If you've got a child over about 8, you've probably heard of Minecraft. "Mum - can I play Minecraft?" "Mum, can you get me Minecraft?" Sounds familiar, right? And if you're anything like me, you looked it up, saw that people connect in these virtual worlds that they build and felt vaguely concerned about the safety of your little one to go play in this virtual space you didn't really understand.
That's where the HEA comes in. We are able to facilitate access to Minecraft Education Edition (MEE) for Australian Home Educators. To access MEE you need to be a member of the HEA. Adding on a MEE subscription to your membership costs just $8.20 per student, per year. No ongoing costs or hidden fees.
What is MEE?
According to Minecraft Education:
"Minecraft is an open-world game full of possibilities, where players can create and build, solve problems together, and explore amazing worlds"
Learn to Play
If you are feeling concerned that your tech skills are not up to the challenge, Minecraft Teacher Academy has you covered. Free, online courses to help you learn to play, and learn to use the educational features are found here: https://education.minecraft.net/en-us/resources/get-trained
Is MEE the same as Minecraft?
MEE is the educational version of Minecraft. So the biggest difference is that educational opportunities are built into the MEE platform, while Minecraft is just a game kids love. It was designed for use in education settings, so it has some features that regular Minecraft doesn't have.
Different items have been added to MEE, such as a camera, portfolio and a chalkboard
It has been coded to work on a variety of devices - iPad, Mac, PC and Chromebook, while regular Minecraft needs a higher performing console to work well.
MEE has NPC's (Non-Player Characters) while regular Minecraft doesn't.
There is a vast (slightly overwhelming) amount of lessons and resources available for you to use and explore on the MEE website.
MEE is designed to be collaborative rather than competitive.
It has safety features that control who can play with your child in their virtual world.
Which brings us neatly to the next thing you're likely to hear at home. "Mum - I want to play with other kids in my MEE world!" The good news is, yes this is possible.
"Multiplayer games in Minecraft: Education Edition can take place between users within the same Office 365 Education tenant. For most users, this means the part of your email address after the “@” symbol matches that of the other players. "
Translation: kids at the same school can play together. So for home educators, anyone with a HEA MEE account can play together. Here's how it works:
Here are the written instructions for sharing worlds:
Feeling proud of your new tech skills, you inform you child that they can play MEE with other homeschoolers. Only to hear this: "Mum - but how can I find a HEA MEE user to play with??" So - there are 449 other HEA MEE users out there. Somewhere. Here's how you can connect with them:
Join the HEA Minecraft Education Community
Post the share code, or respond to someone else's share code.
The HEA Minecraft Education Community is a private group which is only open to HEA members with a MEE subscription. It is hosted within our website - so your conversation and data are never available to third parties. It was set up this way so that parents or students can connect safely. So if you, like me, are hoping the kids can take it from here, there is scope for them to do just that.
So what are you waiting for? Let's Play!