The full version of Minecraft: Education Edition is finally arriving on November 1, following an extended testing and free trial period that began this summer. The version of Minecraft aimed at educators and schools came out of Microsoft’s acquisition of learning game MinecraftEdu earlier this year, which built upon Minecraft to give teachers tools to build lessons around STEM, art, language and more.
The free trials will still be available to educators up until the launch date, giving them a way to check out the early access edition and evaluate whether they might want to use the full software once it’s available. Minecraft: Education Edition will then be available for purchase from November 1 and following. Pricing is $5 per user, per year, and customers can either buy directly on their own, or via Microsoft’s Enrollment for Education Solutions volume licensing arrangement.
Mojang says that since it launched its trials in June, over 35,000 students and educators have used the software and helped to tweak the experience via feedback. That’s led to the introduction of a couple of new features for the November release, including Classroom Mode, which is a companion app for teachers that lets them change world variables, offer up items and transport students virtually. It’s basically like a God Mode for whoever’s leading instruction. New features from Minecraft’s main release version will also be incorporated into the Education software on an ongoing basis, meaning the Minecraft experience students are having at home will match the one they’re having in the classroom in terms of things like horses, materials and player skins.
And Education Edition for Minecraft is a great idea, provided it can continue to appeal to kids in the same way as the game upon which it’s based. Teachers interested in finding out how it might work in the class can find sample lesson plans and other resources at the Education Edition website, to provide an idea about what’s worked for others in the past.