Minecraft: Education Edition goes Early Access

Minecraft: Education Edition goes Early Access

This week, Minecraft: Education Edition opened its doors to the general public via an early access program that is expected to last most of the summer. That includes adding in-game chalkboards that can display large blocks of text and letting teachers place characters that'll say things when a student walks up to them.

As they make their way through the game, students can take screenshots of their work and save it in a portfolio, documenting the development of their projects.

The current build of Minecraft: Education Edition introduces a new camera feature, complete with in-game portfolios, and a set of programmable NPCs that can be used to teach students.

Following up on its promises from January, Microsoft today released a free trial of Minecraft Education Edition - the version of Minecraft meant for use in the classroom - to educators worldwide. These chalkboards can be mounted on any vertical surface or simply placed on the ground, and come in three sizes: slate, poster, and board. These additions will help educators get started quickly wth Minecraft: Education Edition.

Microsoft's has bolstered its push into the education sector with the release of Minecraft: Education Edition for teachers around the world.

Microsoft is also developing new features for the game, such as teleporting and chat capabilities. The former indie phenomenon is hugely popular among children and was acquired by Microsoft when it purchased developer Mojang for $2.5 billion (£1.7bn) back in 2014.

Microsoft has designed the lessons to work across subjects and age groups. This includes sample lessons such as "City Planning for Population Growth", "Exploring factors and multiples", and "Effects of deforestation".

If you plan on checking out Education Edition, note that you must be running Windows 10 or OS X El Capitan. Microsoft may be making the game available to schools, but it's up to teachers to find a way to use it within their lessons. The game itself can be downloaded here.

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