At today’s Microsoft Ability Summit, the company that Bill Gates built is set to announce something brand new. This particular project isn’t purely Xbox focused, but it does have to do with Minecraft. That is, Minecraft: Education Edition.

What they’ll be revealing is BuildAbility, which is set to become Minecraft: Education Edition’s first world. It will be focused on general accessibility, as well as building accessible spaces.

Microsoft has partnered with the Peel District School Board in Ontario, Canada, to create, advance and support this interactive world and its goals.

Some other highlights about this announcement:

  • The world was developed by Microsoft in collaboration with Peel District School Board.
  • A small working team of educators contributed their time weekly to provide insights and help develop ideas.
  • It was important to draw on the lived experiences of people who face accessibility barriers and therefore PDSB learned from their students about the barriers they face at school and in the community. These insights are reflected in the game.
  • Imagined by Canadian educators from PDSB, this Minecraft world draws on spaces from the Peel area, and has familiar similarities between a local shopping mall and library.
  • BuildAbility explores a few, but not all, accessibility barriers and disabilities experienced by students
  • Accessibility barriers and disabilities experienced is incredibly diverse and vibrant – expressing the dynamism of real world experiences in to video game like Minecraft with BuildAbility is by no means comprehensive and complete
  • The barriers and disabilities expressed in BuildAbility are representative of the ones easily communicable to young minds with a limited time for instruction
  • The majority of disabilities are invisible to others and thus are not all represented in BuildAbility

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