back to article Sorry, kids. Microsoft is turning Minecraft into an 'educational tool'

Microsoft is to launch a dedicated educational version of Minecraft which it hopes will be used in classrooms globally – a move that will be sure to put kids off the hugely popular game. Back in 2014 Microsoft bought the game from Swedish developer Mojang for $2.5bn (£1.7bn). More than 54 million copies of Minecraft have been …

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  1. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I'll do it on the Pi thank you

    Under Raspbian.

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Meh

      Re: I'll do it on the Pi thank you

      Hasn't Minecraft on the Pi somewhat stalled? Last time I checked, it was lagging way behind the Pocket Edition, and that's already the red-headed step-child of the Minecraft family.

      I'd be happy to be told otherwise.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: I'll do it on the Pi thank you

        Don't play it myself but do help the IT teacher at the local primary. It seems sufficient for their programming purposes. They're toying with the idea of dropping the windows machines completely as the maintenance is more than 'sticking in a new PI2' if anything goes wrong.

      2. sisk Silver badge

        Re: I'll do it on the Pi thank you

        Hasn't Minecraft on the Pi somewhat stalled?

        Unfortunately yes, which is the #1 reason my kids have old x86 boxes instead of Pis. But the Pi version does have one feature that makes it ideal as an education tool that, to my knowledge, no other version has: a Python console. The kids can write some Python code and instantly see the result in their game. It's quite useful for teaching them fundamental coding concepts.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: I'll do it on the Pi thank you

          Minecraft? I remember that.

          Living in a house full of kids that play this stuff, Dota 2 has consigned Minecraft to history.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: I'll do it on the Pi thank you

      Admire the sentiment @Tom_7, would love to see fuller Minecraft functionality on the Pi.

    3. Mookster
      Alert

      Until you use autoconf

      ..then your dreams die.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    What's that smell?

    Sounds to me like nothing more than a rather desperate marketing push.

    1. dogged

      Re: What's that smell?

      Yeah, desperately marketing free software.

      Oh, wait...

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: What's that smell?

        Yeah, desperately marketing free software.

        Erm....Minecraft isn't free, in any sense of the word.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: What's that smell?

          > Erm....Minecraft isn't free, in any sense of the word.

          It is available on Raspberry Pi at no cost, ... at the moment.

          1. sisk Silver badge

            Re: What's that smell?

            It is available on Raspberry Pi at no cost, ... at the moment.

            That's not exactly the Minecraft that the kiddies know and love. Creative mode only, no monsters, not even all the blocks available in the regular version. Heck, even the mobile version has more blocks. And you can just forget about dungeons and strongholds and the enderdragon. And, most importantly for a huge chunk of Minecraft players, no mods at all other than the Python console.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              Re: What's that smell?

              > Creative mode only, ... no mods at all other than the Python console.

              Exactly. Minecraft on Pi is for learning programming in the schools.

              https://www.raspberrypi.org/learning/getting-started-with-minecraft-pi/

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: What's that smell?

      Sounds to me like a rather clever marketing push.

  3. Avatar of They
    FAIL

    Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

    I will be the first to guess, it will only work on windows 10. So that school have to have windows 10. Just gonna' put that out there. When schools can't afford jack because of govt cuts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

      So that school have to have windows 10...........When schools can't afford jack because of govt cuts.

      In which case MS have two options: Either accept that World plus Dog really couldn't give a tinker's cuss about the abomination that is Windows 10, and that a W10-tied educational Minecraft will curl up and die. Or give away both free to academic institutions, as a necessary freebie to keep as many people as possible in the Windows fold.

      If MS won't give it away, and the schools don't have the money, then maybe they have a choice: Stick with whatever they run now, or make a move to Ubuntu or similar. If you can drive a mouse you can drive a Windows computer, so being brought up on Linux wouldn't be any hardship. And as an employer, my business doesn't expect schools to have equipped pupils with any worthwhile knowledge of business software, so if the kids leave school familiar with Open Office and Mint that's not going to worry me at all.

