At the start of the year, Microsoft acquired MinecraftEdu, an organization dedicated to using the popular, blocky game as an educational tool, and said that it would make a new Minecraft: Education Edition available to teachers this summer.
In September, the company said that its launch was planned for November 1, and today it announced that Minecraft: Education Edition is now officially available in 11 languages and 50 countries around the world.
Since June, over 50,000 teachers and students have taken part in an early access program to help 'fine-tune' the new education offering. But with today's launch, the full suite of tools is now available; as Microsoft explained:
...the full version of Minecraft: Education Edition includes the much-anticipated Classroom Mode companion app, enabling educators to manage world settings, communicate with students, give items, and teleport students in the Minecraft world. It displays a map view of the Minecraft world, a list of all the students in the world, a set of world management settings and a chat window. There is even a Minecraft clock to show time of day in the world. Classroom Mode offers educators the ability to interact with students and manage settings from a central user interface.
It added that it will continue to update Minecraft: Education Edition with "new game features from other editions of Minecraft":
In the official version, available now, all the latest updates to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta will be included, such as leads and horses, additional player skins, pistons and the remainder of Redstone functionality and an updated user interface.
Minecraft: Education Edition is priced at $5 per user per year, although different pricing applies for those who subscribe through a 'district-wide licensing model'. In order to use the new software, you'll need to:
- Upgrade your computer "to Windows 10 or macOS";
- Sign up for a free Office 365 Education account using your school or district email; and
- Download Minecraft: Education Edition
...which you can do via education.minecraft.net, where you can also find various resources to help you get started with using Minecraft in the classroom.