To help get you started Chris Boehmer, GSE’s IT specialist, and I decided to write a guide detailing the process of getting Minecraft: Education Edition on to your students’ Chromebooks. This may be a guide you share with your IT staff to unlock Minecraft for the Chromebook and then you use yourself to get students up and running in your class.
Office 365 Integration
First things first, in order to have full access to Minecraft: EE, users will have to login with an Office 365 Education account. If your institution is already utilizing an Office 365 environment and is verified as an educational institution, great! That means all users should already have an assigned email address and may use those credentials to login upon starting Minecraft: EE. If your institution is not utilizing Office 365, maybe using a different solution such as Google for Education (or for smaller institutions, maybe nothing at all), we will have some configuring and account creation to do.
Starting an Office 365 Trial
If your educational institution does not have an Office 365 education environment already setup, you can start an Office 365 Education trial. This lasts 30 days, and during that time period, you would have to attach a domain that you own/manage to continue to have access to your educational licenses once your 30 day trial is up (See following step: Verifying your Domain). You may visit the following link to get started: Office 365 Trial. It is important to note for our members that are not a K-12 institution, you may still qualify for a free educational license. You may check your eligibility at the following link: Office 365 Educational Eligibility.
Verifying your Domain
This step gets a little technical, and you will most likely have to involve your IT department to assist. Once your Office 365 education trial has begun, you will need to attach your institution’s domain to your account to continue to have access to assign/manage student’s and other user’s accounts. Instructions for this process can be found at the following link: Add DNS records to connect your domain . You will need to work with your IT admin during this process, as they will need specific information from your account you created to input on their end and vice versa. Note – you will only need to complete Step 1 (add a TXT record to verify your domain). All other other steps are for verifying additional Microsoft Services that are unneeded to manage accounts eligible for Minecraft:EE. Once you have added your domain, as long as it is verified as an educational institution, you will be able to access the free Office 365 Education licenses. You can then create users on a one-by-one basis, in bulk via CSV file, or in bulk with PowerShell as well.
Adding and Assigning Licenses to Users
You may now begin adding your students and users and assigning them Educational licenses in the admin console. Full instructions can be found at the following link: Add users and assign licenses at the same time. While creating an account, you may check the box titled “Send password in email upon completion” to alert the student or user that their account has been created and inform them of their credentials.
Installing Minecraft: Education Edition on Chromebooks
The ease of actually installing Minecraft:EE from the playstore will depend on if your institution manages the Chromebooks that will be used. If the Chromebooks you plan to install on are managed, follow the instructions in the following section. If they are unmanaged you may skip to Installing Minecraft: EE on an unmanaged Chromebook.
Installing Minecraft: EE on a Managed Chromebook
Institution IT departments will tend to lock down the capabilities of Chromebooks. Installing unapproved apps and/or even accessing the Google Play Store is more often than not locked down. You will have to work with your IT department to allow Minecraft:EE to be an approved app able to be downloaded and installed. There are 2 scenarios for your IT department to consider in this instance: Allow the student or user to download Minecraft: EE themselves or they may deploy it to the student or user’s Chromebook from their end. If they choose to allow the student or user to install it themselves, they may follow the instructions and guidelines at the following link: Guidelines for deploying Android apps on Chromebooks. Using this method, they would need to allow “Minecraft: Education Edition”. If they wish to deploy the app from their end, they would then use the instructions at the following link: Deploy Android apps to managed users on Chromebooks.
Installing Minecraft: EE on an Unmanaged Chromebook
Installing Minecraft: EE on an unmanaged device is the easier route, but most of the time you will be bound by your IT department’s policies. The only requirement in this instance is your Chromebook supports the Google Play Store and you have an active Play Store account. If those requirements are met, you may follow the instructions at the following link: Get Android apps and digital content from the Google Play Store. In step 2, you would search “Minecraft: Education Edition”.
Running Minecraft: EE With Students
Once Minecraft: EE has been unlocked in the Google Playstore from the IT side of things, Minecraft will show up for students in the Playstore ready to play here. Once launched, students will see the app running on the Chromebook taskbar. For easy access, students should right click on M:EE and “Pin” it to the taskbar. They can login using the Office 365 account information made for them. Game on!
We will continue to update this guide as we find the best practices in rolling out M:EE in the classroom, so stay tuned!