    2. AllieNeko

      Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

      "I will be the first to guess, it will only work on windows 10. So that school have to have windows 10. Just gonna' put that out there. When schools can't afford jack because of govt cuts."

      Schools don't have to pay anything to upgrade, or downgrade, it's all covered under the campus site licence agreements. Which are, I will note, incredibly inexpensive for schools. Gotta get kids hooked while they're young and all, LOL.

      That said I think computing in education needs to move a huge step back from such high level, abstract things as Minecraft and Windows. The Raspberry Pi is a huge step in the right direction, and needs to get pushed in education, along with other tools to teach the basic building blocks of computing.

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

        Schools don't have to pay anything to upgrade, or downgrade, it's all covered under the campus site licence agreements.

        Not true. For reference, I've been in a school district IT department for 12 years now.

        The only part covered under the license agreements is the licenses. Now granted, that's a sizable percentage of the cost of an upgrade, but it's not even half of the total cost. We still have machines floating around with 1gb of RAM, and it's only in the last year that we've started getting machines with more than 4. By the time we get all the other software we need on the machines they'll need at least 6 to not run dog slow with Win10, so we'd end up buying $20,000 worth of RAM to upgrade all of our existing classroom computers (and, to be honest, some of them probably still couldn't handle it). Not to mention the thousands of dollars worth of time it would take the IT staff to install all that RAM and upgrade the OS on all those computers, plus the thousands more dollars in time spent troubleshooting all the problems that inevitably crop up after such a problem.

        That said I think computing in education needs to move a huge step back from such high level, abstract things as Minecraft and Windows. The Raspberry Pi is a huge step in the right direction, and needs to get pushed in education, along with other tools to teach the basic building blocks of computing.

        Maybe for programming classes, but as much as I like the Pi it simply can't do most of what we need computers to do. Our state testing software, for example, is only available for Windows and iOS (a lot of schools in this state have iPads). Our drafting classes use AutoCAD, and if you think that's ever going to run on a Pi then you've obviously never used it. And while it's possible to get a Linux machine joined to our domain (there's a Linux laptop joined to the domain within arms reach right now) doing so is a painful process.

        We are, unfortunately, locked into Windows on multiple levels, as I would imagine 99% or more of all schools are.

      2. Bullseyed

        Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

        Gotta get kids hooked while they're young and all, LOL.

        One of the things Apple did do that was worth being copied by Microsoft.

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

          One of the things Apple did do that was worth being copied

          And one of the things Apple copied from other IT companies such as Digitial, who were in education before them...

    3. Bullseyed

      Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

      Windows 10... that came free with any Windows 7 machine? On top of the usual school tier pricing?

      1. sisk Silver badge

        Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

        Windows 10... that came free with any Windows 7 machine? On top of the usual school tier pricing?

        There's a huge difference between what Microsoft does for individuals and what they do for organizations. I'm not familiar with all the ins and outs of it, but in the past we haven't had some options with volume licensing that consumers get with one license (case in point, a consumer can upgrade an OEM licensed OS at a reduced cost or downgrade for free, which we couldn't do under volume licensing until recently).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hmmm... Call me a cynic.

      "it will only work on windows 10"

      Windows 10 IOT is free anyway.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Making learning come to life with Office 365 - by constantly and for no reason whatsoever moving things around.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      Microsoft just make O365 fucking work, IMAP email login has now been broken for 3 days.

      20/01/2016 19:33:34

      Current Status: Engineers have determined that a code issue has been introduced with a recent build update. The IMAP protocol is unable to automatically load data from Exchange Online databases. Engineers are currently implementing a fix in order to remediate end-user impact.

      User Impact: Affected users are unable to receive emails when accessing Exchange Online through the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP). As a workaround, users may be able to access mail via the Outlook Web App (OWA).

