UPDATE 8th September: the iPad version of Minecraft:EE is now available in the App Store and can be downloaded today. You can sign in with your O365 credentials (still need an M:EE license)
There was a major announcement this week that Minecraft:Education Edition is coming to iPads in September 2018.
From the announcement:
“Minecraft: Education Edition on iPad unlocks new and intuitive ways of collaborating and sharing and has revolutionized the way our students and teachers explore curriculum and projects,” says Kyriakos Koursaris, Head of Education Technology for PaRK International School. “The features allow for deep and meaningful learning, and the values it promotes, from inclusivity to 21 century skills, empower everyone to use technology with extraordinary results,” said Koursaris.
This, combined with the announcement last week of a new national Schools’ Agreement between the Ministry of Education and Microsoft in New Zealand, means that even more schools will have access to Minecraft:Education Edition on multiple platforms of iOS, MacOS and Windows10. Talking with partners and educators there is already huge interest in the ability to now play Minecraft:EE on an iPad.
Engaging & Creative Learning Opportunities
You should, of course, check out the hundreds of lessons and worlds on the official Minecraft:EE website here, where you are bound to find a lesson for your curriculum area and age of students. However, on the weekend I saw on Twitter an awesome example of promoting literacy with students in Minecraft by Sarah Bau, a teacher in Australia.
Sarah decided to get students building their own house in a shared Minecraft:EE world:
Students negotiated amongst themselves on land selection, and were given two lessons to build, fit out and photograph their property.
Sarah then went on to get the students use Canva (something I’ve blogged about in the past when hosting TeachMeets at St Andrew’s College) to create real estate adverts in a tri-fold brochure to advertise their Minecraft:EE house for sale. They were even able to take “photos” of their house in Minecraft using the Camera feature and export these screenshots for inclusion in their real estate sales brochure. Here is one example from her blog (which I really do encourage you to check out again here):
This reminds me of other Minecraft focused literacy activities I’ve been involved with in the past and showcases the incredible flexibility of Minecraft and the diverse learning opportunities it supports. I suggest you also check out this example that Wilj Dekkers used with his students to support creative writing with Year 6 students, also combining OneNote and Minecraft.
Cross Platform Support From Microsoft
With the announcement of iOS support for Minecraft:Education Edition, it is continuing a theme of greater cross platform support from Microsoft for other OS in the Education Space.
I blogged last week about the release of iOS support for Intune for Education, something that is pretty significant in my perspective as it opens up that elusive opportunity for schools to manage all of their devices through a “single pane of glass” i.e. – one platform for MDM.
Perhaps the feature that has drawn the most attention from schools that use a mixture of devices and cloud collaboration suites is the integration of Google Drive (amongst other cloud storage platforms) into Microsoft Teams:
You can see how easy it is above to add a third party cloud storage to your Microsoft Team (if your O365 Tenant Administrator has allowed this) and when this is selected, you are presented with a range of options:
While Google Drive is arguably the most popular of the third party cloud providers above in education, I was in a large school recently where the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) had been using Dropbox.com for sharing Office documents across multiple devices. They were very excited to see the integration of Dropbox into Teams.
What surprises most teachers, however, is the ability to actually open and edit documents hosted in Google Drive directly inside Teams – you are not required to go to G Suite to edit:
My Perspective & Final Thoughts:
Three pretty recent announcements and/or product releases showing Microsoft support for other platforms in Education:
- Third party cloud storage in Microsoft Teams (available now)
- iOS support and management in Intune for Education (available now)
- iOS support for Minecraft:Education Edition (coming in Sept 2018)
In many ways, this is simply continuing a recent trend from Microsoft to show more support and openness, highlighted by Satya Nadella’s comments that Microsoft loves Linux:
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ultimate winners out of all this is schools, teachers and students. There is an ever greater range and choice of platforms for teaching and learning for schools to choose from and with cross-platform management tools like Intune for Education now available it is simplifying their administration tasks as well.
In the end, this choice has to be a good thing.