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Stopping students from hosting and multiplayer

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31 comments

  • Sami Maisema

    Doesn't that teach them social skills or something?

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  • Jai Law

    Thank you for your response Sami, however you have not seemed to provide an answer to the issue that I posted. As it is a program that we are offering as part of our curriculum, we are mandated to follow the Department of Education's privacy and cyber safe obligations and policies. As students are accessing this from home and we can't guarantee parent supervision, the duty of care lies with us. If a child (our children are aged 5-12) is exposed to any inappropriate content, grooming, bullying by other children, household members etc, then we are responsible. That isn't "social skills", that is protecting our students from harm. If parents would like their children to be unsupervised on Minecraft to talk with whomever they would like, they can do that using the non-education version in their own time. I hope this has clarified your concern and perhaps now you might be able to be more helpful in your response and provide an answer that is of use to my school, and the other schools in my area.  

    1
  • Nicholas Fahey

    I am looking into Minecraft Education Edition as a possible remote learning medium. I agree with Jai, this is a concern. I was an early adopter of the original Minecraft EDU and loved that. I don't think it is a good idea for students to be able to host their own unsupervised worlds in a platform provided by a school, the non-education edition is for that.

    I also think the new Education edition should be able to host persistent online worlds through realms (non-dependent on a teacher's computer) that might be monitored and contain more than 30 students. Just throwing that out there. 

    1
  • Penny Support Team

    The multiplayer feature in Minecraft: Education Edition cannot be disabled in the software. However, educators and students are always in control of when and how they use multiplayer.

    Educators and students can only use the multiplayer feature within their O365 EDU tenant, which means students can only collaborate with other students from the same tenant.  The scope of a tenant is determined by your school organization, and is normally set to the school or district.  You can contact your IT department to understand how your tenant has been set up.

    When a player hosts a multiplayer session, they are able to invite others into their Minecraft world, set which abilities players have while in their world, and remove other players from their world at any time.  Educators can host multiplayer sessions of up to 30 participants, which can be effective and fun for class projects and demos. 

    We recommend having a clear policy on classroom multiplayer and setting expectations with your students for their behavior in Minecraft: Education Edition. Download our Multiplayer Guide for setup information and read the Remote Teaching and Learning in O365 EDU article for more ideas about remote classroom management.

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  • Penny Support Team

    Nicholas Fahey thanks for your feedback about persistent worlds!  Feel free to add on to the main feedback post about dedicated server.  Having feedback consolidated helps us quantify the need for a feature. https://minecrafteducation.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360018332443-Dedicated-Server-for-Minecraft-EE

    1
  • Sami Maisema

    Thank you for your response Jay. I think that there's way more bullying in schools than Minecraft. Because if you are being bullied or don't feel comfortable you can always leave. But in schools trying to escape bullying can be really difficult. I got bullied in school and there was usually no escape, but when they tried that online, I was able to put stop to it pretty fast. And that's why I think they shouldn't add "no fun allowed" option :)

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  • Brian Larkin

    I'm sorry Sami and CarrieD  but I've found your answers to Jai's legitimate and important question very dismissive. I am making some assumptions here but I get the distinct impression that you are not legally responsible for any pupil and do not live with the burden of a clear "Duty of Care" for their well being.

    As Jai clearly states, "students are accessing this from home and we can't guarantee parent supervision, the duty of care lies with us. If a child (our children are aged 5-12) is exposed to any inappropriate content, grooming, bullying by other children, household members etc". This is a pretty important statement.

    The sadly pessimistic truth of human nature is that if is possible to do something someone will do it, this is especially true in schools. At some point a child will be bullied, groomed, threatened ..etc and I have to be able to say that I've taken all reasonable steps to prevent that. Now realistically it isn't possible to make life safe. Some pupil at some time will bully, and fight, and threaten, and make inappropriate sexual or racist comments. Often because this is unavoidable this is dealt with through rules and procedures. Detentions are give, parents are called, pupils are excluded. 

    However when you are having that difficult conversation with parents about why their "beautiful perfect child" is being excluded, most of the reasonable ones  naturally understand that you can't manage everything in life, that children for many reasons are violent and mean to each other and that ultimately school is a safe place for them to workout what is socially acceptable and what is not, and learn leasons from their actions.

