Phil Spencer announces free educational content for Minecraft during COVID-19 restrictions By Heidi Nicholas, 24 Mar 2020 CommentsThe restrictions currently in place across multiple countries to combat the spread of COVID-19 include lockdowns, closures, and social distancing precautions. With schools being closed around the world, many students are now at home for the foreseeable future. As a result, Phil Spencer and Mojang have now announced a new educational Minecraft project, which will provide free educational content for students and parents to download. All of this content will be free until June 30th. "I have previously stated that I believe gaming has a unique power to bring people together, to entertain, to inspire and connect us, and I believe that’s even more true under these unique circumstances", Spencer says in his announcement. "We are living in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people around the world and changed the way we go about our daily lives. Here at Microsoft, we’re constantly asking ourselves what we can do to support people during this challenging time." He goes on to address the challenge parents are currently facing to ensure that children are supported for distance learning, but that they also have time to have fun. Xbox's answer to this is the new Education category in the Minecraft Marketplace.A partnership with NASA means that through this Educational category, players can explore the International Space System, visit Washington D.C. landmarks, and learn about coding, building 3D fractals, and marine biology, amongst other topics. As Mojang states in their own announcement, this content also includes ten worlds from the Marketplace Creator Community. These worlds include lesson plans such as writing, building, and puzzles, with topics ranging from renewable energy to Greek history. A previous blog on the same subject also highlighted a remote learning toolkit, with over 50 lessons, a STEM curriculum and learning activities, as well as how to use the classroom multiplayer feature.This educational content can be accessed, for free, via the in-game store until June 30th.Xbox One Written by Heidi NicholasHey, I'm Heidi! I've just finished studying a Masters in English Literature, but I've been obsessed with gaming since long before then. I began on the PS2 with Spyro, before graduating to the Xbox 360 and disappearing into Skyrim. I'm now a loyal RPG fan, but I still like to explore other genres — when I'm not playing Assassin's Creed Odyssey, or being lured back into Red Dead Redemption 2 or The Witcher 3!