- Microsoft has released Minecraft: Education Edition for Chromebooks.
- It plays just like the versions for Windows, Mac, and iPads, including online multiplayer.
- Your childâ€™s school will likely need to hand it out.
Microsoft and Mojang have released Minecraft: Education Edition for Chromebooks, making the learning-focused version of the game available on Chrome OS for the first time. It offers the same features as the versions on Mac, Windows, and iPads, including multiplayer with people on other platforms.
The Education Edition helps kids learn through special resources, lesson plans and even assessment tools to gauge a studentâ€™s progress. Both Chromebooks and other devices are also getting more learning tools as of this release, such as 11 new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) lessons that teach about bees and other subjects.
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This version of Minecraft likely wonâ€™t cost you anything, although you also wonâ€™t get it just for personal use. You need an Office 365 education account to play, and youâ€™ll mostly get that through the schoolâ€™s Microsoft 365 for Education license. Microsoft does hope to support Google sign-ins for those willing to link accounts.
Itâ€™s a particularly timely release. Many students are likely to resume school at home while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and Minecraft lets them learn in low-stress virtual world where they can still socialize with teachers and fellow kids.
Of course, thereâ€™s also a practical angle for Microsoft. Chromebooks have had a major presence in classrooms for years, and this gives Microsoft a way to both spur 365 sign-ups and put its best-known game on the map for schools without Windows PCs. Still, itâ€™s hard to complain about the cynical motivations if this gets children more interested in STEM and keeps them engaged no matter where their classes take place.