Minecraft’s Free Educational Worlds Are Just What My Kids and I Needed Right Now

It’s never been easier to make ‘Minecraft’ part of your homeschooling curriculum

Matthew MacDonald
OneZero
Published in
6 min readMar 26, 2020

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Trapped at home? There’s no better time to explore the International Space Station.

WWhen the news hit that I — like many parents — was suddenly starting a multi-week lockdown with my three daughters, I had a mix of emotions. Surprise, obviously. Mild panic, yes. But also, low-key excitement. After all, I’d finally get a chance to introduce them to all the topics I’d somehow never made time for, from home electronics to advanced JavaScript. And like it or not (mostly not), there would be no distractions like hiking, playdates, and road trips to interrupt the learning.

Roughly one-and-three-quarters days later, I realized my mistake. Yes, my kids were able to put their vast expanses of free time to good use and learn new things. But the time it took me to prepare material and guide them through it was overwhelming. So I was more than a little excited when the news hit that Microsoft was releasing free educational content wrapped up in every grade-school kid’s favorite video game, Minecraft. Here was the promised land — a way to have children learn without complete parent micromanagement. But could it live up to the hype?

Introducing the Education Collection

Four years ago, Microsoft spun off a Minecraft education version aimed at teachers and schools. In the years since, some of those features have slowly seeped back into the mainstream builds. Minecraft’s new educational worlds are just the latest example.

Starting now, the in-game Minecraft Marketplace has a new section called the Education Collection. Visit that page, and you’ll see 12 very different worlds that are based on content from the education edition. All of these worlds are free to download until the end of June. But once you download them, they remain yours forever.

Why not download them all?

There’s one catch. This content is only available in the Bedrock edition of Minecraft, not the older Java-based edition. That means Windows 10 users have access, but macOS users are sadly out of luck.

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Matthew MacDonald
OneZero

Teacher, coder, long-ago Microsoft MVP. Author of heavy books. Join Young Coder for a creative take on science and technology. Queries: matthew@prosetech.com