Microsoft plans to move ahead with the release of Minecraft: Education Edition, a special version of the popular sandbox game designed specifically for schools. Following a limited beta of the game that will be used in 100 schools in May, Microsoft will launch a free early access program for Minecraft: Education Edition in June.
In a blog post, Microsoft stated:
Minecraft: Education Edition early access will be available in 11 languages and 41 countries. During the summer months, we are also going to be focused on working with educators on building out lesson plans, sharing learning activity ideas, and creating re-usable projects. If you are new to Minecraft, or if you aren't sure where to start in bringing Minecraft into your classroom and incorporating into your curriculum, the early access program is going to be a great way to familiarize yourself with Minecraft: Education Edition. We also suggest educators check out our many resources on education.minecraft.net, including lesson plans like the Great Pyramids of Giza, or electrical circuits using Redstone. In addition, the Minecraft Mentors program connects you with educators experienced in teaching with Minecraft and demystifies the process.
After the early access program ends, Microsoft will officially launch Minecraft: Education Edition for Windows 10 and OS X El Capitan. It will require the use of a free Office 365 Education account. Pricing terms for this version of the game have not yet been announced.