Back in my day, computers in schools were used for serious learning like making Podd explode. New parents, look at me and be glad that your kids may be learning Minecraft instead. The ubiquitous block 'em up has been in schools for a few years now, in part thanks to programs like MinecraftEdu, which combines a custom version of Minecraft with lesson plans and things. Now Microsoft, who already own Minecraft makers Mojang, have bought up MinecraftEdu and announced plans to release a revised and expanded Minecraft: Education Edition.
First, let's get past the basic question of what folks can learn from Minecraft. Sample resources including poking at electrical engineering basics with Redstone circuits, touring a recreation of the Temple of Artemis as inspiration for lessons on history, poetry, and architecture, making pixel art with blocks, and playing with explosives while looking at Anderson shelters. Tch, it's not like my day, when we were held rapt by informative videos.
So! The plan is to create "a new and expanded version of Minecraft for the classroom". Minecraft: Education Edition will launch this summer, and offer a free trial.
"We've seen that Minecraft transcends the differences in teaching and learning styles and education systems around the world," said Mojang's COO Vu Bui. "It's an open space where people can come together and build a lesson around nearly anything."
Here are some of those learning people and the small ones that have to listen to them: