Microsoft has announced plans to launch a special release of the company's popular block building video game. Called Minecraft Education Edition, this new title will offer the tools for classrooms to recreate and explore various worlds to aid in learning. For the time being, this edition of Minecraft will offer better mapping tools and an in-game camera for screenshots, but more importantly pupils will be able to download and take home a copy of the Education Edition without having to purchase the full game.
The company is able to launch this special edition of its game after acquiring the mod MinecraftEdu. Lings Primary School in Northampton, UK already uses MinecraftEdu in the classroom, teaching pupils about Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and tasking them with recreating the play inside the block-filled world. Microsoft is certainly taking Minecraft in the classroom seriously.
There's also a neat website for teachers can submit and obtain worlds and lesson plans to use in the classroom. It's welcoming to see teachers and the education sector welcoming the inclusion of gaming in the curriculum, recognizing the benefits the medium can bring to pupils. The company plans to launch Minecraft Education Edition later this year.