Microsoft has snaffled up MinecraftEdu, a modded version of the famous sandbox building game designed specifically for use in the classroom, and will be re-launching it under the name Minecraft Education Edition at some point this summer.
MinecraftEdu is the brainchild of education software developer TeacherGaming, and offers various features to help teachers manage their pupils' in-class gaming sessions. The lessons that can be taught using the game are wide ranging, spanning from maths to teaching foreign languages.
The new Minecraft Education Edition will keep the core features of the existing game, and of course add new elements, although Microsoft hasn't said yet exactly what fresh additions are planned. TeacherGaming has published a FAQ that spells out the differences between the two versions.
Microsoft announced in a post that MinecraftEdu will continue on as normal for now, including the company's hosting service, until the new version is ready to go – at which point existing users will be given a free pass for a year's use of Minecraft Education Edition.
The message – as ever with takeovers – is not to panic, but we'll hear more about the exact details very shortly. TeacherGaming stated: "Both TeacherGaming and Microsoft are committed to making this transition a smooth one. In the next several days we will be releasing more information about how this change affects current MinecraftEdu users and what to expect."
And there are a lot of existing users out there – apparently, MinecraftEdu is running in over 10,000 schools across 45+ countries, entertaining and educating children from kindergarten age up to graduates.
Beta testing for Microsoft's Minecraft Education Edition is due to kick off in April.
Of course, in an in-depth feature last year we detailed how vanilla Minecraft can be used to help kids learn coding and indeed other subjects from history to creative writing. Games seem set to play an increasingly active role in education...