Guest post by Helen Gooch, a Microsoft Fellow, working with schools across the United States to drive student achievement and effectively use technology. Helen remains a lifelong learner with a love of travel and meeting new people.
Schools are back in session for another great year. As always, the new school year brings with it new students, new textbooks, and many new teachers entering the workforce. This year, it also brings a revolutionary new way to help you succeed.
While some districts are moving to Windows 8.1 with new tablets and laptops, or holding onto Windows 7 for one more year, many schools are making the move to Windows 10.
This new operating system is not only the best version of Windows, it is the student- and teacher-friendly operating system. Best of all? It's free! Individuals and schools can now upgrade devices to Windows 10 at no cost, and schools with volume licensing may qualify for the new student use benefit to get Windows 10 Education for all their students.
Whether your district is holding off until next year for Windows 10 or you are ready today, now is a great time to learn what is in store for you and your students when you do make the move.
Seven Things Teachers Need to Know About Windows 10
1. Familiar interface, on-demand functionality
The Windows 10 interface is very similar to Windows 7, so your learning curve is small. It's the amazing new features that make this operating system the best ever.
The first time you log in to Windows 10, look for the Get Started app, located in the bottom right corner of your task bar. Here you will find everything from Settings, Multiple Modalities, Cortana, Sharing, Multiple Desktops and more. And just like in Windows 8.1, you'll have fast access to the apps you use most often — just pin them to the Start Screen. This app is always on demand for you, and it is your one-stop entry point to making the most of Windows 10.
2. Optimized for you and your students
Each option in the Get Started app puts you that much closer to making the device work for you. Settings is still the place for you to personalize your device to meet your needs. You can change your desktop theme, personalize your lock screen or change your desktop background and colors.
Now more than ever, Multiple Modalities help you tap into the learning style of every student. You can use your tablet with a keyboard, or use touch or pen input to make learning more kinesthetic
3. Windows 10 precision touch pad gestures make it easy
Scroll: Place two fingers on the touchpad and slide horizontally or vertically.
Zoom in or out: Place two fingers on the touchpad and pinch in or stretch out.
See all open windows: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe them away from you.
Show Task view: If you're viewing all open windows (from the step above), swipe up again with three fingers.
Show the desktop: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe them towards yourself.
Switch between open windows: Place three fingers on the touchpad and swipe right or left.
Cortana/Action Center: Tap the touchpad with three fingers.
4. Meet your new assistant
Every teacher needs an assistant, and Cortana is ready to learn how to help you get things done. How many times in a day do you scribble reminders on a post-it note, send your self an email to remember to do something, or even leave yourself a voice mail reminding yourself to take home the papers to grade? Cortana can help do these tasks and many more. Just as you learn how Cortana functions, Cortana is always busy learning more about you so she can better assist you.
5. Collaboration made simple
Sharing is also located in the Get Started app. From here, you can sync your OneDrive to your PC, find your files, move files onto your phone and tablet, and back up or restore your files. Sharing functionality is present throughout the product, making collaboration easier than ever.
6. Switch tasks quickly and easily
Have you ever had to close your gradebook or email because you were using your teacher device to instruct? With Windows 10 you can now have Multiple Desktops. Place your email, gradebook, or other "for your eyes only" applications on one desktop, and instantly switch to a student-friendly desktop containing websites or documents you plan to use in class.
7. Better browsing
The amazing new Microsoft Edge browser brings back your searches and web pages in a clean, crisp environment with the new READ feature, which focuses on content with all distractors removed. You can also annotate directly on the search page and share your notes with others through email, reading list, OneNote and more.
Find more time in your day
Educators always identify time as one thing they always need more of. With Windows 10's new features, you are saving seconds every time you use your device. Seconds mount up quickly!