Countries around the world are in lockdown situations or soon will be as COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to spread. One of the first isolation measures taken in nations affected by the virus is to suspend schools. With more children at home, virtual education is becoming increasing important. Microsoft says it is using Minecraft Education Edition to help affected students.

Microsoft has said Minecraft developer Mojang has extended Minecraft Education Edition, making it available to all students and educators. However, to be eligible you will need to have a Microsoft 365 account but the good news is the education-focused version of the game is now free.

Educators can get underway with the free tool by heading to a Mojang website to fill out this form and apply for expanded access. Microsoft says the complete version of Minecraft Education Edition is available, with all features on board.

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The service gives schools and educators a customized version of the game. Minecraft can be used to expand creative work and also encourage collaboration and teamwork.

Help for Newcomers

For newcomers to the platform, Microsoft has debuted a remote learning toolkit. Users can access over 50 lesson plans and other learning tools to give educators ideas how to leverage Minecraft Education Edition.

Certified Minecraft educator Becky Keene says the tool could be valuable to educators.

“Distance learning requires students to be engaged in content in news ways…As they work remotely, they need to have activities and environments that motivate them to learn. Minecraft supports almost any content area, and students can show me their learning without missing a beat!”

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