Minecraft Code Builder teaches kids how to code; Command Blocks coming to Education Edition

Microsoft today unveiled Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition, a new tool that will help kids learn how to code by manipulating the blocky open world of Minecraft.

Code Builder is a tool in two parts: first, the Agent, a robot who appears in the world of Minecraft and executes commands; second, a link with popular learn-to-code programs like Tynker, ScratchX, and Microsoft’s own MakeCode. The Agent executes code fed to it by the programs, allowing students to perhaps build a hut or start a fire, but with code.

Those are merely examples, but Microsoft says that the potential of the tool goes as far as the skills of students. Students who are just starting to learn how to code can use Tynker to drag and drop blocks of code and control the Agent in the game, but once advanced, they can code commands directly in JavaScript, and execute them without the help of the Agent.

Code Builder is available as an open beta starting today, via the Minecraft Store, but it requires Minecraft: Education Edition and will not work with the standard Windows 10 edition.

Tynker giving commands to The Agent in Minecraft

Microsoft today also announced Windows 10 S, an education-focused edition of Windows; every new Windows 10 S PC will come with a free one-year subscription of Minecraft: Education Edition, which usually costs $5 per user per year.

Mojang is also updating the Classroom Mode for Minecraft: Education Edition, allowing educators to control the weather, mobs, chat, and blocks that can cause damage like TNT and lava.

Additionally, later this spring, Mojang will introduce Command Blocks, texture pack support, villager trading, adventure mode, concrete, llamas, and additional languages with the 1.0.1 update for Minecraft: Education Edition.

Lastly, later this year, Code.org will integrate its Code Studio with the Code Builder, giving students one more program to choose and learn with.

The concept of programming in Minecraft isn’t new – there is an entire mod dedicated to it. Minecraft creators have even built BASIC compilers within Minecraft, allowing them to compile and execute code within the game. Code Builder, however, makes the idea elegant and integrates the world of Minecraft with tools that are designed to teach kids how to code.

Source: Minecraft Blog

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