Minecraft Now Offering Free Educational Tools To Keep Kids Engaged During Social Distancing

You can explore the International Space Station, learn how to code, get a lesson in marine biology, and more through Minecraft now.

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Xbox head Phil Spencer has outlined ways that Microsoft hopes to help people through their social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, starting with special educational content to be distributed through Minecraft. In a blog post, Spencer cited "unprecedented demand for gaming."

Part of that includes more kids going online to spend time with friends since they aren't in schools. Spencer says that families are trying to strike a balance between socializing and fun, and continuing education through distance learning. To that end, Minecraft has opened a new Education category to the Minecraft Marketplace, which houses free educational content curated by Microsoft.

The first pieces of curated content include a model of the International Space Station, a coding lesson, recreations of Washington DC landmarks, lessons on 3D fractals and marine biology, and more. These free tools will be available through June 30, 2020.

We had previously heard that Poland was encouraging kids to use Minecraft to continue socializing while maintaining social distancing.

In the blog post, Spencer also reviews some family-friendly tools in Xbox consoles, like family settings for limiting free time and content filters, and a Copilot feature to let two controllers function as one.

"We understand the important role gaming is playing right now to connect people and provide joy in these isolating and stressful times, and our teams are working diligently to ensure we can be there for our players," Spencer concluded. "To that end, we are actively monitoring performance and usage trends to ensure we’re optimizing the service for our customers worldwide and accommodating for new growth and demand."

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