With millions of children around the world stuck at home as schools close to try and contain the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, many families are now struggling to figure out how best to keep their kids engaged with learning and various more educational activities.
Microsoft have decided to step up to the plate, drawing from the Minecraft: Education Edition and adding worlds and lessons to a new Education category in the Minecraft Marketplace. All of this will be completely free to anyone that has the game (and let’s be honest, most people will, since it’s the highest selling game of all time).
Announcing the programme, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said:
We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people around the world and changed the way we go about our daily lives. Here at Microsoft, we’re constantly asking ourselves what we can do to support people during this challenging time. To me, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all living and learning through this together.
I have previously stated that I believe gaming has a unique power to bring people together, to entertain, to inspire and connect us, and I believe that’s even more true under these unique circumstances. Many are looking to gaming to remain connected with their friends while practicing social distancing, and we are seeing an unprecedented demand for gaming from our customers right now.
With hundreds of millions of kids at home due to coronavirus-related school closures more kids are going online to spend time with their friends, explore online worlds and learn through play. Families are trying to navigate the need to help their children with distance learning and balance that with taking time to have fun. That’s why we announced today that we are adding a new Education category to the Minecraft Marketplace with free educational content players and parents can download.
This includes a number of educational worlds, so that you can visit a blocky version of the International Space Station or the inside of a human eye. They’re also including ten worlds from the Marketplace creator community – specifically from Everbloom, Jigarbov, Lifeboat, Razzleberries, The World Foundry, Blockworks, and Imagiverse – to feature things like renewable energy marine biology, and Greek history.
Each world includes a lesson plan, with creative writing, building challenges and in-game puzzles. They’ll learn to code with a robot, find and build 3D fractals and more.
All of this content is free to download today through Minecraft’s Bedrock edition, and will be available through to 30th June 2020.
Minecraft is available on Android & iOS, Kindle Fire, Windows 10 PC, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, Fire TV, Xbox One, Windows MR, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation 4.