Key Differences between Minecraft and MinecraftEdu

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Jeff Tillinghast

Mar 25, 2014, 1:51:10 PM3/25/14
Hi all-- still trying to wrap my brain around the two different versions of Minecraft. Can someone help me out with why you would choose one over the other? For example, here's from the MinecraftEdu wiki:

Key Differences to Minecraft and MinecraftEDU:

  • Custom versions of the game designed specifically for teachers and students with many extra features that support classroom use. What are the extra features? Are they written out somewhere?
  • Easy-to-use server software that simplifies the task of getting multiplayer up and running.
  • World-building tools that make it simple to incorporate your own curricular content.Is this different than World Painter (which seems to work for MCEDU and MC)?
  • A free library of worlds / levels / activities that you can use with our software to teach a variety of subjects.

Hopefully there's just a page with some more detail that I missed?

Joel S.

Mar 25, 2014, 2:22:08 PM3/25/14
This link has lots of features of Minecraft EDU and links to their descriptions. Basically you have more control over players, and lots of Admin features to help manage a class.

Features I use most often:
  • Ability to freeze students and stop chatting
  • Telelport individuals or large groups to a specific location
  • Give items to students
  • Border blocks to avoid students going "out of bounds"
  • "Build Allow" blocks to designate specific areas for building
  • Information signs and tools to guide students
  • An incredible support system with this Google Group
  • Ability to easily download and use mods and worlds that others have created
  • Easy to set up a server for your school. Any computer can function as a server, where the "regular" Minecraft takes a bit more setup
Hope this helps!



Mar 25, 2014, 3:12:11 PM3/25/14
Hey Jeff,

Essentially, when comparing Minecraft to MinecraftEdu, the latter just gives you more options and functionality for use in the classroom and school environment with less need for technical skills.

Joel has listed many of the great practical changes in the MinecraftEdu version.

I can typically get a MinecraftEdu server and 35 clients up and running in about 30 minutes. There is no fussing with plugins or anything of that nature. Start the tool, select the map, start the server, play Minecraft.

  • A suite of Edu specific blocks (Border blocks, Build allow / disallow blocks, Info blocks, Teleport blocks, etc.)
  • Built in build tools like Fill, Place, and Long Distance. Also World Edit is included by default for further build capabilities.
  • A teacher menu, which many of the features that come with Edu can be accessed by a teacher in game.
  • Ability to enable or disable aspects of the game that you may not want in a school environment (PVP, Fire and TNT, Day/Night Cycle, Monsters)
  • No need to connect outside of your network to play on a server.
  • Mojang Minecraft accounts at a discounted educational price
Hope this helps you make your decision, but in my biased opinion (since I use MinecraftEdu) if you are looking to buy Minecraft anyway, MinecraftEdu is the best way to go.

Jeff Tillinghast

Mar 25, 2014, 5:25:02 PM3/25/14
Thanks, both-- this is very helpful. I'm actually initially attracted to MC because it can be used both internal and externally-- our project is going to require some homework time, so being able to pick up a hosted MC server externally and not have to worry about opening up a port to allow external access in is a bonus for us. I'm really interested in what you say about World Edit-- how is that different than World Painter?

Thanks again.

Jeff Tillinghast

Mar 25, 2014, 5:39:36 PM3/25/14
Also, I'm reading Graphite's write-up on the pros-and-cons of each, and I'm interested in this point, listed as a Con for MCEdu:
"Some mods can't be used by students, closing off some creative possibilities and valuable skills gains."

Can anyone unpack this for me? Does this mean that mods are usable, but not by students, or that some mods are just incompatible with the Edu version?


Mar 25, 2014, 6:36:03 PM3/25/14
MinecraftEdu is forge compatible, therefore most mods will work with it. Just like any Minecraft Server, you will run into mods that conflict with one another. So that is not a Minecraft or MinecraftEdu thing. It is just a fact that sometimes programs do not work with one another.

Many vanilla servers use Bukkit for the mod base, and that has it's own pros and cons over a forge based.

I have lots of mods I use with students and that students use. So i am not sure what the post you are referring to is talking about. Keep in mind that there are reviews of MinecraftEdu when it first came out, but they never go back and update their posts.


Mar 25, 2014, 6:36:52 PM3/25/14
This is in reference to bukkit plugins not working. Very few Forge based mods are incompatible with MinecraftEdu, as Maize will attest to in her mod thread. The major difference between bukkit and forge as a modding api is that bukkit is mostly server based and forge mods are normally required on both server and client. In my opinion it makes very little difference to the experience, there are a massive amount of Forge mods, and many provide the same functionality as bukkit plugins.

As to your other comments earlier in the thread, worldedit is an in-game bulk world editing tool, world painter is an external tool for world creation. Think of worldedit as a tool that allows copy/pasting of structures within Minecraft easily, which WorldPainter allows you to create the base outside of the game.

If you want an external server you can still use MinecraftEdu, I am pretty sure Allgamer are able to host MinecraftEdu servers, Eric Walker on the group uses them I think. 

For an educational setting MinecraftEdu just provides teachers with more tools to help build worlds and manage students in game that Minecraft on its own does not provide. Most everything is tick-box based on MinecraftEdu so any teacher can use them, while in Minecraft you can do some (not all) the same things but it is command based and not every teacher is going to be able to utilise these commands effectively.