    What I guarantee they won't understand is why the school has given them another platform to do this on and not taken any steps to make their child safe. Most people expect schools to take "reasonable steps" and if they think you haven't they are naturally annoyed. Indeed when something bad inevitably happens depending on what the "bad thing" is that it  I could easily become a national press story. Just saying that there is "more bullying in schools" won't mollify anyone. Similarly saying you didn't want to take the "fun out of it" is going to be laughed at when that parent sues the school.

    I hope you can see now the scale of this issue.

    Please reply with a more helpful suggestion.

    3
  • Christian Cloud

    Hello! Anyone get a solution to this? 

    1
  • JASON SCHMIDT

    This is a concern for us, as well, for many of the reasons stated above. Our district also has the policy that we archive all digital communication by students on school-sanctioned platforms, and I don't see that the chat in Minecraft is archiveable.

    I can see benefits for students to be able to host their own worlds, but we need to have the opportunity to educate them about it and also have the tools to be able to provide consequences that don't amount to taking the application away from them entirely. It would be great if there were a setting granting permission to host based on the account or if there were some sort of audit tools that would allow administrators to have visibility into these settings and chats.

     

    3
  • Matt Douglas

    Is there any additional guidance that can be provided here? M:EE is a great tool to teach digital citizenship, but knowing there are tools available to ensure unsupervised games aren't being hosted by students would assuage concerns we're getting from parents and administrators.

    2
  • Aleece Landis

    Sounds like all the more reason to create a dedicated server solution for M:EE so that a class could have a platform where the chat and logs can be archived and supervised.  I know there are methods on Java servers where the chat can be monitored in a discord channel.  Which seems to me that something similar should be possible in Teams.

    1
  • Aleece Landis

    Only other option I can think of is their accounts might need to be restricted some how by the IT departments but that sounds pretty tricky.  Are they using school supplied machines?  If so, the machines could probably be set up with some form of controls that only allow access to certain programs at certain times (sort of like parental controls.)  If you are in the US using Microsoft 365 for your access to Minecraft Education Edition, I expect Microsoft may have some control options over what is allowed when on the 365 accounts.

    1
  • Steven Buergin

    Brian hits the nail on the head. These are the conversations, at the district level, that end up causing Minecraft to get pulled from the classroom. If it were possible to force the students to enter the teachers server then this would be all laid to rest.

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  • Elijah Rhyne

    I don't think it is possible to do that. Maybe in a future update.

    -1
  • Timothy Brinkley

    As a teacher at Barstow High, our IT department might have to pull Minecraft from being available to students if they cannot restrict students from hosting games independently.  This would be sad for the students as well as teachers who are using it.

    It would be great if a future update would allow administrators to have the same controls as Classroom Mode below for any game hosted on their network.  

     

    What I like the most about Minecraft for Education is that it has so many built in lessons that the students can work through independently.  The current list of lesson categories are listed below:

    • Digital Citizenship
    • Social Emotional
    • Equity and Inclusion
    • Science
    • Math
    • Computer Science
    • Language Arts
    • History & Culture
    • Art & Design

    It also has Monthly Build Challenges to help build student creativity and 21st Century Skills.  Examples include, Area and Volume Challenge, Agent to the Rescue, Build a Treehouse, Block Biography, Build a Mars Rover, Coding Coral, and many more.

    3
  • Nigel Rank

    This has been also very frustrating on my end with students hosting Minecraft games after the normal school hour. there must be a way to stop this. I really feel the Microsoft have to look into this and give teachers and It administrators the option to enable and disable the hosting function for students 

    2
  • Matthew Charles

    1. How do we disable student ability to invite others to their worlds?  

    2. How do we disable the chat feature?  

    3. Are there chat logs and how do we obtain them? 

    1
  • Dan Noble Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    Hi Matthew Charles

    1. You cannot disable the student ability to invite or join other worlds. 

    2. You can't turn off the chat feature except while hosting and using Classroom mode. 

    3. The chat logs are only available if you are hosting and using Classroom mode. 

    1
  • Matthew Charles

    Microsoft has to figure out how to fix these holes, like Google did with disallowing students to create Google Meets.  Everyones' concerns here are uber valid. 

    2
  • Bryan Sanders Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I'm not sure we would ever want to prevent students from inviting or joining -- but I do understand the inherent problems in giving that power to them. We will need to continue developing our educational model to see how we can build trust and safety while providing students with agency.

