Microsoft held an event today (May 2nd) talking aobut the future of its presence in the world of education, and it had a lot to cover. The future of Minecraft Education Edition, a brand new version of Windows 10, and even a new Surface device were unveiled there. Let's get started with the recap.
Windows 10 S
Windows 10 S is one of the most significant things to come out of the May 2nd event, showing off a brand new way to experience Windows 10. Known previously as Windows 10 Cloud, this is a version of Windows 10 that's going to be aimed towards school computers that IT departments want to keep clean, fast, and secure. Machines running Windows 10 S will only be able to run apps from the Windows Store, and should run very quickly as a result. You can see Windows 10 S in action in our hands-on video, here.
Windows 10 S offers Windows 10 Education PCs for educators
On top of releasing Windows 10 S for schools that want to secure their computers, Microsoft is offering an inexpensive option for schools that want to buy in. Purchasing one of Microsoft's new "Windows 10 education PCs" will run you just $189 - a price point that's going to look great for schools that are tempted to get on board with Windows 10 S.
Microsoft Teams and Office 365 for Education
If a school decides to pick up Microsoft's new education PCs, they'll have access to Microsoft Teams and Office 365 as a result. Being some of Microsoft's best software packages for collaboration and sharing, these will have a huge impact on school environments once administrative teams start to adopt them en masse, and both Office 365 and Microsoft Teams will be free for educational use once a school has been accredited by Microsoft.
Minecraft for Education
Minecraft Education Edition is one of the most interesting developments in digital education, using Minecraft to help promote problem solving and creativity, as well as offering kids a platform to get their first taste of computer science and coding. Minecraft Education Edition subscriptions will come free with Windows 10 Education PCs.
Code Builder for Minecraft Education Edition
Code Builder is the newest addition to Minecraft Education Edition, and is already in its beta phase for adventurous educators who want to try out the next frontier of digital education. Code Builder is exactly what it sounds like: A tool in Minecraft Education Edition specifically geared towards teaching students about coding, a subject that's currently sorely overlooked in schools.
New 3D possibilities with View Mixed Reality
3D is one of Microsoft's huge focus moving forward, and their mixed reality ambitions fit that plan like a glove. View Mixed Reality is a feature coming to Windows 10 and Windows 10 S PC's in the near future, and it's going to be focused on offering users a new appreciation of 3D models, and let people show off to-scale models for education and commercial purposes.
Microsoft announced the Surface Laptop to wrap up its event today, showing a new direction to expand the Surface line of products with. The laptop isn't dissimilar to the Surface Book - it's a device that performs much of the same functions with comparable hardware, but sacrifices the two-in-one functionality to be a more traditional laptop. The Surface Laptop will be shipping with Windows 10 S (with a free limited-time optional upgrade to Pro), and will cost you $999 at it's basic configuration of 4GB RAM/128GB SSD/Core i5, with prices going up from there.
Microsoft also introduced a new Surface Arc Mouse, although Panos Panay, a little pressed for time with his gushing over the Surface Laptop, never mentioned it onstage.
What was your favorite part of the event? The education news? The future of mixed reality? The Surface Laptop? We'd love to hear what you have to say. With Windows 10 S on the horizon and many Microsoft fans sharing mixed opinions, now is a great time to get involved in the discussion.