If you want to use Minecraft: Education Edition in your classroom but don‘t have the budget for it, don‘t worry! There are several legitimate ways to access this amazing educational version of Minecraft for free or at very low cost.
As an experienced teacher and avid Minecraft player myself, I‘ve compiled this comprehensive guide filled with insider tips to help teachers and students get free access to Minecraft: Education Edition. Keep reading to find the best options to fit your specific situation.
Overview of Minecraft: Education Edition
Before jumping into the free access options, let‘s quickly cover what makes Minecraft: Education Edition so valuable for the classroom.
Minecraft: Education Edition takes the popular Minecraft game and optimizes it for teaching and learning. Key features include:
Simplified gameplay – The interface is streamlined to focus on core building mechanics. Complex or distracting features like enemies and crafting recipes are reduced.
Classroom collaboration – Students can interact with each other‘s worlds both in-person for group projects or online for remote learning.
Coding integrations – Minecraft helps teach computer science concepts through visual block coding. Students can modify worlds and add functionality.
Lesson plans and resources – Teacher materials like lesson plans, training videos, and structured assignments make aligning Minecraft to curriculum standards easy.
Accessibility options – Settings like text-to-speech and dyslexia-friendly fonts enable Minecraft to adapt to diverse learner needs.
Studies show Minecraft enhances student engagement, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. It‘s designed from the ground up for impactful and enriching education.
Now let‘s look at ways to access everything Minecraft: Education Edition has to offer on a tight budget.
Try the Free Trial
The best way to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition is to take advantage of Microsoft‘s free 1-month trial. This gives you full access to test it out and see firsthand how it can benefit your classroom before paying.
Here are the key details on the free trial:
- Each teacher account receives 25 free licenses to assign to students. This provides enough for a typical classroom.
- Student accounts receive 10 hours of Minecraft game access. Enough to complete lessons without time limits.
- Access the full version of Minecraft: Education Edition – no limited features.
- The trial lasts for 1 month before payment is required to continue.
- Completely free to enroll – no credit card required. Cancel anytime.
To get started with the free trial:
Click "Start your free trial".
Sign in with your existing Office 365 Education account, or create a free account if you don‘t have one.
Follow the steps to set up your teacher account and assign student licenses.
Download and install Minecraft: Education Edition on your classroom and student devices.
With the licenses and hours provided, the free trial gives you plenty of time to experience all that Education Edition has to offer. I suggest using it to run one or two of their lesson plans to see firsthand how it engages students.
Minecraft: Education Edition has over 40+ lesson plans aligned to science, math, history, and more. Pick a topic you‘re teaching this month and try the corresponding Minecraft lesson for free! This will show if the creative sandbox approach resonates with your students.
The free trial is the best way to kick the tires on Minecraft: Education Edition at absolutely no cost. Highly recommended to see if it‘s right for your classroom before purchasing.
Use the Demo Lesson
If you want students to get a quick hands-on preview of Minecraft: Education Edition without accounts or downloads, use the demo lesson.
This self-guided tutorial walks through core gameplay and functionality in under an hour. Since it‘s web-based, no installation is required – just open the demo in your browser and students can follow along.
Key facts about the Minecraft: Education Edition demo lesson:
- Provides a 45-60 minute gameplay experience.
- No account or login required to start.
- Launches quickly in a web browser – no installation needed.
- Lets students test out basic building and crafting.
- Showcases how Minecraft teaches collaboration and problem-solving skills.
To get started with the demo lesson:
Click "Try a demo lesson".
The tutorial will launch immediately in your web browser.
Have students take turns playing through the guided demo.
The demo lesson works great if you want students to quickly experience Minecraft before deciding to adopt it more formally. It‘s a zero-commitment way to let Minecraft make its case in your classroom!
Qualify for Free Access
Microsoft offers free 1-year subscriptions to Minecraft: Education Edition for qualifying institutions through several generous education programs:
The Teaching with Minecraft program provides free access to Title I schools. Any teacher at an eligible school can apply here.
Imagine Cup Junior participants (ages 13-18) receive 1 year of free access. Teams can register for Imagine Cup through this link.
Verified educators can get free licenses by applying through the Minecraft Education Edition form. Your school needs to be accredited and Title I eligible.
Check if your school meets any of these criteria. If so, request free subscriptions through the appropriate program. The application process is simple and you‘ll get 1-year access for your entire classroom if approved.
Don‘t assume you won‘t qualify! Even if your school is not Title I, you may still be eligible for free access depending on accreditation status and demographics. Take 5 minutes to submit the application and see if you get approved.
Buy Discounted Education Edition
While not free, you can purchase Minecraft: Education Edition at a steep discount compared to the regular Minecraft game. Here is the education pricing:
|1-year subscription||$5 per user|
|Lifetime subscription||$10 per user|
Compare this to personal Minecraft accounts, which cost $26.95/year.
This ~80% discount makes Minecraft very budget friendly for classrooms. To purchase discounted licenses:
Go to education.minecraft.net/buy.
Select "Buy for my school" and enter your info.
Follow the steps to purchase licenses and set up your subscription.