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  • Matthew Charles

    I agree that collaboration is paramount, but you're missing the legal issues that folks have spoken about very articulately in this thread.  

    There needs to be a way for teachers to be able to approve teams, monitor behaviour and control the environments.  

    I love Minecraft, but these issues will halt some of the uptake in schools. There's got to be someone on your legal team that can address this.  It's not about student agency, it's about the legal need for supervision and oversight. 

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  • Dan Noble Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    Matthew Charles

    Make sure you add these concerns in the "Wish List" section.

    This is the best way for the development team to see these concerns. 

    1
  • Bryan Sanders Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    It's a terrific problem to have -- restructuring of how people think about and organize school because of an immersive educational tool that students like using? Fabulous!

    The legal issues that we are trying to anticipate also indicates how the tables have turned -- teachers and administrators cannot dictate student behavior. Great problem to have.

    If schools decide to not use Minecraft because they cannot control how students use Minecraft, then I'm curious how students are using Internet at that school. Do they share digital documents with each other? Do they use chat or forums within the school network on the school LMS? If yes to sharing and chatting and typing forum notes, then the cat is already out of the bag and the hesitation on Minecraft is quite possibly displaced fear.

    Are students passing notes to each other on paper? Are they speaking secretly to each other in small groups during lunch time? Are they exchanging things in the bathroom or at their lockers?

    How much supervision and oversight is in place without the Internet? How much is in place with the Internet but not Minecraft? How much is necessary when adding Minecraft? How are you measuring the differences?

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  • Steven Buergin

    That's a big yipes, Bryan Sanders. For about 12 years of my experience working in a public school we have had pretty advanced structures in place for file, email, messaging, content filtering, accountability and reporting. These systems have only gotten better and more integrated over the years. So yes LMS, messaging platforms, collaborative mediums, content filtering all have hooks for our monitoring/security/data accountability platform. Some of those platforms we use are Microsoft platforms. But MS big weakness has been a wholistic approach to student data security, big G and big A have more consistencies in this regard.

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  • Bryan Sanders Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I suppose if you have students drawing and writing obscenities in Minecraft or in the hallways, the problem is really the same.

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  • Steven Buergin

    As Brian Larkin mentioned "Duty of Care" there are various degrees of this across the organization. But it is our job to ensure we are following the federal, state and organizational guidelines. The teachers hold their classroom environment close to their chests. And the issues that they have to address, regarding student safety, regularly extend far beyond graffiti. These issues aren't just in person but extend through all environments students are exposed to. I am certain you are not intentionally being flippant but many of the people here are commenting on the shortfalls regarding Minecraft EE and the challenges fitting in the modern educational environment.

    1
  • Bryan Sanders Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I love and respect this conversation! Please do not misread me. I am a teacher of over 25 years and continue to this day. I use Minecraft: Education Edition every day. It is hard work! I support any changes that Microsoft wishes to make to incorporate suggestions that teachers have made to make the work and play of MCEE integrated into "normal school". 

    I do have my own opinions about classroom management and engaging learning environments. I have found that it is easy to put "the faults of man" on any tool or program or approach. I question the premise that Minecraft is unsafe because students can share worlds with each other and am looking to push the discussion.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Bryan

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  • Matthew Charles

    Shared Google documents and chats are all logged and can be retrieved.

    Student internet use is monitored/tracked and has been for years. 

    Paper passed by students can be retrieved. 

    "Conversations at lockers" aren't considered a tool we have purchased. 

    This is way above a classroom management level. Teachers don't even have the tools to do the management. 

    "Sharing the worlds is not unsafe", it's the lack of the ability of teachers to have oversight.

    Can we move this conversation back to "How do we more system, school and teacher controls put in place?" 

    1
  • Bryan Sanders Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    Since I had to open port 19132 for Minecraft traffic to my home computer during Covid Lockdown, I'm curious if the reverse could be helpful for schools to block student computers from acting as hosts on campus. It may be a tricky situation but not impossible to open port 19132 on teacher computers and block it on student computers. This may allay some of the concerns on this thread. Minecraft EDU Official

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  • Minecraft EDU Team Community manager
    Moderator

    What a rich conversation! All, we are actively researching classroom management as we are recreating the management experience. Would love your insights added to this work - adding Melinda here for FYI! We'll be sure to reach out to this group when we reach a stage of discussing this further!

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