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Is Minecraft: Education Edition Free? A Teacher‘s Guide to Access, Features, and Classroom Use

If you‘ve heard about Minecraft: Education Edition and are wondering whether it‘s free, the short answer is "yes and no." Educators and students can access limited trials and demos at no cost to get a hands-on introduction. But ongoing access requires a paid subscription after the trial period.

Why Consider Minecraft for Your Classroom?

Before getting into the specifics on free access options, you may be wondering why Minecraft matters for your classroom in the first place. Well, the open-world sandbox game has become a global phenomenon among students for a reason.

Over 112 million active monthly players have embraced Minecraft‘s creative building gameplay and problem solving adventures. [1] Among K-12 students, it‘s the second most popular game behind only the record-breaking Fortnite.

But Minecraft offers so much more than entertainment value alone. Educators have found it highly flexible for project-based learning across subjects, from math and science to language arts and social studies. The immersive game motivates students, keeps them engaged for learning, and builds vital skills from collaboration to critical thinking.

When used strategically, Minecraft is an invaluable teaching tool for today‘s classrooms. Let‘s explore the options for accessing it free of charge to experience the benefits firsthand.

Free Trial Gives Full Access

Minecraft: Education Edition provides teachers with a free trial to test the full game experience before committing to a paid subscription. The length of free access can vary, but often lasts around 1-2 months.

To sign up, you‘ll need an existing Office 365 Education account or Microsoft 365 account. Personal Microsoft accounts don‘t qualify for the free educator trial. Many schools already have Office 365 access that faculty can leverage.

With the trial, you‘ll enjoy complete functionality without limits. Explore lesson plans across subjects, create customized worlds, use coding tools, control student access, collaborate on builds, and track learning progress. Everything that makes Minecraft: Education Edition so powerful is available to try out risk-free.

Minecraft: Education Edition trial signup page

Figure 1: Getting started with a free Minecraft: Education Edition trial is easy with an Office 365 school account

When the free trial period ends, continued access requires a paid subscription. But the trial gives you ample time to fully evaluate the platform for your needs.

Limited Demo Also Available

In addition to the free trial requiring an account login, Minecraft: Education Edition offers a demo version playable right from a web browser. No account needed!

The demo allows you to try three lessons in Minecraft for free:

  • Introduction to Coding – Learn beginner coding concepts like loops and variables.
  • Imaginary Worlds – Exercise creativity by designing a new world.
  • Aquatic Adventure – Embark on an ocean expedition for grade 1 science.

It gives a hands-on glimpse into Minecraft‘s approach to learning. However, the demo provides limited functionality compared to the full experience. It‘s meant as a lightweight introduction, not a replacement for the complete trial or subscription.

Paid Subscription Unlocks Full Potential

While the free trial and demo grant temporary access, using Minecraft: Education Edition long-term and unlocking all features requires a paid subscription. How much does it cost?

Minecraft for education is priced based on number of users, with discounted rates for schools and districts buying larger batches of licenses. Here are the current rates:

Number of LicensesPrice per License

Licenses can be purchased annually for a longer subscription term as well. See Minecraft‘s pricing page for full details and up-to-date rates.

While not free forever, these education rates are heavily reduced compared to the consumer version of Minecraft. And the investment pays dividends by unlocking Minecraft‘s full potential for project-based learning.

How Minecraft: Education Edition Boosts Learning

You may be wondering, what makes Minecraft: Education Edition worth paying for when the free trial ends? What does the full experience enable that a demo can‘t?

Minecraft for education bakes classroom teaching tools directly into the game experience. It transforms an engaging sandbox game into a flexible learning platform aligned to education standards across subjects and grades.

Here are some key benefits and features:

Easy Classroom Management

  • Restrict world settings and inventory items
  • Control student access and communication
  • Reset worlds to start lessons fresh

Customized Lesson Plans

  • Pre-made lessons spanning STEM, history, and more
  • Align activities to curriculum standards
  • Guide students through objectives step-by-step

Assess Student Learning

  • View student progress and participation
  • Gather learning analytics for insights
  • Offer quizzes and track scores

Promote Collaboration

  • Students team up in structured groups
  • Collaborative builds and challenges
  • Multiplayer servers for class teamwork

Develop Critical Thinking

  • Apply problem solving abilities
  • Optimizing builds with limited resources
  • Debug programs and improve coding skills

Creativity and Self-Expression

  • Design buildings, cities, even entire worlds
  • Write stories and make art within the game
  • Personalize environments and avatars

Engagement Across Devices

  • Cross-platform play on Windows, Macs, Chromebooks, iOS, Android
  • Use on computers, tablets, laptops, and phones
  • Xbox version coming soon

Whether you teach math, science, history, language arts, or coding, Minecraft: Education Edition enables educators to customize activities tailored to learning objectives. The benefits span from collaboration to creativity.

