KEY POINTS

  • "Minecraft: Education Edition" is coming to Chromebooks just as the new school year is about to begin
  • It is meant to be more of an educational tool than a game, with lessons that focus on math, science, language arts, history, and visual arts
  • "Minecraft: Education Edition" is a game-based learning platform that helps build key 21st-century skills like coding and creative problem solving

Microsoft is bringing “Minecraft: Education Edition” to Chromebooks right on time for the new school year.

To be clear, this isn’t the standard “Minecraft” sandbox video game developed by Mojang Studios that has sold over 200 million copies across all platforms since its November 2011 release.

“Minecraft: Education Edition” requires a Microsoft 365 for Education (A3 or A5) license, TechCrunch reports. It is also meant to be more of an educational tool than a game, with lessons that focus on math, science, language arts, history, and visual arts.

That’s quite a departure from exploring a blocky, procedurally-generated 3D world with infinite terrain, discovering and extracting raw materials, crafting tools and items, and building structures. The standard edition of “Minecraft,” depending on the game mode, can have players fighting computer-controlled “mobs,” as well as the option to cooperate or compete against other players in the same world.

Instead, Microsoft is partnering with the Google Education team to welcome educators on Chromebooks to “Minecraft.”

Chromebooks are laptops or tablets running the Linux-based Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are primarily used to perform a variety of tasks using the  Google Chrome browser, with most applications and data residing in the cloud rather than on the machine itself.

The Chromebook version of “Minecraft” will offer the same set of features as “Minecraft: Education Edition” on Windows, Mac, and iOS, including cross-platform multiplayer support.

As of the moment, students will need a Microsoft account to log in, although the company says support for logging in with Google accounts is coming “in the near future.”

“'Minecraft: Education Edition' is a game-based learning platform that helps build key 21st-century skills like coding and creative problem solving,” Microsoft explains in today’s announcement.

“Hundreds of free standards-aligned lessons, design challenges, and STEM curriculum are available in-game and online, along with flexible templates for teachers to design their own learning activities,” the company said.

With the global pandemic effectively forcing physical classes to be impractical, online classes have become a must. The company said, “In a time when staying connected to the classroom is of extra importance, ‘Minecraft’ supports collaboration and meaningful student-led learning.”

The “Minecraft: Education Edition” is now available in Google’s Play Store for users with the right licenses.

Despite a clear warning that it takes an Office 365 Education account to log in, TechCrunch reports that you’ll see plenty of one-star reviews from disappointed players who think it’s the regular Minecraft. With the right Chromebook, though, these players could always play Minecraft for Android on Chrome OS, too.

Chromebook Be school-ready with deals on amazing Chromebooks. Photo: Kaboompics .com / Pexels