Over the years Minecraft has become more than just a game to build whatever your imagination can see. It’s become a tool to educate students. So it comes as no surprise that Microsoft has today announced an official Education Edition of Minecraft.

Minecraft: Education Edition is aimed at, you guessed it, schools and education facilities. This new customised version of Minecraft for schools will allow students to explore places from the real world in all their blocky glory, like the pyramids of Giza, the Greek temples, and much more.

The game itself will contain a few minor changes but will largely remain the same Minecraft we all know and love. Of those changes, the main feature is ease of use and overall control from a teacher allowing them to lock in certain resources for example. An in-game camera has also been added so students can catalogue where they’ve been.

In addition to Minecraft: Education Edition, Microsoft is also launching a website where educators can submit Minecraft worlds and lesson plans to aid other teachers. Already there’s a few examples available, offering a look around feudal Japan, another to highlight architecture, and another which explores molecules on a much larger scale.

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All of this however does rest on the education community to become more involved with this initiative as Microsoft doesn’t intend to build out worlds and lesson plans with its own resources. Essentially teachers will need to form their own ideas. Microsoft’s big plan is for educators to head to the website, find a setting which could be used for a lesson, and transport students into that world.

With Minecraft already having a pretty huge community of creators, Microsoft hopes this will extend to the education industry, because as you probably know, it takes some time to create something in Minecraft, something teachers probably don’t have a lot of time to do.

Minecraft: Education Edition is set to launch in the Summer and will cost schools around $5 per student. The game itself will tie into the student’s Microsoft accounts, meaning if they so wish, they could play the Education Edition at home, provided they login with the same username. Of course this would require schools to not only adopt Minecraft as an educational tool, but also incorporate Microsoft accounts across their student bodies – which is likely a secondary aim for the company.

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