Microsoft replacing MinecraftEDU with new education edition

A new education experience is coming to Minecraft

Starting this summer, classrooms hooked on MinecraftEDU will be given the option of migrating to a new education-focused Minecraft title, recently announced by Microsoft who has acquired the rights to MinecraftEDU from Teacher Gaming, a Finnish company.

The rebranded title, called Minecraft: Education Edition, will launch as a free trial this summer, and all MinecraftEDU subscribers will receive a yearlong subscription to the new game (they can also continue to use MinecraftEDU). In the meantime, Microsoft is reworking and expanding the new education edition especially for classrooms. In a statement, Microsoft alluded to working on a “transition plan” with Teacher Gaming, but said that further details — including if and when MinecraftEDU would be absorbed into the new title — would be worked out in the coming months.

Microsoft is also encouraging more involvement in its online community at education.minecraft.net, where they hope to connect educators interested in the game with relevant lesson plans, a place to provide feedback, and even a Minecraft Mentors page that “allows educators experienced in Minecraft to connect with those interested in trying it for the first time,” according to a recent online announcement.…Read More

4 Essential Game-Based Learning Questions

Asking the right questions can help games make a positive impact in the classroom

game-learningYou’d have to live under a rock to be unfamiliar with the rise of game-based learning in classrooms across the nation in recent years. Integrating a game into an instructional unit may seem daunting, but four key implementation questions should help educators use games to support teaching and learning and help drive student engagement.

Games offer opportunities for collaboration and inquiry-based, self-directed learning. They also support skill development that students need under Common Core math and Next Generation Science Standards.

It’s first important to define what is not a learning game, said Susannah Gordon-Messer, curriculum and professional development specialist at the MIT Education Arcade, during an edWeb webinar on gaming implementation strategies.…Read More

Using games to measure student skills

Game-based learning has broad implications for assessing student skills, researchers say

game-gamificationGame-based learning is one of the most popular trends in education today, and for good reason–a well-designed game engages students, boosts their interest in the topic it addresses, and immerses students in an educational and challenge-driven environment in an almost seamless manner.

But this is just scratching the surface. Many researchers and educators say games have a positive impact on student learning and that they help students develop skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration.

What if game-based learning could help educators measure skills such as these–skills that aren’t always measured by traditional assessments?…Read More

7 ways to evaluate educational games

Educational games are becoming more mainstream–here’s how to evaluate them 

educational-gameAs educational gaming moves from a future technology to a practice found in more and more classrooms, educators are recognizing game-based learning’s (GBL) potential to engage students and help them prepare for future learning.

By ensuring that games meet certain requirements, educators will find themselves on the path to choosing an impactful game that goes beyond the typical drill-and-practice or end-of-unit reward game.

“It can be overwhelming, but as gaming becomes more mainstream and there’s more out there about it, educators will be better equipped to evaluate games and GBL,” said Dan White, founder of Filament Games, a member of the advisory board for Games for Change, and a founding member of the Games Learning Society at the University of Wisconsin.…Read More

Twelve new ed-tech companies to watch

"The Social Express," from Language Express, is an animated program that uses video modeling to help students with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or ADHD learn the first steps to social interaction.

Game-based learning and mobile apps are beginning to catch on in schools—and these also were key characteristics that defined several of the dozen emerging ed-tech companies recognized for their potential by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) last month.

During SIIA’s Innovation Incubator program, held in connection with the organization’s Ed-Tech Industry Summit in San Francisco May 6-8, two new educational technology companies in particular—Language Express and Filament Games—were voted by the 350 conference attendees as being the “Most Likely to Succeed” (first place and runner-up, respectively). Filament Games and Language Express also were voted as the “Most Innovative,” in that order.

Language Express plans to build interactive, multimedia products to teach social and life skills to three- to 21-year-olds. Its first product, The Social Express, is a high-quality animated interactive program featuring original characters. It uses a unique video modeling concept to help students with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, or ADHD learn the basic first steps to social interaction.…Read More

Six technologies that soon could be in your classrooms

The fourth annual K-12 Horizon report lists six technologies likely to appear in schools in the next five years.

Looking into educational technology’s crystal ball for the fourth time, the annual Horizon Report for K-12 education has listed six emerging technologies that schools are likely to adopt in the near future.

Some of the technologies, like mobile tech, might seem like no-brainers—but will students be immersed in augmented reality within five years ? According to the report, even the most future-proofed classrooms ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

The report, produced by the New Media Consortium (NMC), the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education, uses a qualitative research process designed and conducted by NMC that engages an international body of experts in education, technology, and business around a set of research questions designed to expose major ed-tech trends and challenges and to identify emerging technologies with a strong likelihood of adoption in pre-college education.…Read More

Twitter chat hour reveals ed-tech insights

For our next Twitter chat hour, Managing Editor Laura Devaney will take questions from readers and share her ed-tech insights from 1-2 p.m. ET on June 9.

Readers who follow us on Twitter are especially interested in new eLearning tools, mobile devices, and game-based learning strategies, as evidenced by the questions we received during our first live Twitter chat hour with readers.

Hosted by Editor Dennis Pierce, the April 26 session gave readers a chance to submit questions and engage in an online dialogue about new trends and recent developments in education technology. The event took place entirely on Twitter and was so well received that we plan on making it a regular feature.

For our next Twitter chat hour, Managing Editor Laura Devaney will take questions from readers and share her ed-tech insights from 1-2 p.m. Eastern time on June 9.…Read More