Minecraft Education is perfectly suited for this surreal back-to-school moment

When the pandemic hit this spring, a lot of teachers turned to Minecraft during their mad scramble for tools that could make remote learning work. Earlier this year, Microsoft added an “education” section to the Minecraft marketplace, and since March, 63 million pieces of content have been downloaded.

While Minecraft: Education Edition isn’t new, its digital nature makes it an almost ideal tool for this strange time. It allows for multiplayer activities, is available on a large range of devices, and — perhaps most importantly — is something kids already enjoy doing. “We already had a lot of the features in the game, so we were well-suited from the beginning,” says Deirdre Quarnstrom, GM of the Minecraft Atlas division, which focuses on broader initiatives like education.

The educational offshoot of Minecraft officially launched in 2016, though the game was used in schools for years prior to that, thanks to grassroots

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