My GamingEdus colleagues and I like to talk about Minecraft at different conferences and board events. I just spoke about our TLLP (Teacher Learning and Leadership Program) Minecraft project at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference (on January 30, 2015). I noticed that a common audience question has to do with finances. How do schools pay for Minecraft? What are the costs involved? Hopefully this post will help answer some of those questions.

What costs are involved with using Minecraft?

a) Minecraft accounts. The great thing is that, unlike MMOs like World of Warcraft, you do not have to pay a monthly subscription fee. Once you buy an account, it’s yours, updates included.

b) Server space. We are fortunate that Ryerson University covers this for GamingEdus because it believes in the GamingEdus philosophy. There are public open servers, but they are not always “school safe”.

c) Devices to play on. It can be iPads (for Pocket Edition), laptops, or desktop computers. Minecraft cannot be played on Chromebooks. Thankfully, most schools do not have to buy technology specifically to play Minecraft; they can use the existing tools already at school.

How do schools / teachers fund Minecraft?

1) Buy your own accounts, protect the passwords, and reuse them year after year. (This is what Denise Colby, Liam O’Donnell and I initially did. I got my money’s worth out of it, but I can understand why some would balk at this move.)
2) Have students use their own accounts (but there’s that equity piece – what if kids can’t afford it?)
3) Have the school pay for a few accounts, protect the passwords, and reuse. (You can also buy a few accounts and have the kids share or take turns – e.g. on Monday, Steve uses the “MegaPlayer1” account and on Tuesday, Alex uses “MegaPlayer1”)
4) Find a grant to help pay. (We got a Ministry of Education TLLP grant and used some of the money to buy some more accounts.)
5) Use Minecraft EDU, which creates many student accounts.
6) Try a combination of these ideas.
When you buy accounts through Minecraft EDU, you get an educator discount. This video on our website can show you how.