Willis Independent School District has a high percentage of students from low-income households. These students do not have easy access to technology such as computers at home, so it is important that they have the resources to prepare for college and the workforce in the 21st century.
Willis chose the ASUS Transformer Book T100 laptop/tablet hybrid for their students. They had also looked at Chromebooks – which are becoming popular in schools in their own right – but ultimately thought they were too limiting. Also students were used to software such as Word and Excel, and that became an issue with Chromebooks.
Deborah, the Director of Technology at Willis chose the T100s because they’d “gone from the stage of needing a big, powerful computer to needing something that’s more simple.” The T100 comes with a 10.1 touch screen that can be disconnected from the keyboard, Intel Atom processors, 2 GB memory, 64 GB storage, 1 USB 3.0 port, and Windows 8.1 (not RT). This sure fits the bill for flexibility and simplicity.
In London, Twickenham Academy also chose Microsoft software, but also hardware, in the form of the Surface. Twickenham, a Microsoft Showcase School (schools Microsoft recognizes as a leader in changing the education system), has provided students with Surface devices. Twickenham is using the Surface to let students have a more personalized learning experience in terms of pace, and location where they study.
Google got a heard start in schools with their Chromebooks as they took care to cater to them specifically. However, their hardware and software falls short in various situations that Window or even Mac computers do not. One example is a computer science class. You could not effectively learn Python or C++ on a Chromebook, and as Computer Science becomes ever more popular, it will start being taught in lower education – in fact, Microsoft Research has already started to work on this.
Image credit: TechnetFurther reading: Chromebook, Microsoft, Windows