Microsoft is introducing advanced education version of Minecraft game and free learning tool for OneNote. Microsoft has acquired MinecraftEdu and investing in it to make a more interactive version of Minecraft for classrooms. The new version is named as Minecraft Education Edition.
Since 2011, MinecraftEdu from Finland based TeacherGaming, a version of Minecraft built specially for the classroom, has reached thousands of classrooms in more than 40 countries around the world. It has been empowering students and educators to learn and teach through building and exploring with fun and familiar environment.
Vu Bui, COO of Mojang, said, “One of the reasons Minecraft fits so well in the classroom is because it’s a common, creative playground. We have seen that Minecraft transcends the differences in teaching and learning styles and education system around the world. It’s an open space where people can come together and build a lesson around nearly anything.”
Anthony Salcito, Microsoft vice president of worldwide education, said by creating a virtual world and then advancing in it, students could learn digital citizenship, empathy, social skill and even improve their literacy. “Whenever I get to visit a classroom – that they learn best when given the freedom to learn at their own pace and in ways that are familiar to them,” he said.
“At Microsoft we think a lot about these individualized learning experiences and how immersive and inclusive technology can help empower every student on the planet to achieve more,” Salcito further added.
Current customers of MinecraftEdu can continue using the tool with which they are already familiar. To support them Microsoft will offer this new version of Minecraft at free of cost for one year. However, it will cost $5 a year. Another announcement made by Microsoft was about OneNote, a tool that has made a firm base in classrooms all over the world through the OneNote class Notebook.
It is a digital notebook in which students can organize their course contents, create interactive lessons, and get feedback and support of problems. It will help students in improving their reading and writing skills. This tool will also help students who have learning disorder like dyslexia.
This tool was selected over 3,300 offerings in hackathon held at Microsoft last July. One of the team members, Sebastian Greaves said, “One of the key things we wanted to achieve is to make sure no student ever got behind in their education because of their difficulties with reading. We wanted to make sure that was as little a barrier as possible, so they can focus on what they’re learning.”
This is not the first time Microsoft is making a contribution in education. Earlier, it introduced micro:bits to learn basic programming and it helped a lot of learners. Recently, Microsoft also announced free cloud services for Indian Startups.
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