Ahead of a new school year that could see students not step foot in a physical classroom, Microsoft is bringing Minecraft: Education Edition to Chromebooks.
The Chrome OS release of Minecraft: Education Edition will support cross-platform play between the Windows, iPad and Mac versions of the game, so students will have the chance to socialize and collaborate on projects no matter what device they're using. Microsoft is also updating the software to add 11 new STEM lessons and a Minecraft world to teach students about bees and pollination. An improved lesson plan library and tagged learning abilities are part of the update as well.
The company says Chrome OS, iPad and Windows devices will install the update automatically. However, Mac users will need to download it manually. Schools that already use Minecraft: Education Edition in their classrooms won't have to worry about changing their subscription; the company will add the Chrome OS version to its Microsoft 365 for Education A3 and A5 licenses.
Minecraft: Education Edition has been available since 2016, so it's surprising to learn it's only coming to Chromebooks this year. After all, Google's computing platform dominates the education market. As of 2019, the company said there were 30 million Chromebooks in use at schools globally. In 2018, Chromebooks represented 60 percent of all laptops and tablets purchased for K-12 classrooms in the US. What's also interesting about this release is that it gives Chrome OS users an official way to install Minecraft without sideloading the game onto their device.