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Microsoft announces new update to Minecraft: Education Edition

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Microsoft Studios and Mojang announced the launch the Minecraft: Education Edition at the BETT 2016 a year ago by installing it on twelve computers, and ever since it has facilitated learning opportunities to thousands of students around the world.

Now one year later, over 75,000 students and educators in more than 100 countries create, explore, and learn with Minecraft: Education Edition. This make the developers realise the power of partnering with educators around the world.

Microsoft has announced to expand the successful Minecraft Mentor program to include 60 Global Minecraft Mentors representing 19 countries around the world. As part of the Minecraft Mentor of the Week program, every week a different mentor will post blogs, live streams, videos and other contributions.

Amanda Bolton, Global Minecraft Mentor from Costa Rica, said that she applied to be a Global Minecraft Mentor to help new teachers overcome initial difficulties faced with  embracing game-based learning,

“I am learning so much from this experienced group of educators, and excited to support the community in Central America, where STEM investments are just beginning,” she said.

Microsft said that apart from expanding community engagement, it has learned to continue to make Minecraft player-focused while adding features and capabilities lowering the barrier to game-based learning for educators and administrators.

Minecraft: Education 2017 update

Minecraft also announced the first update to the Minecraft: Education Edition. This latest release brings the new features such a global pause to take a quick break, accessibility features like text-to-speech for in-game chat, updated user interface with easier settings management, 256 world heights for greater building capabilities and complete game play from the first night to The End dimension.

Ben Kelly, Global Minecraft Mentor from Canada, while speaking on the update said that as not only an educator but a Minecraft player alongside his students, he loved the move to 256 world height.

“More real estate for building means more learning opportunities, and this alongside the other 1.0 changes are exactly what I am looking for in the game”

“Global pause allows me to briefly give instructions to my students or allow them a moment of mindfulness without disrupting game flow, a balanced solution I’m looking forward to leveraging with my class,” said Ben.

Microsoft had received requests from educators for an easier way to upload and share their Minecraft worlds with the community. To accommodate this, .mcworld files are now supported on the docs.com platform. Educators can create profiles, upload worlds, tag them accordingly, and even link to them in lesson plans on the website.

In the year ahead, Microsoft says the game will continue to be about the players and the voice of students is key to ensure the Education Edition remains Minecraft at its core.

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