Microsoft encourages use of Minecraft in education

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Microsoft has introduced a new Minecraft Educational portal which will allow educators to use the block building game to help their students learn a number of skills in the classroom.

Microsoft bought the game’s developer Mojang for $2.5bn in 2014. Available at ‘education.minecraft.net‘ the new website has been designed as a sort of community forum for teachers around the world where they can share ideas on how the video game can be used as part of lessons.

Announcing the new portal, Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education at Microsoft, in a blog on TechNet, said that they are finding Minecraft to be one of these resources in classrooms.

“In response to the excitement from educators I’m excited to introduce our new Minecraft destination designed to provide educators with a forum to share their ideas and receive inspiration. We expect this new community to help educators get inspired about what’s possible with Minecraft in education.”

Salcito also listed some of the ways in which schools are already incorporating Minecraft into their lessons for educational purposes. He noted that primary schools in Seattle are already teaching basic maths skills by calculating perimeter, area and volume in Minecraft, while middle schools students are learning about various religions by recreating sites in the game. Elementary students in Scotland are learning about city planning and engineering by reimaging, redesigning and then building in Minecraft.

In addition, Microsoft also announced “three more new resources that provide more collaboration in the classroom and immersive learning experience and complement our existing offerings, free resources and professional development. Two new free services are in Preview and coming soon to Office 365 Education – Microsoft Class Dashboard and Microsoft School Information Sync. These services make communication and collaboration easier between teachers and students, and simplify connections between systems.”

The Redmond has also rolled out a video which explains how teachers are using Minecraft as a tool for student education. Interested educators can register their interest in the Minecraft portal via the link http://education.minecraft.net/