Microsoft is now making Minecraft: Education Edition available for the Chromebook platform, a move that will open up the online game and world to a much larger generation of students. The move starts immediately, and will require enabling Android apps from the Google Play store.
Traditionally, Minecraft has not been playable on Chromebooks, which are deemed some of the most affordable of all laptops people can purchase today. While Apple's MacBook Air starts at $999 ($899 for students) or a MacBook Pro at $1299, people can pick up a Chromebook for under $200. That price difference is key as the majority of K-12 students are facing some form of online or hybrid online learning for the 2020-2021 school year — and computers are swiftly turning into necessary school supplies.
Minecraft has proven to be an effective learning tool in K-12 classes. More than 200 million copies of Minecraft have been sold, with 126 million people playing Minecraft every month, as of May 2020, according to Mojang Studios, which developed and still runs Minecraft after Microsoft bought both in 2014 for $2.5 billion. Today there are basically four different Minecraft version from the traditional Minecraft to Minecraft: Education Edition. In late March, as the pandemic sent students home across the country, Microsoft opened up 10 new Minecraft worlds in this latter version that students could explore for free, including Mount Olympus to the International Space Station.
Minecraft is technically a free environment, although to get started you do need to create an account. And Minecraft: Education Edition may not going to work on all Chromebooks, including those that are 2018 and older as Google's Play Store has to be enabled on the device.
Microsoft is offering a number of workarounds and links to explain what's needed, including a Chromebook with about 500MB of free space per account, although 1 GB is recommended, along with 4GB of RAM and a device that's using Chrome OS Version 83 or newer.
The remainder of the requirements can be found on the Minecraft: Education Edition's web site, which also outlines how to install the program on managed Chromebooks, typical in education settings, and those that are unmanaged as well.
Do It Yourself Curriculum - Fun-Schooling with Minecraft: 400 Homeschooling Lessons (60 Day Emergency Homeschooling Curriculum Plan) (Volume 1)