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Best-selling video game Minecraft has extended free access to its online learning platform because of the unprecedented closure of many schools worldwide.
Minecraft, a building game launched in 2009, became a learning platform after Microsoft bought Minecraft developer Mojang in 2014. At present, the platform called Minecraft: Education Edition is used by around 35 million people in 115 countries.
All Minecraft users will be able to access the platform for free until the end of June. Minecraft’s general manager Deirdre Quarnstrom said that the company is trying to meet the need for remote learning because many children are stuck at home. She added that Minecraft can easily adjust to the needs of remote learning since it is a digital game.
Minecraft: Education Edition features lessons in math, science, language arts, and history. The platform has a remote learning toolkit with activities like building historical monuments and coding to create a virtual garden.
The platform comes with a classroom multiplayer feature, which helps build rapport among users of the same program. Through the platform, children can also go on virtual tours of the International Space Station and the capital of the US.
According to Becky Keene, a certified Minecraft trainer, interesting activities and environments motivate children to continue studying. Keene added that Minecraft is helpful since it is visually engaging, and it makes tracking students’ progress easier.
Minecraft educator Mark Henkels attributes Minecraft’s popularity to the platform’s promotion of social interaction. He believes that this aspect of the game makes Minecraft an effective educational platform.