Minecraft is one of the most popular games ever made, and it appears to be just as beloved in classrooms as it is at home. Looking to continue that trend, Microsoft and Mojang have been working hard at further developing Minecraft Education Edition, and at the start of 2017, the two firms have announced that this version of the game has now hit 1.0.
Minecraft Education Edition is the same Minecraft world you know and love, but with specific features aimed at students and teachers. It has NPCs for tutorials, simple multiplayer server setup, camera and portfolio recording, in-game chalkboards and downloadable lesson plans for educators.
While all of those features have been present since the early days of Minecraft Education Edition in late 2016, now that it’s hit version 1.0, there are a number of new features to enjoy, too.
There is now a global pause button, which brings the whole world to a quick halt in order to give children a break, and which also lets the teacher control when and how the lesson ends. Text-to-speech and other accessibility features have also been added and they make it easier for those with disabilities to join in, too. A newly arranged UI makes interaction easier, and an increased world height to 256 means bigger and better projects.
Added features from the main game’s v1.0 update, like The End dimension, are now included and there are also igloos and polar bears in snowy biomes. To top it all off, there’s a new, streamlined uploading process with support for .mcworld files.
To continue encouraging teachers and educators around the world to use Minecraft Education Edition, Microsoft has also announced a new mentor system. This will see some 60 educators from 19 countries around the world posting blogs, lesson plans, live-streams and videos on a regular basis as part of a “Mentor of the Week” ongoing series.
Microsoft and Mojang aren’t stopping there though. They plan many more updates to the educational version of Minecraft throughout 2017, so keep your eyes peeled and make sure you know your granite from your redstone, as chances are your kids will be playing it before long, if they haven’t already.