Minecraft landscapeSource: Windows Central

What you need to know

  • Minecraft is adding an "Education" category to facilitate learning from home.
  • Xbox head Phil Spencer stressed the importance of staying home.
  • The Education tab includes how to code, trips to various monuments, and more.
  • It seems like a great resource for kids to "travel" while under quarantine.

Today, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that Microsoft is adding an "Education" category to the Minecraft Marketplace so that children can learn from home. You'll be able to learn how to code, tour the International Space Station, and much more though Minecraft.

The coronavirus pandemic is sweeping across the United States and it seems like all containment efforts have failed so far. Please stay home so that you're safe. You can read an abridged version of Spencer's statement on Xbox Wire below which stresses the importance of staying at home.

We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people around the world and changed the way we go about our daily lives. Here at Microsoft, we're constantly asking ourselves what we can do to support people during this challenging time. To me, the most important thing to remember is that we're all living and learning through this together. I have previously stated that I believe gaming has a unique power to bring people together, to entertain, to inspire and connect us, and I believe that's even more true under these unique circumstances. Many are looking to gaming to remain connected with their friends while practicing social distancing, and we are seeing an unprecedented demand for gaming from our customers right now. With hundreds of millions of kids at home due to coronavirus-related school closures, more kids are going online to spend time with their friends, explore online worlds and learn through play. Families are trying to navigate the need to help their children with distance learning and balance that with taking time to have fun.

That's not all though, the Minecraft team is doing its part to help. Spencer added the following.

That's why we announced today that we are adding a new Education category to the Minecraft Marketplace with free educational content players and parents can download. The educational content we've curated lets players explore the International Space Station through a partnership with NASA, learn to code with a robot, visit famous Washington D.C. landmarks, find and build 3D fractals, learn what it's like to be a marine biologist, and so much more. This is launching for free download today and will be available through June 30... With so many turning to gaming, helping everyone stay safer online is also a top priority for us. This is why we provide family settings that help parents choose the screen time limits, content filters, purchase limits, communication and sharing settings that are right for their families. While kids may be home from school, family settings can help balance gaming with offline schoolwork and other responsibilities... Stay safe and be good to one another.

In these trying times, it's important to realize that we all have to do our part to make sure those most vulnerable are safe. That means staying at home and practicing social distancing. If you think you'll benefit from Minecraft's Education section that features a variety of experiences, you should give them a go.

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Hundreds of millions of people use Minecraft every day not just for enjoyment, but also to educate students around the world. If you're skeptical, be sure to give it a go and then decide if it's for you. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, just like I was a few months ago.

Minecraft guide: How to use the Education Edition to help your children if they're out of school because of coronavirus

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