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Add More Teacher Controls

Under consideration

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32 comments

  • will blagg

    I agree with all of this.  the more I look into what separates the Education edition, the more I think we might just be better off buying old copies of retail minecraft for our schools.

    From an IT perspective, the ability to maintain a persistent world on a server seems glaringly absent.  I have been pushing to get Minecraft into my schools for years with the idea that I can host a world on a server and invite students into it.  Now that we are finally moving forward with the rollout, I am finding that isn't even an option, which almost makes the education edition unusable in my environment. I don't see how allowing students to create their own worlds allows me the kind of control I need in order to maintain consistency in a classroom.  

    1
  • Fergus Grant

    I'm not sure if you used the old ed edition, but it had a standalone server option. Student and game management were available through the server or in game through teacher log ins too.

    I am not a fan of slash commands - these are very unfriendly to teachers who are nervous and will put them off using the game. I'd prefer to have a simple interface which was much easier to use.

    I've posted as feedback before, but I'd love to have the ability to create a map (like in WorldBuilder) which could export as a game map. This would save so much time and give teachers and students more options.

    1
  • Christoph Peters

    World management in a classroom is highly needed. 

    1
  • Susan Leifer

    I really could not agree more!

    1
  • Masmoudi Sonia Community moderator
    Moderator

    World management in classroom is needed. 

    5
  • Stephen Rowley

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything in this post. We still use MinecraftEdu in our school which gives me full control to remove abilities from students such as server creation and adjusting their game mode. It seems like with MC:EE the kids have full reign over their settings which allows them to create single player worlds or host servers outside of class times when they should only be playing the game under teacher supervision. With MinecraftEdu, I am able to lock the AD account that has the game installed and force them to logout before class is over so they have no access to the game until the account is unlocked.

    All of these missing features seems like a huge oversight and really should be added. Either students should have a separate set of limited features in their version of the installation or the Office365 license should be able to limit features. For now, it's as if all machines that have this game installed and an Office365 license can do the same things as a teacher which opens up the possibilities for them to play the game in other classes or at home. Essentially, we are giving them a video game to play which we cannot control.

    Also, where is the dedicated server? I created a Windows 10 VM to run the software, but that requires a separate, idle player to be in the game. It makes far more sense to have a dedicated server console with all necessary world controls and player management features without the need to have the account logged in to the VM in order to keep the software running. With MinecraftEdu, I can start the software, load the map, and leave it alone until it's time to save the world and shut down the dedicated server.

    That being said, we are going to use this for the chemistry lesson plan that is available, but only after explaining these shortcomings to the teachers and advising them to spend more of their time ensuring that they are not using the game outside of scheduled class periods. It would be really nice to see more specific control placed in the hands of IT administrators and teachers who choose to use this in their classroom.

    3
  • will blagg

    Is MinecraftEdu still accessible? I have found the "official" MS version to be pretty much unusable at this point and would happily track down and old version of MinecraftEdu if I could.

    0
  • Stephen Rowley

    Will, our school already had licenses for MinecraftEdu and the software, but it seems as though purchasing these licenses is no longer available and they only have a hosting option. Not sure how that works out in terms of depth of control over the game.

    2
  • Steven O'Neal

    I completely agree with this also. 

    0
  • Damond Crump

    I absolutely agree with this. Having taught and supported teachers in my district using Minecraft as an instructional tool, I know that teachers want tools to manage their students and that the tools need to be intuitive and easy to use. I am encouraged by the direction that Education Edition has taken but agree that EDU did a lot of things right. The devs should explore how creating and managing worlds was made easy in EDU. The tools need to be for every teacher and not just the tech savvy ones. Think Apple and buttons with tool tips, not slash commands. Think walled garden with no possible way for that one kid to set up a server and do their own thing with a first year teacher. Think easy, no brainer if you want this to be a universal tool.

    2
  • Mork OfMindy

    Limiting student's ability to create servers is an absolute must and a huge oversight. That should have been the number one priority before Minecraft Education was released.

    1
  • Tim Longman

    We have kept with Edu (since it worked well for us) and I am only now looking at the new EE - and I have got to say I am very surprised at the lack of feature parity. I assumed that by now this would be way beyond EDU! I spent 40mins looking for how to freeze an individual student (trivial in EDU) assuming it was in the thicket of slash commands.... to find reading this - I wasn't being stupid - it isn't..... wow.

