The creative nature of Minecraft has made it one of the premier educational tools for the modern classroom. Teachers around the world have designed, modified, and explored collaborative Minecraft projects for all subjects, and with Minecraft: Education Edition it has become even easier for teachers to spin up multiplayer servers right from their own machines and lead their classes in collaborative building and problem solving.
In Spring 2019 we released a pilot Minecraft: Education Edition virtual Machine in the Azure Marketplace, allowing teachers to run multi-player Minecraft: Education Edition sessions with the scalability, performance, and security of Azure. Students needed only log-in with their school-issued email address to join the learning! And institutions that have a Minecraft: Education Edition license through select Microsoft 365 Education plans needed only pay only what they use on the virtual machine itself. We learned a lot from this pilot and have since closed it, removing the virtual machine from the Azure Marketplace.
Running Minecraft: Education Edition on Azure can provide teachers more flexibility and control over the learning experience. Many teachers may not have a personal or organized-issued devices that can host large multi-player sessions. Or they aren’t able to leave the multiplayer instance open for students to connect from home, making the environment only accessible during class hours. This pilot was just the first step in pairing experiences in education like Minecraft: Education Edition with the Azure cloud - we thank you for your interest and for participating.
Azure provides $200 credit and a free tier of services (including virtual machines) for educators and IT administrators with Azure Free Account.
In just a couple steps, teachers can start a multiplayer Minecraft: Education Edition server and students can connect from anywhere, anytime.
We are excited to have been able to pilot with a few current Minecraft: Education Edition teachers to try out this new Azure VM experience and look forward to iterating on our approach and supporting more multi-player scenarios in schools!