Microsoft has rolled out Minecraft: Education Edition to Chromebooks, just in time for the new school year.
Minecraft: Education Edition arrives on Chrome OS in partnership with the Google Education team and will offer the same features as the versions for Windows, Mac, and iPads, including cross-platform support, according to a blog post on the program’s official website.
Based on Minecraft, the massively popular block-building game, Minecraft: Education Edition focuses on providing students a learning platform with hundreds of lessons, design challenges, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) curricula while offering templates that allow teachers to create their own activities. The program is also capable of supporting social-emotional learning by providing the opportunity for socialization in-game, and for working together in projects.
In addition to the launch on Chromebooks, Microsoft is also updating Minecraft: Education Edition with new features to support remote and hybrid learning, such as an improved lesson library that makes it easier to search for lessons. Students and teachers will also gain access to 11 new STEM lessons and a new world that was developed with the American Beekeeping Federation’s Kids and Bees program to teach all about honeybees and pollination.
Schools that want access to Minecraft: Education Edition for their students will need to secure a Microsoft 365 for Education license. Logging in currently requires a Microsoft account, but according to the blog post, logging in using a Google account is in development.
As schools transition to alternative learning models amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft shows support for collaboration and inclusive classrooms with special lesson tool kits and other resources at the distance learning section of the official Minecraft: Education Edition website. The program may also be used to host digital events such as virtual graduations, and even build in-game replicas of school campuses.
Schools, colleges, and universities have been forced to adapt in the age of the coronavirus, with millions of families suddenly having to figure out how to make remote learning work for them. With its launch on Chromebooks, Minecraft: Education Edition will be able to help more students and teachers as they transition to new ways of learning.
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