December 17, 2020 | 2020, Minecraft: Education Edition, New Year
2020 has had its ups and downs for sure, but in spite of all the challenges facing educators and students, incredible things have been happening around the world. As we round the corner into 2021, we want to enter a new year with a spirit of hope and celebration by looking back over some of this year’s most exciting moments. Follow along with us as we share the Minecraft: Education Edition highlights of 2020!
No review of the past year can ignore the massive impact of the global pandemic. Lockdowns and social distancing restrictions made the conventional classroom experience impossible. Educators worldwide had to find creative ways to keep learning going, even when students were staying home. In response to lockdown measures, we announced that Minecraft: Education Edition would be available through the end of the 2019–2020 school year to anyone with an Office 365 Education account.
Many educators discovered that Minecraft was an ideal tool for creating a virtual and hybrid classroom experience, giving students the chance to connect and collaborate as they learned from home. You can read stories about the innovative ideas for remote learning solutions that dedicated teachers dreamed up, including virtual re-creations of schools in New York State, architectural exploration in Wales, and citywide collaboration in Canada.
We knew that graduating students would be upset about missing the opportunity to celebrate their achievements. Many university students decided to take matters into their own hands by re-creating their campuses to host virtual ceremonies in Minecraft. Inspired by campus builds like Berkeley University’s Blockeley U, our team decided to create the Graduation World as a space for educators and students to celebrate the end of a tough school year together.
Remote and hybrid learning continue in many places, and we hope you’ll take advantage of our resources and training to help support your students in or out of the classroom.
2020 wasn’t all about lockdowns and remote learning. There were some massive announcements from our team as well! The biggest came in August when we revealed that Minecraft: Education Edition would be available on Chromebooks for the first time. This announcement meant that millions of students would be able to access Minecraft for learning. We’ve even made it possible for learners to use their Google for Education credentials for easier access through single-sign-on. And we couldn’t resist a bit of fun with our Back-to-School Update, so we brought bees into Minecraft: Education Edition to help teach students about pollinators!
For another first, October marked the launch of the inaugural Minecraft Education Global Build Championship. This international competition invited students to reimagine a world where humans and animals can coexist safely and happily in a school, home, workplace, or public space situated in one of five habitats. We received over 1,250 entries from students sharing their exciting ideas for an ecologically sustainable future. In the end, a team from Canada took the top prize with a truly epic turtle research habitat. You can see their entry and the rest of the winners here!
One handy update made it easier than ever for teachers to get lessons and learning content to their students. Educators now have the ability to share worlds and lessons to Microsoft Teams from within Minecraft: Education Edition!
We also wanted to ensure teachers felt supported with the right resources to keep them on the cutting edge of game-based learning and pedagogy, so we assembled two new training resources. The newly updated Teacher Academy takes educators through an 11-course learning path designed to build a foundation for using Minecraft in the classroom. The brand-new Coding Academy takes the learning a step further, outlining the ways you can use Minecraft: Education Edition to teach computer science. Our brand-new Community Hub contains mountains of helpful support materials and a place where educators can connect with colleagues to share ideas, get help from peers, or just chat about all things Minecraft.
2020 was one of our biggest years ever for new lessons and learning material. We tried to make sure there was something for everyone, across almost any subject you can name. Here are some of our most exciting highlights:
There’s something for everyone in our 2020 content, and we know these lessons will continue to inspire students in the years to come!
It’s always educators who inspire us most, especially in such a challenging year. We heard from passionate leaders across the globe about the ways they use Minecraft: Education Edition to empower and delight their learners.
When you’re working with educators, you don’t have to look far to see the passion and inspiration that drives their work day-in and day-out. Nothing makes us more grateful to support their work than hearing amazing stories like these!
Now that we’re finally leaving 2020 behind, we want to thank every teacher who’s gone the extra mile for their students and innovated new ways to use Minecraft: Education Edition. We know you’ll continue to do great things in the coming months and years. Here’s to a great 2021! 🍾
If these stories have inspired you to begin your Minecraft: Education Edition journey, head to education.minecraft.net/get-started to take your first steps.
Read Next: Canadian Storytelling in Minecraft: A Creative Response to Teaching During a Pandemic
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