    1
  • Andrew Forgrave

    We used the @TeacherGaming #MinecraftEDU up until the June 2018. Over the 2018 Summer, our machines were re-imaged with Windows10. While I was able to continue to run #MinecraftEDU on one or two machines, the bulk of our Windows10 machines would not install/run it. We had to switch to #Minecraft:EE.

    After a considerable effort establishing accounts for my class, we reached a point in March 2019 wherein the students were able to login.

    We had two classes within the shared space, but when we went to meet for the third time, we ran into the April 2019 automatic update -- the host computer had updated M:EE on its own, and none of the other computers could connect.  In looking to update M:EE on the student computers, it came to light that we had no fewer than 3 different versions of Windows 10 running on the computers, and different versions of Windows10 required different installs (store versus desktop) such that each machine needed to be updated independently. Somehow the "all users" uninstaller didn't work properly, which meant a second pass through each machine once the student had logged into their own account. It took forever.

    Needless to say, the program elements using Minecraft for the 2018-19 school year were significantly curtailed. Sad face. 

    Major takeaways:
    1) Microsoft, PLEASE do not update M:EE automatically in mid-year!
    2) Feature parity with other versions of Minecraft (Village and Pillage, for example) are not immediatly needed within M:EE.
    3) Teacher/Education-specific features should be the focus of what makes M:EE a unique product -- many of the features that were present in the @TeacherGaming #MinecraftEDU are still absent from the M:EE version five years after the fact.

    A couple more suggestions:
    A) Some of us would like the option to host an M:EE server 24/7 separate from the peer-to-peer networking and across tenants. How else can Mentors support teacher professional development and how else can we have students participate in global projects? 
    B) Please rethink the interface -- basing things on the M:PE codebase was a quick way to bring the code forward, but the touch-style interface on a computer is awkward. 
     

    2
  • Gareth Edmondson

    I think we desperately need a way of pausing the game to pull pupils attention back to the front. Stops all chaos and that threat of closing it down is a handy one to have.

    Unless I've missed a way of pausing everyone.

    Gareth

    1
  • Alex S

    Agree but concerned the initial post is over 2 years old and not much has been done or replied to by MCE.

    This video goes into the controls teachers had in the old MinecraftEdu. It was simple and effective. 

    The classroom settings in the new MC is basic. The classroom mode program that you can download seems like a last minute thought. Confirmed by the fact that it is a separate program altogether and not built into the Minecraft Education itself. 

    It seems teachers need much more skill and knowledge of commands to use the new MC effectively. So what is missing for me? Some ideas:

    1. Integrate the same powerful teacher menu from the old MC 1.7 to the new
    2. Add spectate mode
    3. Movement speed
    4. Better player management, especially for controlling single students: ie. prevent single student from moving, disallow student from using build tools only
    5. Add a dedicated Minecraft Edu game mode
    6. Add easy Give command menu
    7. Add Station menu (see video at 5:33)
    8. Add Building Tools

    I've been working with MCE for almost a decade and disillusioned at the new program and lack of simple control for teachers. 

     

    2
  • M Davis

    Sorry to push an older thread, but as distance learning continues, I agree with the OP that deeper teacher controls are needed. This is especially important to prevent students from hosting their own servers that are not monitored. Schools have a strict duty to monitor students that many non-educators do not fully grasp. As awesome as Minecraft:EE is, it's a no-go if schools are providing a digital playground, with no supervision, records, or accountability. Although we certainly want our students to have opportunities to practice responsible gaming habits and digital citizenship, the realities of distance learning supervision as well as students with behavioral and/or cognitive delays makes the ability to disable features a must. Practicing educators understand that behavior management requires a deep toolkit, and that while applying the "least amount of intervention" is a sound practice, sometimes more restrictive interventions are required. I would love for those controls to be available, for when we truly need them.

    Thank you to the developers who work on this product, I think it is fantastic and I look forward to augmented controls for educators!

     

    5
  • E A

    I’m a bit upset at points 1 and 2. My understanding originally was that would be features, and so students couldn’t play the game during other classes or even at home if they aren't suppose to.  I mean really, they’re teens!!

    I’d also like to add cross-platform would be amazing too.  My students have iPads and iPads work but having a keyboard/mouse is easier to control and much easier to put in the slash commands.  But when I ran the game off my computer, no one was able to join.

