Minecraft to launch education edition

An education edition of Minecraft is to be launched by Microsoft. Microsoft paid $2.5bn for Mojang, Minecraft’s Swedish creator, in 2014. And late last year, it bought the four-year-old MinecraftEdu version of the game from Finland-based independent developer TeacherGaming. It is now promising to add features, but schools may face extra costs.
It says more than 7,000 classrooms around the world already use Minecraft in some form. "Teachers are using Minecraft to do so many things, including teaching maths, science, religion and poetry," Anthony Salcito, Microsoft’s vice-president of worldwide education, told the BBC.
"Once we make the tools easier for schools to get access to and employ, I think you’ll see that number [of classrooms] grow quite quickly." MinecraftEdu already allows teachers to modify content in the game and use a shared library of education-themed assets.
Microsoft is promising to improve the experience by:
Allowing characters created by the children to retain their characteristics between sessions.
Letting pupils take "photos" of their progress via an in-game camera, and then store them in an online book alongside their own notes. These can then act as tutorials for other children or be used by the teacher to score their progress.
Permitting children to download software that will allow them to continue playing the educational version of Minecraft outside school without having to buy their own copy of the game. Microsoft says this will help teachers minimise the number of online accounts they need to manage.
But it may also help the company promote its word processing, email, and file-sharing apps over rival services from Google and others. Microsoft intends to charge an annual fee of $5 (£3.50) for each teacher and child.