Microsoft extends access to Minecraft: Education Edition and resources to support remote learning

As COVID-19 concerns prompt school closures around the world, many educators are turning to remote learning to keep students engaged.  To help teachers and students stay connected to the classroom, Minecraft: Education Edition is now available through June 2020 for all educators and learners who have a valid Office 365 Education account. Please fill out this form to verify your account and request access to Minecraft.

We have also compiled a special Minecraft remote learning toolkit, which includes more than 50 lessons, STEM curriculum and project-based learning activities so educators can use Minecraft: Education Edition with their students whether they are in school, at home or in another remote learning environment.

Features like classroom multiplayer allow students to collaborate on projects in their Minecraft worlds, building, planning, learning and even chatting as they work together. (Download this how-to guide for using Multiplayer Mode.) When they are ready to document their work and submit their projects, students can use tools like the Camera and Book & Quill to take screenshots, write about their work and export their in-game portfolios as PDF.

“Distance learning requires students to be engaged in content in news ways,” explains educator and Minecraft certified trainer Becky Keene. “As they work remotely, they need to have activities and environments that motivate them to learn. Minecraft supports almost any content area, and students can show me their learning without missing a beat!”

When students collaborate remotely in Minecraft: Education Edition, it presents new opportunities for them to build communication and problem-solving skills together. Mark Henkels, a Minecraft educator in New York, says, “It’s the social interaction that really is a major part of why the game is so popular and great. And that social interaction is what makes the game such a great educational environment.”

Here’s how to setup Minecraft: Education Edition for your device or school:

  • First, check here to see if your school account is eligible.
  • If you have a valid O365 EDU account, fill out this form to request access to Minecraft: Education Edition through June 2020.
  • Download Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows, Mac or iPad.

If you do not have a valid O365 EDU account, you can still download and try a free demo lesson on Windows, Mac or iPad. Learn about other Minecraft distance learning resources here.

Explore free lessons, online training and distance learning projects for Minecraft: Education Edition:

  • Explore lessons in STEM, language arts, history and more in the remote learning toolkit, such as modelling plant and animal cells, building historical monuments and using coding to design a garden.
  • Join the 2020 Minecraft Education Challenge with your students using a customizable toolkit and solve real-world sustainability and inclusion challenges.
  • Take a free introductory online course for educators on the Microsoft Education Community (MEC) and check out this Starter Guide to learn the basics of teaching with Minecraft: Education Edition.
  • Check out these build challenges for fun, fast-paced and creative activities to engage your students in STEM and storytelling.
  • Learn how to use different features for game setup, assessment and classroom management with this YouTube video playlist.

Educational content available for Minecraft Bedrock:

We recently announced a new category of educational worlds for Minecraft players everywhere in the Minecraft Marketplace to support families during school closures. This new Education Collection features worlds that you can play with your kids and family, including work by creators Everbloom, Jigarbov, Lifeboat, Razzleberries, The World Foundry, Blockworks and Imagiverse! All of these worlds are free to download through June 30, 2020. Anyone with Minecraft for Bedrock can find these worlds by launching Minecraft and visiting the in-game store.

While there’s no quick fix for major disruptions like unexpected school closures, we hope these resources will support educators and students navigate staying connected and engaged in learning. Please feel free to share advice on remote teaching and learning with the Minecraft: Education Edition community on Twitter or Facebook.

You can find more distance and remote learning resources from Microsoft Education here to support IT, educators, staff and students, including free online classrooms in Teams and resources for schools and families to stay connected and share stories via Flipgrid.