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TCP Broadcast: Feb. 12, 2024
TCP Broadcast: Feb. 12, 2024

Minecraft makes an appearance on students’ Chromebooks

Minecraft+Education+is+a+free+download+on+students+Chromebooks%2C+along+with+ScratchJr.+Photo+by%3A+Henry+Lopez
“Minecraft Education” is a free download on students’ Chromebooks, along with “ScratchJr.” Photo by: Henry Lopez

An educational version of Minecraft is officially available via Chromebook’s Play Store 

Earlier this year, students district-wide, including students at VHS, have noticed that the Google Play Store on their Chromebooks now features two new free apps for download. The block-coding app, “Scratch Jr.” is one, but most notably, “Minecraft Education Edition.” 

“Minecraft Education Edition” is a modified, student-orientated version of “Minecraft Bedrock Edition” which is available on Xbox, Playstation, Switch, Windows 10/11 and mobile. “Minecraft Education Edition” is ported onto various platforms and is primarily sold to the education market. The education variation of the game has most of the same features as the normal editions, which include having creative and survival game modes, the same inventory items, the ability to customize the player’s skins and getting worlds in the “New & Featured” marketplace, though this version only contains free educational worlds from Minecraft itself. 

While some students may view this as just a standalone Minecraft game with an “education” label on it, the application includes some additional features and “Subject Kits.” “Subject Kits”  are educational tools compiled into a Minecraft world and are only seen in the education edition of the game. Some exclusive Education Edition features include things such as periodic table elements, basic math lessons, worlds that take the player through history lessons with the use of historical maps, lessons on digital citizenship and various coding courses to help students learn programming languages such as Python.  

Minecraft Education Edition features courses using coding elements, helping students learn the Python coding language with the “Python Coding Course” Subject Kit. Screenshot by: Nathan Lopez

Morgan Gambill ‘26 said, “[‘Minecraft Education Edition’] seems the same to me [as ‘Minecraft Bedrock Edition’].”

Thomas Kranzler, executive director of technology at VUSD said, “The start of considering ‘Minecraft EDU’ being on Chromebooks [came] from the offerings of code-based courses in our Expanded Learning Programs [district programs that take place outside of a standard school day]. Code Campus [the group running this program] has a curriculum that introduces the basics of computer programming. There isn’t a curriculum or training process outside the Expanded Learning offerings for teachers. We have had some school sites create their own clubs dedicated to programming and ‘Minecraft EDU.’ Balboa [Middle School] is currently running an after-school club with a ‘Minecraft’ focus.”

Despite many students not knowing about the code-based programs and Minecraft-focused clubs at other schools across town, the game has become popular here at VHS, especially among underclassmen. Parker Powers ‘24 said, “A lot of underclassman play [Minecraft Education Edition].”  

Kranzler said, “‘Minecraft EDU’ is also a district-approved application. It has gone through a vetting process from the IT department and curriculum specialists in the Educational Services department.”

 

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About the Contributors
Sawyer Cameron, Staffer
Sawyer Cameron is a freshman at VHS in his first year in The Cougar Press. He likes editing videos and the Dodgers.
Nathan Lopez, Opinion Lead
Nathan Lopez is a senior at VHS in his first year of journalism. He enjoys playing the 2011 sandbox game "Minecraft” and running for the school’s cross country and track teams.
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