Microsoft Debuts Surface Laptops, Windows 10 S for Education, Teams for Office 365 for Education
Microsoft has unveiled several new offerings for education, including the forthcoming Surface Laptop and a new version of Windows 10 designed for school environments — Windows 10 S.
Surface Laptop and Windows 10 S
The Surface Laptop, which sports a touch-sensitive, 13.5-inch PixelSense display (201 PPI pixel density with a resolution of 2,256 x 1,504), starts at $999 (with a Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD) and runs up to $2,199 (with an i7 processor, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB SSD).
The Microsoft Surface Laptop is available now for preorder (shown here with the latest Arc Touch Mouse).
The devices will run Windows 10 S, a new version of the Windows 10 operating system designed specifically for education. The new OS is designed with security in mind. Software can be installed only from the Windows Store, and apps run in a "safe container," as Microsoft explained it, "ensuring consistent performance of the system. In the classroom, this ensures fast login times and consistent performance, enabling everyone in the classroom to start learning quickly, and stay focused without distraction."
Windows 10 S uses Edge as the default browser, which cannot be changed. Although any browser that's available in the Windows Store can be used, the default will always remain Edge.
It's worth noting that, while Edge offers accessibility features, other accessibility apps that are not available through the Windows Store will not work on devices running Windows 10 S, according to a Windows 10 S FAQ published by Microsoft. (A list of Windows accessibility features can be found on Microsoft's site.)
For those who purchase the Surface Laptop with Windows 10 S, Microsoft is offering a free swap for Windows 10 Pro through the end of the year.
The Surface Laptop is expected to ship by June 15.
New Windows 10 S Education Devices from Microsoft Partners
Along with the Surface Laptop, Microsoft announced forthcoming Windows 10 S devices from its partners, including Acer, Toshiba, Samsung, ASUS, Dell, HP and Fujitsu. Microsoft offered few details about the devices except to say they would start at $189 and that in the coming months a wide range of devices, including some premium models, would be unveiled.
Teams Adds Education Features
Microsoft also announced additional features for Teams, its group collaboration tool for Office 365, that are designed to make "Teams in Office 365 for Education the digital hub for teachers and students." Those features include:
- The ability to "create classes with automatically populated student rosters from ... school information system," according to Microsoft;
- File sharing;
- The ability to create sub-groups within a class (for group projects, for example);
- Quiz creation, distribution and grading;
- The ability to create, distribute, collect and grade assignments;
- Support for OneNote Class Notebooks; and
- New integrations with "busuu, Canvas, Flipgrid and Kahoot."
The new features for Teams are in limited preview now and will be widely available this summer. More details about Teams for Office 365 Education can be found on Microsoft's site.