What’s Next for Minecraft: Education Edition in 2017
On January 19, 2016, with a simple “Hello!”, we announced Minecraft: Education Edition to the world. Our very first playable build was installed on 12 lucky computers at BETT 2016, and since that day, thousands of educators discovered how Minecraft facilitates learning opportunities for their students. It’s now one year later, and over 75,000 students and educators in more than 100 countries create, explore, and learn with Minecraft: Education Edition. With that growth, we’ve realized the power of partnering with our amazing and supportive community of educators around the world – and we’re proud to announce that due to the success of the Minecraft Mentor program in 2016, we have expanded the program to include 60 Global Minecraft Mentors representing 19 countries around the world. Keep your eyes peeled for our Minecraft Mentor of the Week program, where every week a different mentor will be posting blogs, livestreams, videos, and other contributions. “I applied to be a Global Minecraft Mentor to help new teachers overcome initial difficulties we all face embracing game-based learning. I am learning so much from this experienced group of educators, and excited to support the community in Central America, where STEM investments are just beginning. It’s exciting to be a part of this movement.” Amanda Bolton, Global Minecraft Mentor, Costa Rica In addition to expanding engagement with our community, our team has learned a great deal about continuing to make Minecraft player-focused while adding features and capabilities lowering the barrier to game-based learning for educators and administrators. Because of this, we’re excited to move Minecraft: Education Edition to Version 1.0 today. This latest release brings the following new features: - Global Pause to take a quick break - Accessibility features like text to speech for in-game chat - Updated UI with easier settings management - 256 world height for greater building capabilities - Complete gameplay from your first night to The End dimension Igloos and Polar Bears in snowy biomes “As not only an educator, but a Minecraft player alongside my students, I love the move to 256 world height. More real estate for building means more learning opportunities, and this alongside the other 1.0 changes are exactly what I am looking for in the game. Global pause allows me to briefly give instructions to my students or allow them a moment of mindfulness without disrupting game flow, a balanced solution I’m looking forward to leveraging with my class.” Ben Kelly, Global Minecraft Mentor, Canada Educators have also been asking for an easier way to upload and share their Minecraft worlds with the community. To accommodate this, .mcworld files are now natively supported on the docs.com platform. Educators can create profiles, upload worlds, tag them accordingly, and even link to them in lesson plans on education.minecraft.net. In the year ahead, Minecraft will continue to be about the players themselves, and student voice is key to ensuring Education Edition remains Minecraft at its core. During our Beta program in 2016, Steve Isaacs and his students at William Annin Middle School gave feedback directly to our development team. Watch this video to see how they helped inform our product design and iteration. So, what’s next for Minecraft: Education Edition? Make sure to sign up for updates at education.minecraft.net and follow us on twitter at @playcraftlearn to stay informed. We look forward to continuing this adventure with all of you.