UPDATE 16th August 2019 – some pretty big releases in the “Back to School Update” that I’ve blogged about here. Biggest features in terms of setup is around controlling multiplayer worlds, so I have updated that section below. Also note, version number for this release is 1.12.0 (previous version was 1.9.3). Official support pages for the Back To School Update are available here.
UPDATE 10th May 2019 – a new AzureVM Cloud Hosted option announced at MS Build meaning changes to the Multiplayer option section below. I’ve also updated the companion apps section since you don’t need to download the Code Connection companion app since the Nov 2018 Anniversary release.
UPDATE 28th Nov 2018 – there is a new way to manage licenses more easily for Minecraft:EE using the O365 Admin Portal (in the way you’d normally manage other licenses) removing the necessity for the Microsoft Store for Education. See the licensing section below.
I decided to write this post out of practicality – I’m getting asked almost on a daily basis what needs to be done to get Minecraft:EE up and running and it’s probably easier to simply update a single blog post and link to this to answer the question, rather than write up replies each time. I’ve decided to write this mainly as bullet points to show just the key information and make it quick to read.
Note: the product is evolving, licensing is changing, platforms are being added – expect this blog post to be updated regularly. I’ll add “Update: date stamp” to the top of the blog as I append new information. Where ever possible, I’ll try to link to official guides / documentation – if you spot a dead link leave a comment below.
Getting Started – What You Need
- Supported Device Platforms: You’ll need a device that runs Windows 10, MacOS (10.9+) or iOS (iOS9+) – more information here.
- Your students and teachers need an Office365 username/password to be able to sign into M:EE. There are a lot of ways you can set this up – useful blog post to quickly create users in O365 is here
- Licenses – You can sign into M:EE 25x as a teacher and 10x as a student before you need a license.
- New Zealand: as there is a national agreement with the Ministry of Education with M365 A3 (2019-21) schools can get M:EE at no cost. Licenses are required and can be sourced by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and requesting “M365 A3 licenses with Minecraft:EE”
- Elsewhere: You can purchase licenses directly from the Microsoft Store for Education or these can be sourced from your licensing partner through various agreements (EES, CSP, OVS-ES etc). Official Documentation Here.
- Getting Started – Official Documentation Here
Getting The Applications
There are numerous ways you can source the Minecraft:EE applications:
- Direct download link for Win10/MacOS
- iOS App Store for iPad
- This can be distributed via VPP and the MDM of your choice
- Microsoft Store for Education for Win10
- This can be used by students for individual downloads if they’re signed in, or you can use an MDM like Intune for Education to automatically deploy the app to Win10 devices.
- Companion Applications –
there are currently twocompanion apps there is only one additional app for M:EE that can be downloaded from here – these are currently only supported on Win10 / MacOS
- Classroom Manager – a tool to support teachers to manage a group of students playing M:EE
Once you’ve obtained licensing you do need to assign these to individual users.
Unlike most of the O365 Licensing, you do not manage M:EE licenses via the Offic365 Admin Portal – you do it via the Microsoft Store for Education
- UPDATE 28th November 2018 – you still can manage licensing as above if you wish, but as of today you can also manage it via the O365 Admin Portal making it far easier – NEW DOCUMENTATION HERE
- Official Documentation here for managing licensing.
- Recommendation: set your licenses to “auto assign” if you have Student Use Benefit (SUB) in place i.e. every student in the school has a license. This means that as soon as a student signs into M:EE for the first time they are automatically assigned a license in the Store for Education.
- If you have purchased a limited number of licenses e.g. 50, then suggest you do not use Auto Assign but instead manually assign those licenses through the Store for Education. You can also revoke licenses there if you wish to re-assign e.g. to a new class. Official Documentation Here.
Classroom Content / Lesson Plans
There is a wealth of information available for teachers to quickly get up to speed with ideas for using Minecraft:EE in their classrooms.
- Official Minecraft:EE Website
- Find a Lesson – Official Documentation
- Find a World – Official Documentation
- NEW: Build Challenges – A great resource for quick, focused Minecraft challenges to get started.
- Code Builder – Official Documentation
- Chemistry Update – Official Documentation
- Building the New Zealand Parliament “Beehive” building in Minecraft with code – (source code included)
- Basic Maths example in M:EE
- Literacy example based around Real Estate brochures
- Multiple curriculum examples from Australian educators
There is a wealth of ideas out there for any curriculum / age range – just get searching!
Minecraft:EE Multiplayer / Networking Considerations
Minecraft:EE works quite differently from other versions of Minecraft (Xbox, iPad PE, Win10, Java version). Key things to be aware of:
- Update 16th August 2019: The “Back To School Update” (version 1.12.0) has added key features for Multiplayer Mode – check them out here.
- Join Codes: now the host of the multiplayer world needs to share a pictorial join code before others can join. This will stop ‘mystery players’ joining without permission
- Host can also invite others into their world in ‘visitor mode’ meaning it’s effectively read/view only and they can’t edit/create in the world.
- You need an internet connection to sign into M:EE – this is because you use your Office365 credentials to authenticate. After that, if you’re playing single player you no longer need the internet
- Minecraft:EE worlds are saved to the local device – the worlds do not live on a server or in the cloud.
- Update 10th May 2019 Cloud hosting in AzureVM’s is now available
- Multiplayer games – official documentation here
- Update 10th May 2019 – whilst the information below is still true and accurate, there is now an option to work around this using cloud hosted AzureVM worlds for Minecraft:EE. This will allow you to overcome some of the challenges below around network security, and playing over the internet for homework. AzureVM licensing/costs are not included in the standard Minecraft:EE licensing and would need to be paid for additionally.
- Multiplayer games – the host (usually a teacher, could be a student in group work) has the world on their laptop – other students then connect over the LAN/WLAN to the host device. In other words, the host device becomes an ad hoc server. This has some considerations you need to be aware of:
- M:EE broadcasts via UDP across the network to allow users to see worlds/games being hosted. Some networks block this.
- Many schools segment traffic on their network using VLAN – this can prevent students/teachers devices being able to connect to each other directly
- Example code to configure a network switch (Allied Telesyn) can be found here – this allows the correct traffic to go between VLAN/subnets and also supports UDP broadcast. Use with care – no support/advice provided with this
- You can not connect across the internet (easily) to play multiplayer games e.g. for homework. Users need to be on the same LAN/WLAN and same subnet.
- There is a maximum number of 30 users in a multiplayer world.
- When the game quits, all users are removed from the world and the work is saved to the host device.
- Users need to be in the same Office365 Tenant (i.e. school) to connect in the same world. Even if they are on the same LAN/WLAN they must use the same O365 domain name to sign in and play multiplayer e.g. email@example.com
- If students wanted to continue to work on the multiplayer world individually, it would need to be exported and shared with them – Official Documentation Here.
- Knowledge Base – Official Documentation
- Webinar explaining how Minecraft:EE works and how to get started
- Deployment and Coding examples – summary blog post
- 3 Minute Intro and Guide to M:EE
- Research: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Framework report on M:EE
- Aotearoa / New Zealand Minecraft example
- Minecraft:EE Licensing blog summary
- Real Teacher example – using Minecraft:EE for the first time in their classroom
- Using PowerShell to assign/revoke licenses in the Microsoft Store for Education (technical)
There is a huge amount of information out there for support educators with Minecraft:EE – if I’ve missed anything please drop a comment below so I can include it in the blog post. The aim here is to make life easier for schools, educators, IT administrators and partners to get up and running with M:EE as quickly as possible.
Happy learning and playing!