FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Minecraft: Education Edition FAQ

 

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:

  • Secure student login IDs with individual avatars to personalize learning experiences, and help educators track student activity
  • Camera and Student Portfolio, where students can take photos of their projects in Minecraft: Education Edition to demonstrate learning and progress
  • Classroom management features including Peaceful world settings to ensure students stay on task
  • A collection of specialized blocks to enhance teaching and learning, including new signs to share information and give direction, and border blocks to manage students within a world
  • Enhanced multi-player, where up to 30 students can collaborate and work together on a set of learning activities without a separate server
  • Tutorial experience for first-time Minecraft educators

Will Minecraft: Education Edition offer built-in lesson plans?

We are working closely with the educator community to provide a library of lesson plans that can help educators understand how to apply Minecraft: Education Edition to their specific teaching and curriculum needs.  These starter lesson plans will be available to educators to try out for free this summer at http://education.minecraft.net.

 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?

In June, we will be launching the early access program for Minecraft: Education Edition, which will allow educators to download, try the program for free, and give us feedback on an early version of the experience on the latest versions of Windows and OS X.  Please see below for more details on technical requirements.

When will Minecraft: Education Edition be available?

Minecraft: Education Edition will be available later this calendar year. We will be releasing an early access program for Minecraft: Education Edition in June for educators to download and try over the summer for free. Interested educators can sign up to receive updates at http://education.minecraft.net.

How much does it cost?

We understand the demands on today’s educators and are committed to making Minecraft: Education Edition as affordable and accessible as possible. We’re currently planning to keep the price at $5 per user per year. In June, we will be launching an early access program for Minecraft: Education Edition which will be an early version of the game available to all educators to download, try for free, and provide feedback to improve the experience. We will publish volume pricing information for school-wide deployments later this calendar year.

Where do I buy it?

If you are a school or district with an existing Microsoft agreement, you can add Minecraft: Education Edition to your current license agreement later this calendar year.  Minecraft: Education Edition will also be available for educators to purchase online for as many or as few licenses as needed.  We will provide additional details in the coming months.

Are there any discounts if I buy a large number of licenses for my school?

In addition to a price-per-user model, we will also offer a volume license model for large-scale academic institutions.  Additional details will be announced later this calendar year.

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 the 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?

Our goal is to create a personalized login and identity for each student and educator. The single sign-on enables a tailored experience, personalized learning path, and secure profile for each individual student.  Additional details on the licensing model will be announced later this calendar year.

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:

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. 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.

Minecraft: Education Edition early access FAQ

 

When is the Minecraft: Education Edition free trial coming?

The Minecraft: Education Edition early access program is an early version of the product that will be available beginning in June for educators around the world to download, try for free, and provide their feedback.

How much does Minecraft: Education Edition early access cost?

Minecraft: Education Edition early access will be free to download and use during the evaluation period beginning in June and ending later this year when Minecraft: Education Edition ships.

How long am I able to use the Minecraft: Education Edition early access program?

Educators will be able to use the early access version of Minecraft: Education Edition beginning in June and ending in the Fall 2016.

Who can download and use Minecraft: Education Edition early access?

The Minecraft: Education Edition early access program is a free, early version of the product intended for educators to trial and give us feedback.  It is available to schools, universities and other eligible education institutions.

How do I provide feedback on Minecraft: Education Edition?

After you download and use Minecraft: Education Edition, we would love to hear your feedback – what is helpful, what could be improved, what suggestions educators have for future features, etc. Please submit your feedback on the Minecraft: Education Edition site at http://aka.ms/meefeedback.

What are the technical requirements for Minecraft: Education Edition early access?

The Minecraft: Education Edition early access version will be supported on the latest versions of Windows and OS X – Windows 10 and Mac OS X El Capitan.  Users will need an Office 365 or Azure Active Directory education account to log in. You can upgrade to Windows 10 for free, and sign up for an Office 365 account.

What does the Minecraft: Education Edition early access program include?

The Minecraft: Education Edition early access program will not be the final version of the product, but it will include many new education features, including:

  • Secure student login IDs with individual avatars to personalize learning experiences, and help educators track student activity
  • Camera and Student Portfolio, where students can take photos of their projects in Minecraft: Education Edition to demonstrate learning and progress
  • Classroom management features including Peaceful world settings to ensure students stay on task
  • A collection of specialized blocks to enhance teaching and learning, including new signs to share information and give direction, and border blocks to manage students within a world
  • Enhanced multi-player, where up to 30 students can collaborate and work together on a set of learning activities without a separate server
  • Tutorial experience for first-time Minecraft educators

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