Microsoft made a few announcements at their #MicrosoftEDU Event, including a cloud-based version of Windows 10, Microsoft Teams for classrooms and the Surface Laptop.
Windows 10 S
Microsoft has introduced a new version of Windows, called Windows 10 S, it’s designed for classrooms and as Microsoft’s answer to Google’s Chrome OS. Windows 10 S simplifies Windows for low-end devices.
Applications that teachers and students download from the Windows Store will be first verified for security and then locally run in a safe “container”, to make sure that performance is consistent. With Windows 10 S, you can expect fast login times and consistent performance.
Microsoft’s Slack competitor, Teams will be coming to the classroom with Windows 10 S, as part of the free Office 365 for Education that’s included. Teams has integration with OneNote Class Notebooks for better collaborations and teachers can easily distribute course content, grades, personalize learning and communicate with students, parents and staff.
There is also a Set Up School PC app in the Windows Store, which can help set up an entire classroom of devices with customized experiences via a USB stick. Each device can be setup in as little as 30 seconds per device.
Microsoft has also announced Intune for Education, which is a complete end-to-end solution for teachers and schools to configure and manage their students’ PCs. Intune for Education is available today as a free trial.
Devices running Windows 10 S will start at $189 USD from existing PC manufacturers such as Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba. These new devices will start releasing in the coming months.
Windows 10 S will be free for all schools on their current Windows Pro PCs. Schools will also get free Microsoft Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams as well as a one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition.
Microsoft has introduced another computer to it Surface lineup with the Surface Laptop. The new laptop is being powered by Windows 10 S and its as if Microsoft made their own Google Chromebook Pixel.
The Surface Laptop has up to 14.5 hours of battery life, a 13.5-inch PixelSense screen and is running the 7th Gen Intel core processor and weighs only 2.76lbs and is 14.47mm at its thickest point. The keyboard is covered in Alcantara material and is made to feel responsive while also feeling comfortable to type on. There is also a large trackpad and a soft palm rest.
The Surface Laptop comes in four colours, Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and Graphite Gold and starts at $999 USD, which gets you an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The Surface Laptop is available for pre-order in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom and will be available starting June 15th.
The laptop will be coming to Canada, China and more countries later this year.
Windows Mixed Reality and 3D
Microsoft will also be bringing their Windows Mixed Reality platform to classrooms with a partnership with Pearson education. Pearson will be integrating 3D and mixed reality into secondary and university level curriculum.
By the 2018 school year, Pearson will offer curriculum in health, commerce, history and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) on Windows Mixed Reality devices. Microsoft also announced that they will be bringing a new feature, View Mixed Reality to Windows 10 this fall. The new feature will allow users to see 3D content through your screen in the real world using a simple RGB camera.
Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition
Microsoft has introduced Code Builder for the education version of Minecraft. It is designed to teach students the basics and the power of coding by combining Minecraft with code platforms such as Tynker, ScratchX and Microsoft’s new open source platform, MakeCode.
You can find out more about Code Builder on the Minecraft Education Blog. A one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition will be included with new Windows 10 education PCs.
STEM Saturdays at Microsoft Store
Starting May 6th, Microsoft Store the US, Canada, Puerto Rice and Australia will host STEM Saturdays throughout the month of May. STEM Saturdays will bring pop-up classroom to Microsoft Store and offer hands-on experiences like building a sensor that measures the flexion and extension of a finger to learn about the anatomy of the human hand.
There will also be a range of free programs year-round to help empower students and educators.