Around five years ago, Mojang authorized a version of Minecraft that had a focus on education called MinecraftEdu. The program grew and is now used by over 55,000 classrooms in 40 countries, with lesson plans for science, art, history and geography.
MinecraftEdu was created by Joel Liven, whose blog you can check out here. Joel, an advocate of gaming in eduction, is a co-founder of TeacherGaming an independent game studio with the goal of using award winning video games as education tools. Another one of their projects is a version of the popular Kerbal Space Program called KerbalEdu.
Today it was announced by Mojang that they will be developing Minecraft: Education Edition using MinecraftEdu. According to the FAQ on the website, Minecraft: Education Edition will build on MinecraftEdu with features including:
- Enhanced maps with coordinates for students and teachers to find their way around the Minecraft world together.
- Student Portfolio feature, where students can take photos and selfies to show their work and learning.
- Enhanced multiplayer, where a classroom of up to 40 students can work together toward a greater world in Minecraft.
- Login and personalization, where students have personalized avatars and feel more engaged in the game and teachers can know who each player is.
- World import and export, where teachers and students can create and save their worlds in the game.
When the game launches in the summer, in time for the 2016 school year, it will have lesson plans ready for use. While Mojang hasn’t announced a firm price point on the game yet, it has said that those who already own MinecraftEdu will have access to the game at no charge for the first year. Mojang’s plan for pricing is to keep it at $5 per user, per year.