You can buy licenses individually or in bulk for your whole class. With the education pricing, you can outfit a 30 student classroom for as little as $150 a year!
Some creative ways to pay for it:
- Use classroom budget or PTA funds earmarked for software.
- Organize a fundraiser like a bake sale to cover costs.
- Ask administrators about school-level site licenses.
- Submit a grant application to cover educational software.
If buying Minecraft: Education Edition, use the discounted education pricing to maximize savings. With some creative budgeting, this unlocks Minecraft for very little on a per-student basis.
Use School Computers
If your school has already purchased Minecraft: Education Edition, it may be installed on shared computers and devices.
Ask your school IT administrator or librarian if Minecraft: Education Edition is available on:
- Classroom computers – Used during instructional time.
- Lab computers – Access during open lab hours for projects.
- Library computers – Often support educational software.
- Laptop carts – Check-out shared laptops with Minecraft pre-installed.
You likely don‘t need your own account or subscription to use school devices. This allows free access to Minecraft anytime it aligns to your lesson plans.
Minecraft: Education Edition works on:
- Windows PCs – Windows 10 or newer.
- Macs – macOS 10.14 or newer.
- iPads – Requires iOS 11 or above.
- Chromebooks – Managed by the school district.
- Android tablets – Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 recommended.
It also supports school-managed Surface tablets, Lenovo tablets, and other school-issued devices.
Take advantage of school hardware when available to avoid purchase costs. This allows free access for your students without any budget impact.
Use MakeCode for Minecraft
While not the full experience, Microsoft MakeCode for Minecraft provides free access to code Minecraft through block-based programming.
With MakeCode, students can:
- Learn coding basics like loops, variables, and functions.
- Program actions like player movement and block building.
- Modify worlds and create mini-games.
MakeCode is included free with Office 365 Education accounts. To access:
- Go to makecode.com/minecraft.
- Sign in with school email and password.
- Start coding Minecraft using blocks!
MakeCode focuses on computer science concepts rather than core gameplay. But it does provide an entry point to integrate Minecraft into coding and computational thinking lessons at no cost.
Convince Your School to Purchase
Don‘t have access yet? Make a case to your principal and school board!
Here are tips for persuading your school to purchase Minecraft: Education Edition:
Start a petition showing parent and student demand. Get signatures at open houses and PTA meetings.
Highlight academic studies showing learning gains from using Minecraft in lessons. There are hundreds demonstrating impact.
Propose a pilot program. Ask for one classroom subscription to test it out and collect data on engagement and outcomes.
Emphasize student engagement. Minecraft keeps kids excited and focused on learning. Support your case with research on improved motivation and participation.
Suggest creative funding ideas. Propose one-time sources like grants, PTA contributions, and fundraisers to cover the small per-student cost.
With some enthusiastic teachers on board, you can convince your school leaders to adopt Minecraft. Get them excited about the academic benefits and cost-effectiveness.
Preview with Minecraft Trial
While waiting for your school to purchase, students can access the regular version of Minecraft for a free trial. This allows them to learn game basics before transitioning to the educational version.
Any student can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Minecraft through their Xbox or Microsoft account. This provides full access to:
- All Minecraft game modes – Creative, Survival, Hardcore, Adventure, and Spectator.
- 100+ in-game items including blocks, mobs, armor, weapons, and more.
- Multiplayer servers with millions of existing worlds to explore alone or with friends.
The regular Minecraft trial has ads and in-game purchases disabled. It‘s a safe environment for students to learn gameplay mechanics involving crafting, building, and mining.
Have students use the regular Minecraft trial to get comfortable with the game world. This will make the transition to Education Edition smooth once access is secured.
Convince Parents to Buy
As a last resort, explain the academic benefits of Minecraft: Education Edition and ask parents to buy access for their kids.
With the low $5/year price, this crowdsourced approach can work if you have engaged parents who value supporting their students. Especially since many parents are already paying for entertainment versions of Minecraft.
To encourage them, emphasize benefits like:
- Minecraft improves STEM engagement and skills.
- Lessons are designed by accredited educators.
- Student collaboration and communication is enhanced.
- Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are developed through gameplay.
- Learning drives gameplay rather than distraction.
With a coordinated outreach campaign, you may convince parents to purchase access rather than adding video games with less educational value. Leverage your school community to make learning through Minecraft possible.
The key takeaways are:
- Try the 1-month free trial for full access to Minecraft: Education Edition.
- Use the demo lesson for a quick no-signup introduction.
- Qualify for free year-long access through Microsoft education programs if eligible.
- Buy discounted licenses at just $5/user/year – affordable for classrooms.
- Leverage school computers with Minecraft pre-installed for free use.
- Start with MakeCode for Minecraft to learn coding basics at no cost.
- Convince your school leaders to purchase by touting academic benefits.
- Sign students up for a regular Minecraft free trial as a stepping stone.
- Encourage parents to buy individual licenses to crowdsource access.
With persistence and creativity, you can find avenues to integrate Minecraft: Education Edition into your classroom even with the tightest of budgets. The educational value is well worth the effort to provide this engaging experience for your students! Let me know if you need any help securing those free Minecraft accounts.