      Customer Impact: Analysis of incident scope indicates that a limited number of customers appear to be impacted by this event. However, those customers affected likely have a large number of users experiencing impact. Engineers have received a few isolated customer reports of this issue.

      Incident Start Time: Monday, January 18, 2016, at 12:00 AM UTC

      Estimated Restoration Time: By Friday, January 22, 2016, at 1:00 AM UTC

      Preliminary Root Cause: As part of our efforts to improve service performance, an update was deployed to the affected infrastructure; however, the update caused a code issue that prevents the IMAP protocol from automatically loading data from Exchange Online databases.

      Next Update by: Friday, January 22, 2016, at 2:00 AM UTC

    2. sisk Silver badge

      My pet peeve with O365. It seems like every freaking time I need some random config page in their admin panel the danged thing has moved again.

  5. McVirtual
    Headmaster

    Bye bye Kodu, hello Minecraft

    Sure, why not. I'll also swap Visio for Minecraft any day !!

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Re: Bye bye Kodu, hello Minecraft

      "Hello, yes, I'd like to pay my council tax bill. Can I send a cheque?"

      "Sorry, we only take redstone, emerald or diamond. Gold is just bling and we're still not sure what lapis is good for apart from being a nice shade of blue."

      1. Inspector71

        Re: Bye bye Kodu, hello Minecraft

        If you can't scratch a window with it, I don't accept it - Ford Prefect

        1. TheProf
          Headmaster

          Re: Bye bye Kodu, hello Minecraft

          - Roosta

          1. Inspector71

            Re: Bye bye Kodu, hello Minecraft

            Sorry, forgot where my towel was for a moment there.

      2. Bullseyed

        Re: Bye bye Kodu, hello Minecraft

        > not sure what lapis is good for apart from being a nice shade of blue

        Can tell you haven't played in a while. All enchants take Lapis now. Biggest endgame problem seems to be redstone is way more common than can be realistically consumed.

  6. msknight Silver badge

    I hate how children will leave school, with a microsoft cloud account by default... which presumably will start asking for cash somewhere down the line, or face their childhood classroom experiences and work... wiped.

    Just like Google... get everyone an account, boost the numbers and hook 'em in. *blech*

    Whatever happened to the schoolbook covered with brown wrapping paper?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Pirate

      Yup. Reminds me of my yoof, when, one day a crack team of soulsnatchers invaded our maths class and had us all open "Griffin Savers" accounts with Midland Bank Plc.

      Couldn't even manage to spell gryphon correctly ;)

      I believe that manoeuvre was perpetrated under the guise of being "educational" too.

      Still, I suppose there's a lesson in there: You belong to whichever corporations happen to pwn your government. Get used to it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I see a few governments have switched their school systems to Linux.

      Not too painful if the country is developing, and doesn't have an existing legacy IT industry to make switching painful.

      Still, I would love to see a government who's adopted Linux for governmental offices go in hard and kick Microsoft out of education completely.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        >"I hate how children will leave school, with a microsoft cloud account by default... which presumably will start asking for cash somewhere down the line, or face their childhood classroom experiences and work... wiped."

        Same here ...

        France has just sold data of all French pupils to Microsoft in exchange for a € 12 Million from Microsoft. The initial, official report suggested France paid Microsoft €24 million for the service, the official report has been "amended", no moneys are mentioned anymore. Other reports suggest Microsoft paid France the money after SadNad paid a visit to Mr Hollande (French president, nothing to do with The Netherlands).

        Note that French governmental bodies are required by law to call for tenders, however, this law does not apply when Microsoft in concerned ... This deal is for using "intelligent games" in classes, apparently, Minecraft. In the deal is also addiction to SharePoint, Office360, OneDrive (1Tb).

        The French hospital fund also paid Microsoft 120 million over four years for licensing, again, without official, public call for tenders.

