Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and his teams at Microsoft held an event today focused on the education market and how Microsoft is working to support students, teachers and administrators worldwide with Microsoft Windows, Office and other software. In this post I will recap some of the high points. The event was broadcast virtually at –
The event can be summed up in their headline statement:
Empowering the students of today to create the world of tomorrow.
Windows 10 S
Windows 10 S is a “streamlined” version of Windows with great performance on all Windows hardware from the beefiest machines to budget hardware with lesser specs. The boot/setup time for a new user is guaranteed to be 5 seconds or less so educators can start teaching faster. Terry Myerson also guaranteed the performance of Windows machines will be the same on the first day of school as the last day.
To ensure a higher level of security, Windows 10 S only allows installing applications from the Windows Store. If non-store apps are required, the Windows version can be updated to the Pro edition. Further, USB sticks can be used to create a setup profile and install it on a whole classroom of machines quickly and easily.
New budget hardware will be available starting at $189 specifically tailored for Windows 10 S. These machines will also come with a FREE 1 year subscription to Minecraft Education Edition, Office 365 education and Intune for administrators.
All of this will be available this summer in time for the upcoming school year.
Microsoft Teams is adding new classroom experiences focused on communication/collaboration between students, teachers and administrators. Members can share documents, notes, Skype and chat in a conversational view. This provides the archive of the conversation for students to catchup after being out sick or for students joining the class mid year.
Teams also provides Apps that can extend the communication tool further similar to Office 365 Apps.
You also get rich integrations with the Office suite of applications. For example, collaborating on Word or PowerPoint documents and share updates in Teams.
Lessons can also be recorded (including interactions in the UI) allowing student to replay them later for re-review or to catchup on a missed lesson.
These new features are available now in private preview and will be generally available this Summer.
CodeBuilder is a new extension for Minecraft Education Edition that helps teach kids how to code in an integrated, fun and engaging way. It integrates with existing tools like Tynker and others.
The goal of which is to inspire all kids regardless of gender to learn how to code and create the future.
You can try a beta of CodeBuilder with the free education version of Minecraft. Find more details at –
3D in the Classroom
Paint3D is a free tool in Windows 10 to create 3D objects.
This fall PowerPoint will add support for inserting 3D models from Paint3d in your slide decks.
View Mixed Reality is a new feature in Windows 10 allowing you to view 3D objects in augmented in reality through a laptop screen and any RGB webcam. Allowing students to see the real-world scale of objects throw the viewer in their world.
Microsoft is also working with content producers like Pearson to make 3D/VR/AR content available to the classroom.
They also announced new mixed reality headsets are coming this holiday season starting at $299 to further support the viewing of 3D content.
Promising a 4 year lifetime to match a students career, the Surface Laptop is the newest member to the Surface line.
Available in 4 colors: Burgundy, Cobalt Blue, Graphite Gold and Platinum.
As far as dimensions it’s thin and light at 2.6 lbs and less than 14.5 MM thickness. The screen is a 13.5 inch PixelSense touch display with 3.4 million pixels at a 3:2 ratio. Which, according to Microsoft, makes it the
“thinnest LCD touch module in a laptop form”
Regarding performance, it has a 7th generation Intel i5/I7 CPU, up to a 1 terrabyte integrated SSD on the motherboard and . This design yields up to 14.5 hours of battery life. Which means its 50% faster and has more battery life than the MacBook Air.
Dolby Premium Audio and fabric inner shell round out the design to make it feel and sounds great too.
You can preorder the Surface Laptop today starting at $999 for the I5 model and delivery on June 15.
So in summary, lots of great software and hardware news from Microsoft today. It so exciting to be a Microsoft fan these days.
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