After Norway announced a couple of weeks ago that it would bring eSports to high-schools, it’s now time for Finnish company TeacherGaming to make the news. Microsoft announced today the acquisition of MinecraftEdu off them, as well as the plan to bring Minecraft: Education Edition to classrooms.
Nordic countries really seem to be in a world of their own as far as gaming and eSports are concerned. Whereas some view video games as the root of all evil, Nordics are firmly convinced that these could play an important role in education. Microsoft acquired Mojang, the developer of Minecraft, back in 2014, and it has now complemented that by buying MinecraftEDU off TeacherGaming.
“One of the reasons Minecraft fits so well in the classroom is because it’s a common, creative playground,” said Vu Bui, COO of Mojang. “We’ve seen that Minecraft transcends the differences in teaching and learning styles and education systems around the world. It’s an open space where people can come together and build a lesson around nearly anything.”
MinecraftEDU, the version of the sandbox game that’s built specifically for the classroom, is now being used by thousands of classrooms from over 40 countries across the globe. Microsoft’s plan is to expand on that, and to bring the game to even more countries, starting this summer.
To jumpstart things, Microsoft is going to grow a community of educators at education.minecraft.net. The community pages will be home to very helpful resources and lesson plans. On top of that, the Minecraft Mentors page will bring together educators who are familiar with this sandbox game with the ones who are just getting into it.
As a sandbox game, Minecraft is incredibly versatile, so it’s no wonder that it has been used in classrooms for teaching anything from STEM subjects to poetry and other forms of art.
“In education, we are constantly seeking pathways to explore learning beyond the confines of a textbook. Minecraft allows us that opportunity,” added Rafranz Davis, Executive Director of Professional Development and Learning, Lufkin ISD. “When we see our kids enjoying the process of learning in this way, it’s a game changer.”
Anyone interested in finding out more details about Minecraft: Education Edition, or on how to sign up and become part of the educator community should check education.minecraft.net. The title will be available as a free trial this summer, so that educators can decide whether the game is fit for their classrooms. After that, teachers and children need to pay an annual fee of $5. It is also required to own an Office 365 ID in order toa access the service. MinecraftEdu customers can keep using it for as long as they want, and in addition to that, they will get the first year of M:EE for free.
Such announcements make you wonder how the education system will look like 20 years from now. Personally, I think that more games that promote creativity should be added to the curriculum.