Minecraft: Education Edition provides increased access to students because of the coronavirus

Minecraft Education Edition
Minecraft Education Edition (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft: Education Edition is a specialized version of Minecraft for schools and other institutions.
  • It normally requires a subscription alongside Microsoft 365 Education accounts from schools.
  • Because of the coronavirus, Microsoft and Mojang are extending access to any students with Microsoft 365 Education accounts.
  • This should help educators and teachers continue to help their students even when they're at home.

We recently shed light on Minecraft: Education Edition as a powerful tool that schools, museums, libraries, and other learning institutions can use to teach children a whole variety of different topics in a fun and interactive way. The unique spin-off of Minecraft doesn't attract much attention from the public because of its exclusivity to these learning institutions, but children in over 115 countries use it in their classrooms to learn about architecture, agriculture, arithmetic, and a whole lot more.

Because of the spread of the coronavirus, more schools are being temporarily closed every day. Children are staying home, so understandably educators and teachers are looking for ways to continue teaching their students even while working remotely. Microsoft and Mojang have announced that they are extending access to Minecraft: Education Edition to all educators and students with valid Microsoft 365 Education accounts, meaning they no longer have to pay a separate subscription fee.

All educators have to do is fill out this form to apply for the increased access. All the features of Minecraft: Education Edition should work as normal, including built-in multiplayer without the need for setting up a server beforehand, as well as various tools teachers can use to monitor and communicate with students while working on projects. Children can also keep track of their progress and submit it to their teachers using Minecraft: Education Edition's built-in camera and portfolio items.

To help new educators get familiar with the learning tool, Microsoft is also releasing a remote learning toolkit with over 50 recommended lesson plans and other activities to help promote productivity and cooperation. According to certified Minecraft educator Becky Keene, "Distance learning requires students to be engaged in content in news ways...As they work remotely, they need to have activities and environments that motivate them to learn. Minecraft supports almost any content area, and students can show me their learning without missing a beat!"

Minecraft Education Edition

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

If you're a parent whose child(ren) is currently at home due to the coronavirus, and you know that they use Microsoft's powerful education services at their school, it may be worth reaching out to their educator to see if this might be something that could work for them. The coronavirus shouldn't stop children from being able to learn new things, so it's great to see Microsoft commit to improving the situation. On top of that, Minecraft: Education Edition really is a great way to learn, as it strongly encourages using communication and critical problem-solving skills that other educational programs just can't achieve.

If you're interested in more information, you can check out Microsoft's announcement post here.

For parents whose children can't take advantage of this, we recently went over a guide on how you can use Minecraft: Education Edition to help teach your children when they're out of school. Although you won't have full access to the service, there are still a ton of awesome ways you can work with your child(ren) and help them learn new things.

Does your child(ren) have experience with Minecraft: Education Edition? Do you think it could be a valuable tool for them to use? Let us know in the comments below!



Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.