     

    It would also be nice if (though maybe impractical) to see what blocks were placed by what student.  Like maybe a [/view username highlight] and/or a log to see what a student did.  I mean I can see in chat if a student kills another, but one class I’ve had students complaining another is stealing items from their chest or destroying what they’re working on.

     

    Or maybe a way to teleport to kids (this might exist, so many / commands!).  If student X says Y is doing something, if I could just quickly move to their location to see what is happening would be really useful!

    0
  • Andrew Forgrave

    M Davis Bryan Sanders (archived) Minecraft EDU Official

    The question of supervision is important.  The fact that M:EE is positioned as an educational product accessed through the school district create the perception that educators are responsible for supervising what happens within Minecraft worlds. The fact that we have no control over the peer-to-peer sharing model makes this problematic.

    Certainly, there are benefits to the peer to peer sharing model in that it turns over the control of collaboration to the students. Does this benefit outweigh the concerns?

    Depending upon the age and emotional maturity of the students, along with the norms established within the classroom, supervision concerns may be minimal to none for some classroom educators. However, duty of care requires that educators be confident in the approaches they use in their classrooms – if they are concerned, they will temper their implementation.

    In working with younger students who had a very “enthusiastic appetite“ for Minecraft, I found that those with less self-control would find it too easy to start up Minecraft and become distracted when they might have been better working on something else. With the @TeacherGaming #MinecraftEDU, it was possible to configure the clients to automatically connect to the Classroom server, and if the Classroom server was not running, students found that launching the game was pointless. Working from the server meant that everyone’s work was always saved and backed up, and there was no need for students to work with or manage local worlds. When you are working with grade threes (truly a sweet spot for Minecraft learning) any single issue can be compounded by 25 as you work to resolve it for each and every student. Working from a common, collaborative world is so much more fun!

     

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  • Kate RENNIE

    We would like school administrators to be able to control some settings at a school level such as blocking player v player and player damage.

    1
  • Human Being

    Personally, I don't think that there needs to be more options and controls. There are already ways to prevent students from messing around and such, some of which include:

    1) A daily amount of points in a gradebook, points are added for following along with the lesson and points are deducted for messing around or not following the lesson.

    2) Grade every lesson, so that way those who are wasting time and messing around will end up getting a lousy grade until they can refocus.

    3) Give an incentive to not play around.

    4) As for individual student-created servers, you could do daily/weekly/monthly checks where you ask the students to screenshot all their servers and send them to you in an e-mail or message. Either reward anyone who only has servers from their classes, or punish anyone who doesn't.

    Then again, there are just my ideas, feel free to use some of them if you'd like.

    -3
  • Bryan Sanders (archived) Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I think that "rolling out" Minecraft in school needs to be a thoughtful and deliberate process. Simply turning it on within one's system will lead to issues that schools likely do not have time to deal with, as it is outside of the traditional functioning of school.

    However, there are some advanced teacher users who would like to go deeper into what exists within MCEE and those suggestions are useful on this thread for further developments.

    0
  • Reiterating the same theme here:

    More teacher, school and system controls for student safety and security online. 

    Let teachers control peer-to-peer sharing of worlds.

    Turn chat off and keep logs. 

    Dedicated access times. 

    Please fix these issues. It puts teachers and the school boards at risk. 

    4
  • Heather Chase

    I can't agree more! I just hosted 2 weeks of summer camp where the students were supposed to be going through the Hour of Code and other coding modules. Once the kids discovered they could create their own worlds, it was extremely difficult to keep their attention on the coding lessons, and very few were truly accomplished. I am new to M:EE and am very disappointed in the lack of control. It is imperative for the teacher to be able to limit creating and sharing of worlds and other settings. Otherwise, this application is completely worthless as an education tool. I will be looking for other software to teach coding in the future.

    3
  • Bryan Sanders (archived) Community moderator
    Expert (Gold) Moderator

    I also teach programming among other things in the multi-faceted realm of computer science -- and I do not choose to teach programming inside of Minecraft as the primary environment for developing projects. I have found what you are finding in that the graphics and gameplay move students (particularly those with less programming experience) into actions/activities that focus less on programming.

    Turtle Art is a crowd favorite for more focus. I highly recommend it, for it is Logo, the world's first computer programming language designed for children.

