At Microsoft, our commitment to education starts with students and teachers. After all, they innovate in education every day. However, putting teachers and students first means partnering with schools to ensure the fast changing-world of technology is relevant and helpful to the instruction in the classroom.
Accessing and utilizing digital content is on the rise around the world and many schools have already begun adopting 1-to-1 environments, whether schools are providing devices or students are bringing their own. We envision modern learning experiences where each student will have a personal learning device because of the promise – and cost-effectiveness of going digital. Learning is increasingly becoming unbound. It is independent of space and time, socio-economic barriers, and physical constraints. In fact, student and teachers are more mobile than ever before. Teaching and learning must adapt to this mobile context to accelerate student engagement and success.
These are monumental industry changes. Today, students and educators need powerful devices that let them create and collaborate on projects and presentations, and consume rich, relevant content in real time – all the time – anywhere.
That’s why I’m so excited about Windows 8 for education. Simply put, Windows 8 is reimagined for learning. It arms schools and teachers with innovations designed to transform students’ learning experiences. It gives students a beautiful, modern way to consume content and allows them freedom to create, collaborate, produce, and share across a range of devices, with touch, mouse and keyboard or pen. Teachers can now use these capabilities to build their students’ 21st century skills, help them graduate and ensure they reach their potential.
Here are 8 great reasons why Windows 8 is great for education:
1. No compromises: When it comes to technology decisions, schools often have to compromise. We hear from schools that they want the form factor of a tablet, but what they really need is the power of PC to meet their educational goals. They want a device that is very secure, runs powerful software and legacy applications, allows multiple user login, long battery life, instant on and works within their budget for procurement, deployment and management of the devices. Windows 8 moves schools beyond compromise bringing together a tablet form factor with the power and flexibility of a PC. They’re no longer limited by challenges they’ve historically faced.
2. The cloud foundation: With Windows 8, we put “the cloud” at the center of the operating system so students and teachers can easily access their information, collaboration and productivity tools. SkyDrive and Office 365 for education are central to the Windows 8 experience. This offers a flexible, anywhere, anytime learning experience across a range of different devices, both in and out of the classroom.
3. It saves time and money and safeguards kids: Windows 8 reduces ongoing management costs and provides enterprise-grade security and reliability. Beyond protecting your devices and your data, Windows 8 provides facilities to protect your students online and offline with Do Not Track on by default and group policy. In addition, Windows 8 offers enhanced parental controls and a ‘Family Safety Activity Report’ so parents have insight into their child’s computer activity.
4. Accessibility plus: Windows 8 is optimized for a first-class touch experience, but equally comfortable with keyboard and mouse or pen. In addition, there are many assistive technologies build in such as handwriting recognition with digital ink, speech and gesture tracking.
5. Real productivity: Windows 8 makes it possible for students or teachers to be as productive as they need. Imagine simultaneously watching a video while taking notes in OneNote, or the possibility of searching across an OS, the web and the cloud at once, while aggregating all findings in one place – it’s now possible and easy. With split screen technology and easy switching between apps, multitasking is taken to a whole new level.
7. Connected classrooms and mobile learning: With Windows To Go students can pack up entire desktops and bring it along on a small bootable USB drive wherever they go. And mobile broadband is being built-in more devices every day. No more searching and connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots. Windows 8 does it automatically, whether from the school bus, home or a relative’s house.
8. It’s cool, fast and fluid: Students will respond to it and teachers will find it easy and intuitive. It’s powerful yet fun, beautiful and simple.
At Microsoft, we believe that technology must be in service to each student’s unique journey for learning and life. Also, it has to serve teachers and administrators as they guide their students. It’s because of this belief that our technology, our partners, our ecosystem, and our people, are in service of that reality in our classrooms today. Windows 8 is an extension of that mission, and a huge step forward – serving those heroes in learning.
This week, we are at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference, one of the U.S.’s premier gatherings for higher education IT professionals and introducing Windows 8. Check out U.S. Education Chief Technology Officer Cameron Evan’s blog for more on how we believe Windows 8 will help reimagine learning and digital content.