Microsoft is finally releasing the full version of Minecraft: Education Edition on November 1, following months of beta testing and early access for classrooms. That free access will end upon release, when the game will be offered for purchase for the first time.

According to a recent announcement, more than 35,000 students and educators around the world have tried the program and provided feedback. A handful of new features will debut in Novemeber based on that feedback, including:

Classroom Mode: A companion app for Minecraft: Education Edition that enables educators to manage world settings, communicate with students, give items and teleport students in the Minecraft world. It displays a map view of the Minecraft world, a list of all the students in the world, a set of world management settings and a chat window. There is even a Minecraft clock to show time of day in the world. Classroom Mode offers educators the ability to interact with students and manage settings from a central user interface.

New Minecraft game features: Including those from other editions of Minecraft. All the latest updates to Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition beta will be included, such as leads and horses, additional player skins, pistons and the remainder of Redstone functionality and an updated user interface.

Microsoft is welcoming additional feedback on the game. Educators and students can also access, which includes lesson plans, starter worlds, a tutorial experience, and the Minecraft Mentors program, which connects educators with others experienced in teaching with Minecraft. Content such as lesson plans, created by educators, is also available, covering topics from storytelling and poetry to city planning, sustainable living and geometry.

Minecraft: Education Edition is free to try until Nov. 1. After that, the cost is $5 per user, or via a district-wide licensing model. Further instructions are available on the official Microsoft announcement.

About the Author:

Stephen Noonoo

Stephen Noonoo is a former editor of eSchool News. He has served as a consultant for CUE, California’s ISTE affiliate, and as managing editor of its quarterly publication, OnCUE. He has worked as a freelance writer, an education editor for SmartBrief newsletters, and as a staff editor for a well-known publication focusing on education technology.