The world is stuck at home as part of the fight against the spread of COVID-19. This has led to a huge jump in gaming activity across multiple platforms. Sony has even agreed to throttle its network to save bandwidth for more crucial data. But just because people are spending more time with games doesn’t mean kids can’t still learn. And Microsoft plans to help with that by launching free educational content in its popular brick-building game Minecraft.
You can open the Minecraft Marketplace right now to find a new Education category. This section includes lessons that Microsoft originally included in Minecraft: Education Edition. They enable students to explore the International Space Station, the inner workings of the human eye, and more. All of the material in the Education category is available for free through June 30.
“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,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer writes in a blog post. “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.”
Educators have used Minecraft to get kids excited about learning for years. Since 2013, you could find dozens of Minecraft coding camps. And then developer Mojang embraced that concept with Minecraft: Education Edition in 2016. That version features tools like chalkboards and easy controls for parents.
Minecraft is available as part of Xbox Game Pass, or you can get it for $20 on console and PC, or $6 on mobile devices.