In November, Microsoft launched Minecraft: Education Edition, enabling teachers to use the popular, blocky game as an educational tool. Priced at $5 per user per year, it was initially released in 50 countries, but it's since expanded further.
Microsoft said today that "more than 75,000 students and educators from more than 100 countries have discovered how Minecraft facilitates learning through creation, exploration and teaching", since the Education Edition was first announced a year ago. The number of users has steadily grown since the company launched an early access program for around 35,000 students and teachers last summer.
Microsoft announced that new features are on the way too, in response to feedback from its users:
Today, we’re excited to launch the latest Minecraft: Education Edition update, offering a number of new features requested by our community, including Global Pause to take a quick break to transition to a new activity, accessibility features like text to speech for in-game chat, an updated user interface for managing in game settings, 256 world height for greater building capabilities, complete gameplay from the first night to The End dimension, and new “Minecraft mobs” and items including igloos and Polar Bears in snowy biomes.
Finally, Microsoft said that it's expanding its Minecraft Mentor program, which will grow to 60 mentors representing 18 countries. "Minecraft Mentors are experienced guides to help educators with their Minecraft journey in education," it explained.
As part of this expansion, it's introducing native support for .mcworld files on its docs.com platform, to make it easier to upload and share Minecraft worlds with the global education community.
Alongside those announcements, Microsoft also introduced its new Intune for Education device and software management suite today, as well as showcasing a new range of Windows 10 PCs for schools and universities, priced as low as $189.