Minecraft: Education Edition: the new Chromebook learning game designed for classrooms explained - and how to get it

Minecraft’s Education Edition is being made available for Google’s line of Chromebook PCs

Thursday, 13th August 2020, 3:17 pm
(Image: Microsoft)

As schools across the UK begin to reopen following months of lockdown, kids are no doubt looking forward to catching up with their friends in the classroom once again.

But if your little ones aren’t enthused about returning to learning, tell them this: they might get to play more video games in class this term.

That’s because Minecraft’s Education Edition is being made available for Google’s line of Chromebook PCs - lightweight and affordable bits of tech that are popular in many classrooms up and down the country.

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Here's everything you need to know about the game.

What is Minecraft: Education Edition?

Specifically designed for classroom use, Minecraft: Education Edition is an educational version of popular block-building game, Minecraft.

For the more than 70 million people who have bought Minecraft to date (and probably several million more parents), the online gaming sensation needs no introduction.

For everyone else, it can be described in the most basic terms; a game in which players become the architects of their own online world, designing and building whatever they want to, brick by brick.

Despite only being launched in 2009, it is strikingly retro, and its simplicity makes it accessible.

Minecraft: Education Edition is a learning platform already available in more than 100 countries across the world, and publishers Microsoft say the game helps “promote creativity, collaboration and problem solving.”

What can Minecraft: Education Edition be used for?

Being at heart a block-based creation game, the obvious application of Minecraft is in art, where pupils can use the game’s tools to create intricate ‘pixel art’ designs in both 2D and 3D. Fellow classmates can then explore those designs in an immersive 3D space.

The Education Edition encourages “spatial thinking” say Microsoft, and can offer “an excellent opportunity for students to work on mathematics and visual arts objectives in an engaging environment.”

Coding is also an area where Minecraft: Education Edition really excels in its teaching abilities, allowing studies to construct contraptions in a virtual world, which all need to be programmed using the game's basic coding language.

Teachers can create their own lesson plans to share with pupils, or choose from a wide variety of pre-packaged sessions depending on the needs of their class.

Pupils can “collaborate on projects with classmates”, as well as document their work and share it in class.

"You can also ask guides for information and access digital resources, as well as effectively communicate learning objectives in-game,” adds Microsoft.

How do I get Minecraft: Education Edition?

You will need an Office 365 Education account to log into the full version of Minecraft: Education Edition.

If you do not have a licence, you can still use Minecraft: Education Edition with a limited number of logins.

Teachers can enter their school email address here to see if their school account is eligible for a trial.

Minecraft: Education Edition is licensed via yearly subscriptions: in the UK, that cost is £3.60 per user per year.