Minecraft adds free educational content in response to COVID-19

With many schools shut down, Minecraft is looking to help parents enhance their children’s education in a fun way.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer told gamers and parents in a statement on Tuesday, March 24, that Minecraft can show everyone that we’re “living and learning through this together.”

Spencer believes Minecraft is a great way for children to stay in touch with their friends while adhering to social distancing guidelines and hopes to help further children’s learning during this difficult time by adding educational content to the Minecraft Marketplace. All content is free through June 30 and is available on all versions of Minecraft for Bedrock platforms, including all current-generation home consoles, PC, Android, and iOS.

By downloading different worlds, kids can take part in lesson plans that feature various tasks such as creative writing assignments, puzzles, and build challenges. Players can take an educational journey to the International Space Station thanks to a partnership with NASA, visit historical landmarks in Washington D.C., and learn how to code with the assistance of a robot pal. Other topics covered include marine biology, Greek history, renewable energy, and how to build 3D fractals. Microsoft credits Everbloom, Jigarbov, Lifeboat, Razzleberries, The World Foundry, Blockworks, and Imagiverse as the creators of these new worlds.

Spencer notes that Minecraft has a wide array of family settings, so parents can set restrictions for their children while playing. He hopes that screen time limits and content filters will help families “balance gaming with offline schoolwork and other responsibilities.” If children are unfamiliar with the popular game or have accessibility needs, there is a copilot feature that can help teach them how to play and aid them as it allows two controllers to control the game.

“We understand the important role gaming is playing right now to connect people and provide joy in these isolating and stressful times,” Spencer told fans in his open letter. “Our teams are working diligently to ensure we can be there for our players. To that end, we are actively monitoring performance and usage trends to ensure we’re optimizing the service for our customers worldwide and accommodating for new growth and demand.”

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