Minecraft Education Edition was released on November 1, 2016 and was a huge step in bridging the gap between learning and fun. This edition of Minecraft is actually used in classrooms to teach children fundamentals of building and solving problems. The game is currently $5 a year to use which makes it very affordable for classroom use.
One of the most exciting features of the Education Edition is that up to 30 students can play together in a Minecraft world of their own solving problems and building projects. No server set up is required and students can work in pairs or even groups to work together.
A teacher or educator is able to make an NPC to act as a guide for students. This allows teachers to provide instructions in game and even allows web links to be included for additional information for students to use.
Teachers often must provide proof of learning in a regular classroom, and this is no different in a virtual one like Minecraft Education Edition. Students can take screenshots of their work and can add them to a portfolio for teachers to show to their bosses to prove the students are actually learning.
Chalkboards: Chalkboards are available to be created and add a very important aspect necessary for successful learning. Information pertaining to the goals can be communicated through the chalkboards.
There are safe guards available for use to ensure students are on task and that restricts them on what they can do while in game. Border blocks are used to keep students in a specific area. X, Y, and Z coordinates can be altered so students are forced to stay in a certain area and solve the problem. Allow and Deny blocks are another important feature and allows teachers to make sure that students do not break any blocks necessary to the lesson, or to break blocks other students have created.
Classroom mode is a program that compliments the Education Edition and allows teachers to see where all the students are at all times, monitor chats, and chat with individual students.
Overall this game has proved to be both enjoyable for students, and easy for teachers to use. This bridges a huge gap for boredom in the classroom and actual learning.