PCMAN – Who would have thought that Minecraft, a gaming software created by a Swedish programmer, could become one of the tools that Microsoft uses to implement digital citizenship to children’s education? Perhaps some people are being skeptical when they hear the idea of using a video game to learn or study. However, Microsoft has recently announced an Education Edition of Minecraft, which is visioned to be helping children study in schools.
Minecraft is a gaming software that enable players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D generated world. It allows the player to explore, gather resources, craft and perform combat. It also offers a multiple gameplay modes, where players will have unlimited resources, and able to play on custom maps created by others.
Originally released in 2011, Minecraft has expanded rapidly from being a PC-only game, into a multiple award-winning software that can now be played in Xbox, Playstation, Windows Phone, and Wii U. It has grabbed Microsoft’s attention to evolve and improve this game for a better use—education for children.
Microsoft claimed that through Minecraft, children create virtual worlds, and by advancing in it, they will learn digital citizenship, empathy, social skills, and improve their literacy. They will also improve their problem solving skills while receiving real time feedback from their teachers. Until January 2016, 7,000 classrooms in more than 40 countries around the world have already adapted Minecraft to their school curriculum.
The new version launched by Microsoft will help educators, school, parents, and students to collaborate easier as they engage during the learning process. It was reported that the Education Edition of Minecraftwill be written in C++ instead of Java. By doing this, there are new possibilities for cross-platform play as gamers can explore and build worlds together despite the operating system that they are using.
The aim of the project is to support all the features of the Java version, but at the same time providing new features for teachers to control multiplayer sessions. Both students and teachers will be able to log into Minecraft using Office 365 credentials for their institution.
Designed to match educators with experience using Minecraft in the classroom, Minecraft Education Edition is a new form of participation from Microsoft. However, they strongly believe it will foster deeper student engagement and collaboration.