Minecraft fans can create levels and play them in the Education Edition for the first time as part of a new tutorial from Microsoft.
A Hero’s Journey has been released to coincide with Hour of Code, a global initiative aimed at encouraging more people to get into computer programming.
The free Minecraft tutorial features a new character called the Agent, and gives players 12 challenges that teach core coding concepts such as loops – a sequence of instructions that is continually repeated until a certain condition is reached – debugging – removing errors from the program – and functions – reusable code that performs a function. It also contains popular objects such as Redstone and pistons.
For the first time, players can upload the last level in A Hero’s Journey to Minecraft: Education Edition and see their work come to life in the game. Using the Code Builder extension for Minecraft, they can then continue to work on their creations in a larger version of the game.
The Education version of the popular block-building game allows pupils to collaborate more easily, while teachers can take photos of work and create plans, guides and chalkboards to help with a range of subjects, from maths and physics to history and languages.
It was released in November 2016 and more than two million licencees from over 115 countries have signed up to the program in that time. To date, nearly 70 million people around the world have used Microsoft Minecraft tutorials to learn the basics of coding.
“We’ve seen first-hand how Minecraft’s open sandbox environment ignites students’ innate creativity and makes learning fun and collaborative,” said Deirdre Quarnstrom, General Manager of Minecraft Education. “Educators are teaching a wide variety of subjects with Minecraft: Education Edition, and we’ve seen particularly exciting results when Minecraft is used to teach Computer Science. Though many don’t realize it, coding is one of the most creative activities a student can do, building something with no limitations but his or her own creativity. And research continues to show that creativity, collaboration and coding are all critical skills for success in the modern workplace.”
The World Economic Forum has predicted that 65% of children who enter primary school today will work in jobs that don’t currently exist; and students need to have the right technical skills to better adapt to a changing workplace. It is estimated there will be 100,000 new coding jobs by 2020, as technology such as artificial intelligence and machine learning become commonplace in homes and offices.
A Hero’s Journey is available at code.org/minecraft and can be played on any browser, tablet or smartphone across iOS, Android and Windows.
Minecraft is one of the most popular computer games of all time, with 122 million copies sold to date – including four to people in Antarctica. Since the beginning of 2016, more than 53,000 copies have been sold every day, and 55 million people play Minecraft every month.