
- Camera + Portfolio: An important aspect of teaching with Minecraft is being able to collect evidence of learning in the game, and being able to track student progression. The camera and portfolio features allows students to take screenshots of their work and document the development of their projects.
- Chalkboards: Creators can use chalkboards to communicate learning goals, provide additional information and give explicit instructions within the game. Chalkboards come in three different sizes – Slate (1×1), Poster (2×1), and Board (2×3).
- Simple, Secure sign-in: Individual student and teacher logins with Office 365 Education accounts ensure data privacy & security while playing Minecraft: Education Edition.
- Tutorial World: For educators or students new to Minecraft, a tutorial world is available that will guide players on in-game navigation, crafting, and placing or breaking blocks.
Will Minecraft: Education Edition offer built-in lesson plans?
A range of new Minecraft lessons are available for educators to use across subjects and age levels. Each lesson includes learning objectives, activities, suggested reflection questions, and evidence of learning criteria. Some example lessons include “City Planning for Population Growth”, “Exploring factors and multiples”, and “Effects of deforestation”. To download lesson plans, or suggest new ones, please visit http://education.minecraft.net/resources/.
What can I teach with Minecraft: Education Edition?
Much like the game Minecraft, Minecraft: Education Edition is designed to be a versatile and open platform, but in a way that can be used to teach all types of subjects, from math and physics to history and language arts. By utilizing the digital platform and classroom experience, students can also develop skills in collaboration, problem solving, communication, digital citizenship, and more. There is no limit to what students can learn in the game, and no limit to how the game can extend classroom learning.
What do I need to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition?To start using Minecraft: Education Edition early access,
- Upgrade your computer to Windows 10 or OS X El Capitan
- Sign up for a free Office 365 Education account using your school or district email
- Download Minecraft: Education Edition and start playing!
When will Minecraft: Education Edition be available?
On November 1, the full version of Minecraft: Education Edition will be available to purchase for $5 per user, per year, or through a district-wide licensing model. Educators interested in trying Minecraft: Education Edition before purchasing can still use the early access version through November 1 at no cost. After November 1, users will have a limited number of free logins – 25 for teachers and 10 for students – before a paid license will be required to continue playing. Please visit http://education.minecraft.net/announce092216/ for more details.
Where can I purchase Minecraft: Education Edition?
Please visit http://education.minecraft.net, or contact your preferred education reseller if your school or district already has an Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) volume licensing agreement with Microsoft.
Are there any discounts if I buy a large number of licenses for my school?
School districts and municipalities with an Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) volume licensing agreement may add Minecraft: Education Edition to their agreement which will give them access across their organization. Schools interested in this option should contact their preferred education reseller for pricing.
What are the features of the software? How is it different than the game, Minecraft?
Minecraft: Education Edition is a special version of the game developed specifically for educational use. It’s just as engaging for students as the core game, but easy for teachers to set up, with added features and controls for classrooms, such as secure student login IDs, editable boundaries, and a tutorial for first-time educator use.
How is Minecraft: Education Edition different than MinecraftEDU?
MinecraftEdu is a modified version of Minecraft developed for schools and sold by a company called TeacherGaming. Minecraft: Education Edition builds on the early learnings from MinecraftEdu, while growing and expanding its feature set. Working with the MinecraftEdu creators Joel Levin and Santeri Koivisto, we started with all the learnings from the MinecraftEdu mod, and built its key features into Minecraft: Education Edition. We also added new features including login and personalization, the student portfolio feature, and the ability to save student progress.
Who is eligible to purchase Minecraft: Education Edition?
Minecraft: Education Edition will be available for purchase by schools, libraries, museums, and participants in nationally recognized home-school organizations. For those unsure if their institution qualifies, specific details on eligibility are:
- An eligible educator must be a full-time or part-time faculty or staff member at an academic institution and have a school-specific email address provided by the school (for example, contoso.edu) that can receive external email.
- An eligible district or school must be a qualified education user, defined as an accredited institution organized and operated exclusively for the purpose of teaching its enrolled students.
- An eligible public library must provide general library services without charge to all residents of a given community, district, or region.
- An eligible public museum must be an agency or institution organized on a permanent basis for essentially education or aesthetic purposes, and utilize a professional staff to exhibit tangible objects to the public on a regular basis.
