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Minecraft Education Edition brings the fun of this massively popular video game to the classroom, creating immersive learning experiences. As a teacher, it can be conflicting considering whether or not to try using a video game for lessons. However, Minecraft Education Edition is built specifically for students and educators. It has tools and features that ensure you can deliver fun and productive lessons over a platform that will easily engage students.
There are several benefits to using Minecraft Education Edition in the classroom. It can improve engagement, simplify remote learning, make collaboration more accessible and deliver unique learning experiences.
1. High Flexibility for Lessons
One of the best benefits of Minecraft Education Edition is the amount of flexibility it gives teachers. There’s virtually no topic you can’t teach through Minecraft. Mojang developed the Education Edition with a good balance of structure and freedom so teachers can keep classes productive without limiting creativity.
As a result, the platform has a lot of potential when it comes to lesson designs and gamification. It’s easy to adapt Minecraft Education Edition to fit any grade or skill level. In fact, colleges have even used Minecraft to host remote student orientation and similar events.
The sandbox nature of the game makes it highly freeform in terms of what you can create or explore. Want to teach a lesson on Medieval architecture? Easy, just build some! Learning about the flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest? Find a jungle biome and go on a virtual field trip. Minecraft Education Edition opens up even more opportunities for classes by giving teachers bonus tools like mini-games and chalkboards.
2. Allows Collaboration in Remote Learning
Remote and hybrid learning remain commonplace even years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These learning methods can be highly effective for many students, but they do make collaboration a challenge. That’s not the case with Minecraft Education Edition, though. This game is the perfect tool for remote and hybrid classes!
Minecraft Education Edition is cross-platform, meaning students can play together using a variety of devices. You can have some students in the classroom playing from school laptops while a student home sick could join from their tablet or smartphone. This makes it a highly accessible game for students and families.
In Minecraft, students can all engage in the same world, regardless of where they are physically located. It’s a highly inclusive and cooperative game, which is great for improving engagement in remote classes. It also removes barriers that students with physical disabilities might face in in-person learning situations. Using a voice chat platform like Zoom or Discord makes collaboration even easier.
Minecraft is built for multiplayer experiences and the simplicity of the game makes it very similar to in-person interactions. This is great for any kind of virtual collaboration, even something as simple as group project meetings. For instance, in Minecraft, students can build models of their ideas to work on them together virtually.
3. Improves Student Engagement
Of course, any student today will be excited about the idea of playing a video game during class. Minecraft Education Edition isn’t just a free-for-all, though. It’s designed to be effective for teachers and fun for students at the same time.
Minecraft Education Edition is a perfect tool for increasing student engagement, particularly with topics that could otherwise be dry or boring for some students. Studies show that 68% of kids aged 9 to 12 play Minecraft on a regular basis. This means your students will most likely already be familiar with the world and its controls and possibilities. Kids associate Minecraft with fun and exploration, so Minecraft Education Edition allows teachers to channel that enthusiasm into learning.
Minecraft can be particularly helpful for students with learning challenges, such as ADHD. It allows students to freely move around and physically engage with their environment. Virtual experiences and gameplay can be much more engaging for students who struggle to focus in a normal classroom setting.
4. Access to Pre-Made Worlds and Lessons
If you’re new to Minecraft, you don’t need to worry about learning to create your own worlds or master the gameplay mechanics. Mojang has a large library of resources, tutorials, and pre-made lessons and worlds ready for educators to use. There are currently ten different subject starter kits that include lessons and ready-made worlds you can simply download and deploy.
For example, you could take your class on an immersive walking tour of Florence, Italy using a realistic recreation of it in a pre-built Minecraft world. With so much content already available, teachers are able to get up and running in Minecraft Education Edition relatively quickly. Most ready-to-use lessons and worlds even include ideas for student activities and performance expectations.
In addition to pre-made worlds and lessons, educators also have access to the huge Minecraft Education Edition community. Mojang offers tutorials and technical support to make sure teachers have the knowledge and tools they need. If you need extra assistance or simply want to discuss lesson ideas, there are plenty of online communities for Minecraft education programs.
5. Easy Scalability and Deployment
There are a lot of educational games and apps out there today. Most teachers are familiar with the frustration that often comes with trying out a new program. You can easily run into roadblocks like complicated pricing or a difficult installation process. Minecraft Education Edition is very streamlined and straightforward when it comes to purchasing and downloading it.
Mojang offers a free demo version of the game you can try out before purchasing a license. There are three pricing tiers: volume, direct and individual. The volume pricing model is for large organizations. So, if you wanted every student in your school to be able to access Minecraft Education Edition, you could contact Microsoft’s sales team to get a custom rate for your software licenses.
If you just want to buy Minecraft for your class, though, it’s only about $5 per student per year. For a class of 20 students, that would be a total of about $100 per year. That’s it – no monthly fees or extra subscriptions. If your school has Office 365, you may even be able to get Minecraft Education Edition licenses for free.
School IT personnel are able to help you see if this is the case. They can also help with the process of distributing licenses across the devices you want to run the game on. This is the most complicated part of the setup process for schools, but Mojang does have technical support available if you get stuck.
You don’t need to be a teacher or school administrator to get Minecraft Education Edition. Parents and homeschoolers can purchase individual licenses for only $12 per user per year. Mojang also recommends this option for camps or clubs, groups that aren’t technically classes or schools.
Once you have your license purchased, downloading Minecraft Education Edition only requires a couple clicks. You can download it directly from the official website, which can also detect what type of device you’re using and suggest the right version of the software. Your first time in the app will walk you through setting up your account. You only need to do this once then you’re ready to go. From there, you can get started with a tutorial or new world.
Engaging Lessons in Minecraft Education Edition
Minecraft is one of the most popular video games among kids all over the world today. While video games are often seen as competition for students’ concentration on school work, Minecraft can actually be a valuable learning tool. Minecraft Education Edition is specifically designed to immerse students in engaging and effective learning experiences. It includes tools and support for educators so lessons can be productive but also fun for students.