Minecraft: Education Edition – Beta Released!

After centuries of children going to school to *avoid* working at the mine, turns out the mine has a lot of great educational opportunities itself.
Okay, it’s actually “Minecraft,” the worldwide phenomenon purchased by Microsoft in 2014. That purchase was questioned by many at the time and in the years since, yet it would seem that in addition to special versions of the game on the Xbox consoles, Microsoft is looking to expand its utility into schools.
With “Minecraft: Education Edition” now in beta, we can start to see how that approach is playing out.
Already, Minecraft allows players to create extraordinary things from humble blocks. The videogame systems driving those blocks have expanded in scope and complexity at an astounding rate, with efforts from millions of players continuing to wow the internet weekly.
In “Minecraft: Education Edition,” Microsoft seems intent on shaping the experience into something that can be organized and lead by a teacher. All while maintaining the freedom of exploration and creation which has not only made the game so popular, but which represents some of the newest, most-successful education strategies.
With a large multiplayer space and diverse tools for conveying history, math, science, music, and arts, the only question will be how many teachers will learn to use it, and how much support Microsoft will be devoting to helping them. Right now, the virtual playground *seems* capable of endless opportunities. Microsoft, for its part, just implemented chalkboards and characters which will present text written by the teacher, alongside several other tools for formulating the student experience.
Only time will tell if this experiment works, but it’s heartening to see it being attempted at all.
You can check out the beta here.