Because of the popularity of Microsoft’s Minecraft program in schools, a new education version of Minecraft offers tougher challenges to K-12 students who have developed more sophisticated skill levels.

Since launching the education version of Minecraft last year, Microsoft has 2 million licensed users in 115 countries playing the game.  They quickly discovered that students are skilled at playing video games, so in the updated version they have made the one hour tutorial more difficult.

This week, the company released “Hero’s Journey,” lined up with an upcoming Hour of Code event.  Students around the world are being encouraged to complete a free coding tutorial in December.

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“We see a real appetite for game-based learning,” said Deirdre Quarnstrom, general manager of Minecraft’s education edition at Microsoft. Students can create their own avatars, and solve problems one step at a time. The game lets students create their own avatars and learn to solve problems one step at a time, she said.

The new version of Minecraft adds an optional feature – hidden diamonds which require students to build additional code in order to reach the jewels.

“Something we’ve heard from students in the past is ‘This is just too easy,’” Quarnstrom said.

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