Mar 26, 2014, 6:14:36 AM3/26/14
Hey Jeff.  mcEDU is defiantly the best way to go for a server.  Like was mentioned before, mcedu makes it super easy to get server up and running already perfectly set up for the classroom.  
I'm planning on using both mc and mcedu because one limitation of mcedu is it is only allowed to be installed on computers that are at the school.  mcedu can not be installed on the students' home computers or laptops.  
I'm working on making a normal mc bukkit server that students can join from home (or anywhere). 
If you don't already know about mc plugins and servers, then setting up a normal bukkit mc server that functions similar to mcedu is  A LOT of work and in the end is still not as easy to use as mcedu.   You can have a mcedu server up and running in minutes, where as if you want to set the same thing up on a bukkit server, it will take a long time to get all the plugins configured and working properly, and you still don't have the functions and ease of use like mcedu.    For a normal server there are literally 15k plugins to sort through and then you have to worry about compatibility and config of each plugin and you have to remember lots of commands (mcedu uses a very easy point and click teacher menu so you don't need to know commands or worry about permissions).    
Also, the NPC plugins for bukkit are difficult to learn and not nearly as good as the NPC mod that comes with mcedu.
(worldedit is the exact same in both though)

  It would be super awesome if mcedu's license allowed for students to install the software at home, but alas, I was informed there are no plans for this. 

And just a side note for the mcedu dev team... a few bukkit plugin functions that would be cool additions to mcedu = dynmap, towny, and iconomy.    


Mar 26, 2014, 7:27:53 AM3/26/14
Hey Brian and Jeff,

Just wanted to clarify something that Brian has said in his post.

"I'm planning on using both mc and mcedu because one limitation of mcedu is it is only allowed to be installed on computers that are at the school.  mcedu can not be installed on the students' home computers or laptops."

This is actually incorrect. It cannot be sold to students or parents, due to license agreements that have to do with the great discount on Mojang accounts you get when purchasing through Teacher Gaming. That is the limitation there.

Let's go through a scenario...

Jeff buys 25 licenses of Minecraft and the MinecraftEdu mod. He is allowed to have 25 concurrent users log into his MinecraftEdu server. If the school chooses to provide those licenses to the students to use for the class / course / quarter, they are allowed to do that. The students will not be able to own MinecraftEdu though. The licenses would still belong to the school and would need to be returned / password changed / whatever method you use to assure you are not breaking the licensing agreement.

There are several teachers on here that have MinecraftEdu servers that students can connect to outside of the school.

Also Brian, as far as I know Maize has written a great post on getting Dynamap to work with MinecraftEdu.

For the most part there is a forge mod that will have similar functionality to those you can find within Bukkit, not everything, but many. Look at forge vs bukkit as the Pepsi vs Coke debate.

Hope that helps clarify the misconception.


Mar 26, 2014, 11:36:31 AM3/26/14
Thanks for that clarification Jeff.
 What is to keep the students from not deleting mcedu after the end of term and then using it to log onto the server?   I thought the only time you needed a password was if you were going to log in as a teacher.  
Did I do something wrong in the setup if students don't have to type a password in mcedu?   What if the school had 100 students and the school bought 100 mcedu licenses.  Is the school allowed to give the copies to the students for them to use and log into the schools mcedu server from home as long as they are students at that school?  

I want to use mc to teach the children at the orphanage English and I want volunteer teachers to be able to continue to teach the children even after returning to their home countries.   Also, the idea is that the volunteer teachers will be able to use the server to connect their students (in the different countries) with the children at the center.  I figured doing this with mcedu would break the license agreement, so that is the major reason why I'm making a normal mc server.   If it doesn't break any laws, let me know.    I guess if the volunteer teachers were able to convince their schools to purchase mcedu for all their students, then it could work connecting the classes internationally using mcedu. 

What if an online school wanted to use mcedu as part of the course?  Would the online school be allowed to purchase mcedu and use an mcedu server with all the online students? 

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:51:10 AM UTC+7, Jeff Tillinghast wrote:

Diane Main

Mar 26, 2014, 2:06:19 PM3/26/14
Hi Jeff,

You've gotten a lot of great responses here form the group, and I concur with them.  I also want to put it out there that I simply would not use Minecraft in school without it being MinecraftEdu.  That is my personal preference, but it's based on 20+ years as an educator, with the last 6 or so years involving a lot of PD delivery and hearing about the wide range of experiences teachers have in their schools and districts regarding how students, parents, admin, other teachers, and the tech folks respond to trying new things.

You may have to overcome some obstacles just to be allowed to use any kind of game in your classes.  I believe that the added functionality and control of MCEdu eliminates some of those obstacles and concerns people might raise.


P.S. I use MCEdu with high school students, and we have a school server space set up so they can access our world from home.


Mar 26, 2014, 3:58:33 PM3/26/14
Hey Brian,

If you wanted to shoot me an email on my gmail account, I will gladly explain how you could go about this. I just don't want to detract from Jeff's original post. Really, he is at this time just looking for the differences and I was clarifying the misconception that kids cannot use it from home.

Jim Verhaeghe

Feb 23, 2016, 12:55:59 AM2/23/16
to Minecraft Teachers
Hey all,

I'm fairly new to the MinecraftEDU scene. I look forward to using it more effectively as a resource to teach my Intro to CS students about programming. Right now I have a dilemma that I used to use MC on Raspberry Pi to teach Python through modding. I am using Martin O'Hanlon's book "Adventures in Minecraft" ( to get students started on the right track. I've found information about a workaround using the Bukkit Servers by using Canary Mod instead. However, unlike the Pi version, with MinecraftEDU, I'm finding that students can't run the normal game and break blocks. As a matter of fact, it seems to not give them the option to create a new world to use their scripts on. Am I missing something? Is there a way to set the options for the normal version of Minecraft, launched by MinecraftEDU to allow students to generate worlds that they can destroy blocks similar to creative mode? Or do I need to install the gift-code versions for everyone so they have full access?

Any help is appreciated.
Jim (AKA Mr. V).
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