Ever since Microsoft acquired Minecraft in September of 2014, the company has been promoting the highly popular game as an educational as well as entertainment offering. Today, Microsoft is expanding the educational uses of Minecraft by acquiring MinecraftEdu, a version of Minecraft tailored for use in schools. This special version, created by Teacher Gaming LLC, is used in some 7,000 classrooms in more than 40 countries. Microsoft is acquiring the modified version of the game for an unspecified amount, but is not acquiring its creator, Teacher Gaming.
With the acquisition, Microsoft plans to release a new and expanded version of MinecraftEdu it’s calling Minecraft Education Edition. The new edition, available for free trial beginning this summer, will offer an expanded set of features that will help both educators and students, and help them to collaborate, according to Anthony Salcito, Vice President for Worldwide Education at Microsoft:
Minecraft Education Edition will be shaped by a growing community of educators throughout its development this spring and through the educator community online at http://education.minecraft.net. I’m happy to share that this site will also boast a new Minecraft Mentors program, matching educators with experience using Minecraft in the classroom with those looking to try it for the first time.
Microsoft appears to be building out Minecraft not only as a cool social game able to potentially attract new users to Microsoft’s other properties, but as an educational experience, and one that can introduce Microsoft products to students at an early age, and getting them excited about programming as an extra added bonus.