- Finally, an eligible home-school program must provide K-12 education to a student or students with written proof that it either belongs to a nationally-recognized home-schooling organization or is expressly recognized by a local school district as an acceptable alternative to an accredited or state-recognized/approved educational institution.
Use the following links to learn more about eligibility qualifications: US-based organizations, Canada-based organizations, or European-based organizations. For all other regions, visit the Microsoft Education website.
Can I purchase Minecraft: Education Edition if I am a parent or individual consumer?
If an individual is not affiliated with an academic institution, they will not be able to purchase Minecraft: Education Edition. However, they can purchase other versions of Minecraft such as Minecraft for PC/Mac, Xbox, Windows 10, or Pocket Edition. Many educators use these other versions of Minecraft in their classrooms already. Regardless of which version an individual chooses, all educators are invited to learn more at http://education.minecraft.net, where they can ramp up on Minecraft quickly using collateral shared by other educators.
How many user licenses will I need for my school?
School districts and municipalities with a Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions volume licensing agreement may add Minecraft: Education Edition to their agreement which will give them access across their organization. Schools interested in this option should contact their preferred education reseller for pricing.
Can I give copies of the software to my students to use at home?
Students will be able to use Minecraft: Education Edition at home by signing in using their school log-in.
What are the minimum technical requirements for the Minecraft: Education Edition software?
Please check the minimum specifications for Windows 10 and OS X El Capitan:
- Windows10 minimum hardware specifications: https://www.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/windows-10-specifications
- OS X El Capitan minimum hardware requirements: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201475
In addition, Minecraft: Education Edition will require an Office 365 Education account to log in.
Are you going to offer a hosting service similar to MinecraftEDU?
Not at this time. Minecraft: Education Edition will enable multiplayer at a classroom scale, which is simple for teachers to set up and play locally in schools. Going forward, we will continue to listen to teacher feedback to determine whether a hosted solution would be useful in education.
What are mods and will they be supported in Minecraft: Education Edition?
Mods are modifications to Minecraft, available through a number of third-party websites. They can add or remove content to the game, or change how it is played. Mods are not currently supported in Minecraft: Education Edition.
Can a video game really be educational? Do you have any data to prove this is more effective than traditional lesson plans in the classroom?
Video games are a great way to engage students and personalize lessons. They provide “an opportunity to focus our energy, with relentless optimism, at something we’re good at (or getting better at) and enjoy” [McGonigal, 2011]. Researchers in 2013 found that 30 minutes of daily video game play led to increased brain plasticity along with additional development in areas crucial for spatial reasoning, strategic planning, working memory, and motor skills [Kunh, 2013].
- Kuhn, Simone. Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014 Vol. 19, pgs 265-271. Web. 16 Sept. 2015.
Other relevant research:
- Bos, B., Wilder, L., Cook, M. & O’Donnell, R. Learning Mathematics through Minecraft. Teaching Children Mathematics, Vol. 21. No. 1 (August 2014), pp. 56-59.
- Canossa, A., Martinez, J., Togelius, J. (2013) Give Me a Reason to Dig: Minecraft and Psychology of Motivation. In Ieee conference on computational intelligence and games.
- D’Angelo, C., Rutstein, D., Harris, C., Bernard, R., Borokhovshi, E., Haertel, G. (2013). Simulations for STEM Learning: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (Executive Summary). Menlo Park, CA: SRI International.
- Gee, J. (2007). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
- Kapp, K. (2012) The Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based Methods and Strategies for Training and Education. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.
- Lopez, J. & Garrido, C. Pedagogical Integration of the Application Minecraft EDU in Elementary School: A Case Study. Universidad de Murcia. Pixel-Bit. Revista de Medios y Educacion. No. 45. July 2014
- McGonigal, J. (2011). Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and They Can Change the World. New York, NY: Penguin.
- Takeuchi, L. M., & Vaala, S. (2014). Level up learning: A National Survey on Teaching with Digital Games. New York: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop.
- Toppo, G (2015). The Game Believes In You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
What is the best way to get started with Minecraft?
Download Minecraft on your phone, PC, or console! The best way to learn Minecraft is to play Minecraft. Also, ask your students about how they learned to play Minecraft. You’ll hear some amazing ideas. Building a replica of your school in Minecraft is a fun and easy project to get started with.