I blogged back in June around the ISTE event in Philadelphia about the newly announced features that were going to land in Minecraft: Education Edition and I’m thrilled to see them released today! Note: the new release is version 1.12.0 (previous version was 1.9.3)
The #BacktoSchool Update is now available for all users! 🎉 This set of features improves the #MinecraftEdu classroom experience, and includes Immersive Reader, multiplayer join codes, SSO, and more. Download the update: https://t.co/Jf2ISZO9Dd #MicrosoftEdu pic.twitter.com/3CeOSp78ln
— Minecraft Education (@PlayCraftLearn) August 15, 2019
The M:EE team have released their own blog post covering this and, as always, I encourage you to read the original post here. If you need specific technical help about the new release then check the support pages for the Back To School Update here.
What Are The Key Things I Need To Know?
- Big improvements to Multiplayer mode – one of the biggest frustrations I’ve heard from schools is that people in other classes simply join the worlds of students uninvited. Now, with the release of “Join Codes” you can’t enter a world without first being provided the pictorial join code: problem solved. Additionally, the host can invite others into their world in “guest mode” meaning they can view, but not edit/change the world. This is a huge release.
- Improved Sharing of Worlds & Exporting of Content – one of the best parts of Minecraft:EE is the ability to deeply integrate it into the learning and assessment happening in a classroom. This got even easier now with links to worlds inside of libraries, meaning teachers can hyper link from an LMS or Microsoft Teams directly to the template world they want students to use. Additionally, you can now export content students have been collecting inside their in-game portfolio (Book & Quill) as a PDF, not simply a text file with separate images. This makes it far easier when it comes to submitting in-game assessment to a LMS or Teams assignment. These two small tweaks will make a big difference for educators.
- Single Sign On – a handy one for users on Windows 10 who sign into their device with their O365 credentials. Now, Minecraft:EE will automatically sign you in as well which is handy on 1:1 devices. In shared scenarios you can still sign out of M:EE to allow a different user to sign in.
- Immersive Reader – I remember when I first quit my job in ICT to re-train to become a teacher and. the first day of teacher’s college we were told “You’re all teachers of literacy! No matter your subject specialty, you’re all teachers of literacy!” Now, with Immersive Reader coming to Minecraft:EE, this app joins the growing list of others that are helping students access the material they need to learn with the support they need.
It’s great to see the continued evolution of Minecraft: Education Edition and, as always, make sure you go to the home page for full details. In my view, this update addresses some key requests from educators so it’s always pleasing to see the product team is listening to the customers and updating accordingly. Additionally, the focus on the learning side of things with better portfolio export options, easier external linking to worlds and improved literacy support means this update will appeal even more to teachers.
If you’re on Windows 10 or an iPad you’ll get the update automatically. If you’re on a MacBook / iMac you’ll need to download the app and reinstall – start here.