Rural, Low-Income School District Chooses Affordable Windows Device to Empower Students and Prepare them for the Future


Students heading back to school in the next few weeks will be graduating into a very different world from that of their parents and teachers – one where technology is woven into every aspect of college and work life. And today's digital natives are keenly aware that the right kind of education can set them on the right course for life.

"Kids are always very interested in 'How does this apply to me?' and 'Where does this fit in real world?' and it's a no-brainer to me that the biggest hook is technology," says Tim Harkrider, Superintendent of Willis Independent School District in Texas.

At Willis ISD, as with many school districts, a high percentage of students live in low income households, where technology isn't easily accessible. The technology available at school has even more importance as students prepare to enter the 21st century world of college and the workforce. "We've gone from the stage of needing a big, powerful computer to needing something that's more simple," says Deborah Menefee, Director of Technology at Willis. Willis ISD chose ASUS Transformer Book T100 tablets, equipped with Windows 8.1 for their flexibility, portability, and security.

"We did look at Chromebooks," adds Menefee. "[And] we did not like the restrictions. It is a totally different atmosphere. They want to know where Word is or where Excel is because that's what they're used to using."

When it comes to finding the right device for your school or classroom, Microsoft provides the resources schools need to both consume and create content. With our offering, schools don't need to sacrifice or compromise their needs due to cost.

At Twickenham Academy in London, a Microsoft Showcase School, choosing the right device was about harnessing the power of technology to allow students to learn at their own pace, anywhere and at anytime. "We're actually creating is a situation where students are using the technology, the tools that they'll actually be expected to use in the workplace now and in the future," says Dwayne Philip, Assistant Principal at Twickenham Academy.

"When we were choosing which device, we couldn't think of a better device than the Surface," adds Philip.

And what about the students? For Brendan Hellweg, a senior at Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts, his Surface has changed the way he uses technology. "It's such a convenient tool, but at the same time it has so much utility, so many different functions, that it's more than just a tablet," says Hellweg. "It's a great combination and I've loved using it."

While every school and classroom has its own unique needs, providing students with every possible advantage to succeed is universal. "I want to be able to show them that the world they're going into is all about computers," say Joe Barbara, English Teacher at Willis High School. "There isn't a job that's going to ask you for your penmanship, and I want them prepared for that. The best way to do that, I think, is to put that in their hands now and let them start that process."

For More Information

Finding the right Windows 8 device is a key part of empowering education in classrooms. Visit Microsoft in Education for more information on which products may be best for your school or classroom, and for product specials for teachers and students. Compare Windows 8 devices to iPads and to Chromebooks.

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