This holiday season, teachers and IT professionals will be enjoying some much needed time off. But, we know your 2016 planning doesn’t stop, not even over the holidays. So we’ve prepared some extra holiday reading material, focused on one of the biggest questions for schools: should you upgrade to Windows 10?
Read on to see how Windows 10 Education is transforming the classroom.
Teaching and learning, re-invented
Let’s face it, in today’s modern world, every business is a technology business. And even though academic institutions are not always early adopters of new technology, K-12 schools are just as primed for digital disruption as any other industry.
With Windows 10, teachers and students will find a platform that paves the way for this oncoming disruption. And here’s why:
For one, it offers a converged and immersive platform for learning. This means your students will be familiar with it and will grow with it. You’ll find a suite of learning apps and Windows 10 devices suitable for all ages, from Kindergarten to Grade 12. It also gives teachers more powerful tools than ever before to engage students, and promote a new kind of learning – one that is based on collaboration and caters to multiple learning styles.
A highlight of Windows 10 is the premier inking experience provided across devices and applications. Students who are kinetic learners can easily mark-up webpages using Microsoft Edge, or take notes using the split screen functionality.
New research is confirming just how important it is to cater to different learning styles, and how different interfaces can help or hinder a student’s comprehension of information. A study by Professor Sharon Oviatt from Incaa Designs found that when solving science problems, students who drew diagrams using a digital pen, in an application like OneNote, scored 25%-36% higher than those who only used a keyboard.
A re-imagined version of Windows
It’s not just the educational side of things getting a makeover, but the entire way of getting work done. Upgrading to Windows 10 unleashes powerful new productivity features you can’t get with older OS versions.
Some of the most significant improvements with Windows 10 are around performance, interactivity and UI features. It comes with faster boot up times and web-browser speeds than ever before. There’s new built in security, AI and facial recognition software with Cortana and Windows Hello. And as mentioned, it caters to all working styles, with voice, keyboard, pen and touch capabilities; as well as the return of the familiar Start Menu.
Affordable hardware to fit your budget
Few industries are more budget conscious than education. Microsoft has listened and adapted its offering to suit the unique needs of schools. Windows 10 now comes pre-loaded on many new devices, giving you the opportunity to revolutionize the classroom, without breaking the bank.
Here’s a chart of the top nine devices we recommend for K-12, starting at just CA$239.
Softchoice has a lot more budget-friendly device suggestions for schools. For more info, or to request a quote, connect with our Education Team.
New licensing option: Windows 10 Education
On top of great hardware selections, Microsoft is also bringing a new generation of licensing options for education. Academic institutions now have their very own Windows edition called Windows 10 Education. It includes all of the functionality of the Enterprise edition, while allowing in-place upgrades from Windows 10 Home or Pro.
Windows 10 Education provides enterprise-grade features to address the advanced security, device control and management needs of schools. Deployment has been simplified, with a direct path to upgrade devices from Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro without the need to wipe and reload the OS.
Windows 10 Education is available through academic volume licensing, under two different program types; subscription and perpetual. Further details can be found in our Windows 10 Guide for Education.
One of the most significant changes with Windows 10 is the way new features and bug fixes will be delivered. Through a new approach called “Windows-as-a-Service” Microsoft will release more regular updates, without the need for hefty Service Packs. These updates will happen regularly, with the option to receive them automatically, or intermittently, to better align with your school’s needs (e.g. over the Summer Holidays when students and teachers will not be disrupted by updates).
Deployment options and assistance
There are a number of factors to consider prior to your Windows 10 upgrade:
- Readiness: First, it’s essential to know if your environment is ready to upgrade. We recommend using Microsoft’s Assessment and Planning Toolkit to get started. It assesses your current IT infrastructure, and provides a powerful inventory, assessment and reporting tool to simplify the migration planning process.
- Deployment options: There are three basic deployment approaches, all of which have different implications:
– Wipe and Load (traditional approach)
– In-Place Upgrade (recommended for Windows 7, 8, 8.1 devices)
– Provisioning (configuring new devices)
Download our guide for more details on which tools to use for each.
- Training and resources for teachers: There are many resources available to help teachers get ready for Windows 10. The Microsoft Educator Community currently helps over 1.5 million teachers worldwide with quick tip videos, online courses, free lesson plans, and more.
Download the Guide
Our new Windows 10 Guide for Education is a must read for education professionals thinking about Windows 10. Take a closer look at the new features, best licensing options and deployment strategy for your school.