        There is a "morality" document that Microsoft (main entity) signed, Microsoft may involve other Microsoft subsidiaries which are NOT REQUIRED to sign said document - it is written as such in the agreement. (just one of the flaws I saw while hovering over it until page 4).

        I will, of course, send a registered letter to the local school authorities denying them the right to register any information regarding my offspring with private entities of any kind.

        Note that the Linux package gcompris is developed (mainly) by French teachers.

      2. Bullseyed

        Microsoft monopoly on education? What country are you from? In the states everything was those horrible neon colored iMacs. Apple handed them out to a generation of schools for free, which is why they got a sudden resurgence in the 2000s.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I see a few governments have switched their school systems to Linux."

        Mostly third world African and similar countries where a 486 CPU is a fast PC.

        " would love to see a government who's adopted Linux for governmental offices go in hard and kick Microsoft out of education completely."

        So they would use technology and software that would be utterly useless experience in most of the real world?! For jobs the 99% required skills are Windows and Office.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          > For jobs the 99% required skills are Windows and Office.

          You appear to imagine that 'work' is sending memos to each other and fiddling with numbers until the 'right' answer is given in the bottom-right.

          You seem unaware that there are factories, transport, farms, logistics, ... where 'work' is not sitting a cubicle typing on a computer. Even where 'work' involves accessing a computer this is most often entirely with business applications such as SAP.

          But then you probably haven't been out in the real world yet.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "You appear to imagine that 'work' is sending memos to each other and fiddling with numbers until the 'right' answer is given in the bottom-right."

            For jobs the 99% required COMPUTER skills are Windows and Office.

            TFTFY.

            1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

              > For jobs the 99% required COMPUTER skills are Windows and Office.

              When you finally leave your mother's basement you will find that the world is much more varied than you have ever imagined.

              The vast majority of jobs do not even require computer skills at all. Most of those that do require interaction with computers only require basic skills of using a keyboard.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Brown paper?

      Boy you must have been rich.

      We had to make do with cast off bits of Wallpaer. Woe betide anyone who came with Flock covers though.

    4. AllieNeko

      "I hate how children will leave school, with a microsoft cloud account by default... which presumably will start asking for cash somewhere down the line, or face their childhood classroom experiences and work... wiped."

      While I'm no fan of the commercialisation seen in schools, the Microsoft Cloud accounts they have at school are free for as long as they get to keep them (for many uni students, that's for life), and are essentially the same as a corporate account - they're on the school's domain, and use the education version of Microsoft's cloud platform, which is quite similar what is sold for enterprise. Their school account won't magically start requiring money to access. Some push may happen, on a school level, toward paid Microsoft services down the line, but it'd be a totally separate account.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "free for as long as they get to keep them (for many uni students, that's for life)"

        That won't be free as in beer or free as in speech but free as in "you are the product".

      2. Not That Andrew

        Are we talking about the same cloud service where "unlimited" means 1TB and where if you don't follow tech news you'll suddenly find your free storage has shrunk to 5 GB?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has microsoft actually released a proper minecraft version since taking it over? Hmm seems 1.9 is still in the oven.

    Anyway minecraft has always been educational. Pretty sure it kicked off a new generation of server admins and java developers.

    1. msknight Silver badge

      It also kicked off a new generation of whiners who would let loose at said volunteer mod developers when they didn't keep their mods updated for reasons like... sin of sins... having a holiday.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't think there is anything new about that. Everyone moans about something.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge
      Pint

      Pretty sure it kicked off a new generation of server admins and java developers.

      Wasn't aware that you could administer/manage servers and do java development in Minecraft...

      Perhaps MS are developing a version of System Center that uses the Minecraft UI...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Has microsoft actually released a proper minecraft version since taking it over"

      Yes - they already ported it to .Net and it's many times faster. Not to mention no need to run horrifically insecure crap like Java on your PC.

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/apps/minecraft-windows-10-edition-beta/9nblggh2jhxj

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