Microsoft Announces BuildAbility, the First World for Minecraft: Education Edition

Minecraft has announced BuildAbility, the first world for Minecraft: Education Edition. BuildAbility focuses on accessibility and building inclusive spaces for players.

During the Microsoft Ability Summit, Microsoft announced that it has partnered with Peel District School Board in Ontario on BuildAbility. The world has been built in collaboration with a small group of educators in the district. The team provided weeks of insight and developed ideas with the core development team. In BuildAbility, students can explore three distinct areas including a school, a gas station, and a store. There is also an open sandbox area for students to explore and for educators to present build challenges.

Minecraft: Education Edition is an offshoot of the official Minecraft experience. It’s been developed as a learning platform to promote creativity, collaboration and problem-solving. Utilizing BuildAbility in Minecraft: Education Edition, students begin by learning the five types of accessibility barriers: Attitudinal Barriers, Information or Communication Barriers, Organizational or Systemic Barriers, Physical Barriers, and Technological Barriers.

Additionally, students explore different community spaces within Minecraft. Here, they interact and meet different characters representing the many people around the world who face accessibility barriers. Characters ask students to build and re-build spaces to make them more accessible.

“Microsoft is committed to empowering all students to achieve more,” Jennifer Newby, Superintendent – Special Education, Social-Emotional Learning & Well-Being, said in a statement to iPhone in Canada. “That means supporting an understanding of inclusive and accessible environments that inspire confidence and encourage independence for each student.”

On May 19th, Microsoft is celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The celebrations will see Microsoft host a BuildAbility Live Lesson. Cobblestone Collective, a Microsoft Global Training Partner will host three different virtual lessons for classrooms around the world. Registration is open now.