Minecraft Takeover: Adoption Stats and Growth

Just how popular is Minecraft in classrooms today? Let‘s look at some usage stats that highlight its explosive growth as an education platform.

  • 35 million players have used Minecraft: Education Edition as of 2020. [2]
  • Over 115 million copies of Minecraft have been sold globally across all versions. [3]
  • Minecraft is the #2 most popular video game among K-12 students in 2022. [4]
  • 93% of K-8 principals surveyed say gaming boosts student engagement. [5]

Additionally, studies found that schools using Minecraft: Education Edition showed improved attendance and graduation rates. The game keeps students immersed and motivated to learn.

YearTotal Minecraft Sales
201454 million
201570 million
2016100 million
2017122 million
2018144 million
2019176 million

Table 1: Minecraft‘s rocketing sales growth since launch. Source: Statista

With over 35 million students and educators already using the Education Edition, Minecraft has cemented itself as a staple learning platform. Trying it free through a trial gives teachers the chance to join this global movement.

Essential Tips for Trialing Minecraft in Your Classroom

Ready to get started with your own Minecraft: Education Edition trial? Here are some top tips from experienced educators using Minecraft to maximize your success:

Let Students Learn the Ropes

Before structured lessons, let students freely play to learn Minecraft‘s gameplay mechanics. Mastering the basics of crafting, building, and collaborating makes learning activities more seamless.

Start Small

Introduce Minecraft with simple, well-scoped projects first before tackling longer objectives across subject areas. Once comfortable, expand your ambition.

Co-Play with Students

Join students in-game during lessons to model gameplay, give real-time guidance, and share learnings as a peer rather than top-down instructor.

Set Clear Rules

Define appropriate gameplay and collaboration expectations ahead of time. Ensure students understand guidelines for communication and classroom teamwork.

Involve Parents Early

Introduce parents to Minecraft‘s benefits for learning from the start. Share classroom results and address concerns like screen time limits proactively.

Let Students Lead

The less you direct step-by-step, the more students will create, problem solve, and gain self-efficacy. Enable student independence.

With the right preparation and expectations going into your trial, you can evaluate Minecraft: Education Edition‘s potential objectively. Use the free period to not just play Minecraft, but measure its impact and fit for your teaching approach.

How Minecraft Conquered Classrooms

Before wrapping up, let‘s briefly touch on how Minecraft went from niche computer game to global education phenomenon. Understanding its origins and journey highlights what makes it so compelling.

Minecraft began as the brainchild of Swedish programmer Markus "Notch" Persson in 2009. Notch initially released Minecraft as an experimental sandbox game focused on creativity and building worlds block by block.

Word spread among gamers impressed by its limitless possibilities. Minecraft sold over 1 million copies in its first year. As sales snowballed, Notch founded Mojang Studios to expand development.

Major updates added new features like Redstone circuitry, potion-brewing, enchantments, and The End dimension. Sales soared over 50+ million by 2014. Microsoft purchased Minecraft and Mojang for $2.5 billion in 2014 to publish it globally.

Educators took note of Minecraft‘s potential for project-based learning. Teachers shared lesson plans incorporating Minecraft across STEM subjects and history. Minecraft: Education Edition launched in 2016 with classroom features.

Today, Minecraft stands as one of the best-selling and most influential video games of all time. It dominated pop culture while also transforming learning environments. Unlocking that free for teachers provides immense value.

Evaluate Minecraft for Your Classroom

While the complete Minecraft: Education Edition requires a paid subscription, I encourage you to leverage the free trial or demo options to judge if its classroom benefits warrant the investment.

You have nothing to lose by trying Minecraft at no cost first! Find out firsthand how this chart-topping game engages students across subjects, builds collaboration, and develops creativity through learning by doing.

The trial gives you the perfect risk-free window to measure Minecraft‘s impact within your specific teaching objectives and curriculum standards. Let your students show you what they can accomplish when given the chance to learn through play.

So sign up for an educator account, grab a free trial, and start your classroom Minecraft experiment today. The potential to take learning to new levels awaits in this blocky virtual world!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.