Minecraft comes to classrooms from November

One of the world’s most popular and addictive games for kids and teens could be a new way to educate, as Minecraft hits schools later this year.

If you’ve ever spent time telling your kids to stop playing Minecraft because they have homework to do, there’s now a distinct possibility that Minecraft will be their homework to do, as Microsoft prepares the educational edition of Minecraft for release to schools across the world.

Starting with a beta in June that was open to students and teachers, Microsoft has been working and finessing the project, building more interface control and a classroom mode into the game to allow teachers to see a list of all the students in each Minecraft world and teleport in to talk to them through it.

Sitting alongside the game, the classroom mode acts as a companion app to the game, forming a middle ground for teachers who may not want to play the game, but do wish to watch what students are doing and communicate with them through the title.

Microsoft hasn’t released how many Australian schools will be taking part, but with a cost of $5 USD per user and school district-wide licensing on the horizon, there’s a distinct possibility we’ll see some local schools take up the call of blocks and get into teaching via block-laying.

Full release isn’t scheduled until near the end of the school year locally, with November 1 the release date for Minecraft’s educational edition, suggesting Australian schools won’t see much until 2017 at the earliest.

Still, if students or teachers (or event parents) want to see what’s happening with this whole “Minecraft as an educational tool” thing, they can do so with the early access beta, which is still available up until November 1.