Minecraft comes in many flavours on a variety of devices. If you are unsure of which version you are running, you can take a quick look here for some guidance. (Note that this guide does not currently extend to console editions (Xbox, Playstation, WiiU) and only reflects computer and tablet versions typically available in schools.
The following five versions are ordered from the most fully-featured on down. In all instances, you can look for a version number in the lower corner of the main Minecraft screen.
I am using a #tag system to promote clarity about the version under discussion, and each version below is tagged accordingly.
- The original, java-based version of Minecraft is the most developed, with the greatest number of features and extensibility. It has an extensive modding community, and a significant base of support online. These versions of Minecraft can connect peer-to-peer or to server-hosted worlds on a LAN, WAN, or external server, as well as Mojang’s Realms. Accounts are handled through Mojang or via the teacher’s MinecraftEDU console.
- Versions for Windows 10 (in beta) and Education Edition are based on the Minecraft PE (Pocket Edition) code base. These versions of Minecraft cannot be modded. These versions can connect via a peer-to-peer networking over W-Fi or LAN. Although there are third-party servers available for MinecraftPE, Minecraft Windows 10 beta and Education Edition are recent developments and there are no server solutions currently known. Accounts are authenticated via XboxLIVE or Office365.
Most Recent Information?
This guide was last updated in November, 2016. For the latest information, check the Minecraft entry on gamepedia.com. UPDATE: Version numbers in the image captions above were updated in December, 2016.