What is Minecraft Education? An Intro for Families

31 May 2024 Teacher helping three students

Welcome, families! Is there a child in your life who’s using a game called Minecraft at school, maybe to learn coding or as a part of a class project, and you want to know more about it? Do you already know all about Minecraft, but want to learn more about how educators are using it to transform education in their classrooms? You’re in the right place! Welcome to the world of Minecraft Education!

First, what’s Minecraft?

Minecraft is one of the most popular games on the planet. You may have heard of Minecraft, your child may play it, and you may even be a player yourself!

It’s an open, “sandbox” game, where players explore vast worlds and build with blocks. Blocks can be broken, crafted, placed to reshape the landscape, or used to build fantastical creations. Players can explore on their own or collaborate with friends. While there is some fighting, the visual style is fun and there’s no blood. Minecraft is rated as appropriate for young players to enjoy.

How is Minecraft Education different from Minecraft?

Minecraft Education is a special version of Minecraft created specifically for use in schools, with extra tools and features that allow teachers to harness the fun and creativity of Minecraft to teach everything from reading to chemistry to coding. Here are a few key features that make it safe, easy to use, and well-adapted for classrooms:

  • Lesson plans and curriculum integration: We offer a library of lesson plans, activities, and resources specifically designed to target learning outcomes. There are also built-in tools to help assess student learning and progress.
  • Safety and moderation: Tailor-made classroom features like student privacy settings, communication filters, and more ensure a safe and secure environment where students can learn and collaborate.
  • Collaboration and multiplayer features: The game-based learning environment encourages collaboration and teamwork between students. Enhanced multiplayer features invite learners to team up on projects, problem-solving tasks, and creative challenges. They also enable teachers to jump right into the game world and guide students through lessons on their own digital turf.

How do children learn while playing a game?

Minecraft Education supports deep and meaningful learning across almost any subject you can imagine by allowing teachers to transform their lessons into fun, engaging experiences through the power of game-based learning.

. Research has shown that:

  • Minecraft Education significantly increases engagement across academic subjects, including literacy, math, and science.
  • It boosts student engagement in lessons, improves academic motivation and even school attendance, fostering community and enhancing social-emotional well-being.
  • Students using Minecraft Education build important skills like creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving, enhancing their ability to tackle real-world problems.
  • Minecraft Education's inclusive environment is particularly effective for students with learning differences, providing differentiated experiences that boost confidence and academic performance.

Wait… Game-Based learning?

Game-based learning takes advantage of the unique ways games motivate their players and uses that motivation to engage students in learning. Gaming provides a safe environment for students to experiment, make mistakes, learn from their failures, and experience a sense of challenge and achievement.

The most effective game-based learning aligns with educational goals and integrates with the curriculum in a meaningful way. By bringing elements like competition, collaboration, and problem solving into gameplay, this learning style promotes active participation, critical thinking, and knowledge retention.

Is Minecraft Education safe?

Yes, Minecraft Education is very safe for students to use.

  • Minecraft Education complies with all applicable student privacy laws in the United States and Europe. Your child’s personal information is safe and secure.
  • Students can only collaborate and play alongside other students from their school or district. There is no way for people outside their school to communicate with them.
  • There are no in-game purchases in Minecraft Education, nor are there any advertisements or product placements.
  • Teachers have control of the game environment. They can turn off combat and make sure students stay focused on what they’re learning within the game.

Can we use Minecraft Education at home?

Absolutely! Working through Minecraft Education lessons together, or simply crafting and exploring as a family, are great ways to practice both academic skills and important social-emotional skills like collaboration, curiosity, and emotion management.

Your child may already have access to Minecraft Education through their school account. Many schools receive access along with other Microsoft Education tools like Word, PowerPoint, and Flip. Ask your child’s teacher or your school’s Information Technology team if your child already has an active Minecraft Education license.

If your child has access, you can download Minecraft Education for Windows PCs, Macs, Chromebooks or Android devices, and iPhones and iPads. We also offer the option to purchase individual licenses. You can learn more about those here.

Child and parent using Minecraft Education

What if my child’s school doesn’t have Minecraft Education?

First, it’s worth asking your school to check. Many schools don’t realize Minecraft Education is included with their Microsoft Education license! However, there are other ways to access Minecraft Education:

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