    0
  • Andrew Guyver

    This would be so good, a game changer.  I teach 16-18 year olds, I have 20 in a class so trying to present a Minecraft Education class while keeping an eye on what all 20 of them are doing is just impossible.

    It seems such a massive omission to not have tutor accounts that differ from student accounts.

    Please, please fix this… for my sanity!

    1
  • I agree that in an ideal world we could sit and have discussions and discuss expectations and our students would then rise to the occasion and only play it at appropriate times. However, I live in the real world with 7th graders where they don't even have impulse control on Google Doodles. Giving teachers or districts the ability to whitelist who can host games is very important to its survival in our district. We use Chromebooks, as an Android App it does not even show up on our monitoring software.

    3
  • Bryan Sanders Community moderator
    Bug Spotter Minecraft Certified Beacon of Knowledge Moderator Expert (Gold)

    Hahaha, Google Doodles!

    I'm sure that there are restrictions that can be placed on Chromebooks with a third-party software, but part of what we are facing is that students live in an educational world where computers are so often held as the prize for good behavior. I prefer to make them as normal as grabbing a pencil to do some work. That shift has not happened yet, even though computers have been in school for decades.

    And yes, I do agree that would be useful for schools to have more server controls and for teachers to have more classroom controls -- I would still advocate for more systemic changes in how computers and students and teachers all work together in the teaching/learning cycle.

    3
  • Micah Beasley

    As a district-level IT administrator (Minecraft player, no Minecraft EDU experience) who also services Chromebooks, I am intimately aware of the issues teachers face in the classroom regarding games (education or otherwise) on student devices. To be fair, it is not about removing student access to computing devices (to get, reward, or encourage good behavior) but about maintaining control of the learning environment so that students aren't distracted by the knowledge that there is a game icon right there, just waiting to be clicked that will whisk them away from real life and the work it often entails to a world of adventure and fun with their classmates.  Sure there is some ability for teachers to control that access (often only by taking the device away), but dealing with these issues reduces the teacher's ability to lead instruction.  This is further exacerbated by requiring the teacher to use manually typed commands (or pre-setup command blocks for everything that could happen during the class) to grant, remove, or change access, items, and abilities.

    Teachers are blocked from a device-rich future that includes Minecraft as has been suggested by the fact that Mojang+Microsoft still has not implemented the features and programming it would take... not just to lock the MinecraftEdu students at the menu until released by a teacher/administrator, but also easy and quick controls that allow the teacher to grant and restrict access, items, abilities and options to a limited feature set appropriate for the student(s) or class. 

    In relation to the application-based restrictions: If readers of my message here do a search most operating systems don't offer the ability to limit application access to a specific time frame, and when the OS does they either require the user to know how to code or don't offer the ability to have multiple teachers/admins setting, changing, and controlling access dynamically across a wide-reaching system.  Added to that, this application management system needs to be usable by your average teacher and not a sysadmin with programming experience.  Finally, this would only control the initial access (and would usually not cover things like renamed executables and files loaded from cloud storage or USB drives like launchers and minecraft.jar files) and cannot do anything to block or control what happens in the app after it has been successfully launched.

    It isn't just useful for schools to have more administrative / server controls, it is an absolute necessity... Along with the need to monitor, log, and report chat issues teachers need to be able to lock students to specific worlds, settings, and abilities. License admins need to be able to delegate access control all the way down to the teacher in the individual classroom. Those who are posting in this thread are asking for the foundational changes required to implement a system that can take us to the technology-rich future we all want for our students.

    Rant done, how do we make this happen?

    Edited: for missing words

    4
  • Jordan Frank

    I completely agree with Micah Beasley. By not implementing some way for schools to have any control other than access and no access, schools are being prevented from using what could be an exceptional teaching tool. This is even more important for erate tools that are required to comply with CIPA. We really need at minimum some way to easily pull a log of chats from multiplayer sessions with no teacher in them

    I've seen it mentioned that blocking https://meeservices.azurewebsites.net/ can prevent students from access, so I'm going to test that (we use GoGuardian) and see if it works. Even if it does, it would still require all of the teachers not using minecraft to block that during their class time.

    1
  • Andrew C

    Disappointed that classroom mode seems to be missing/no longer supported. I thought classroom mode was a good start for some of the teacher controls but I would like to see it expanded to include chat logging and nether/end map+indicator. Also, some indicator of what action a student is doing (breaking/building/attacking/coding?) would be useful. 

     

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