Educators and Students are Choosing Surface and Changing the Classroom

This week, members of the Surface team are working alongside global leaders in education at the BETT Show in London. We’ll be speaking with Educators, Students, IT Professionals, Administrators and Policy Makers about tablets in Education and how Surface can help. We’re encouraged by the response we’ve seen from schools, but we know that this is a journey that we’ve just started and we remain focused on helping solve our customers’ problems.

Tablets in the classroom is one of the biggest trends in education today – many schools are in the midst of implementing a “1-device-per-student”-type project, and many teachers are incorporating technology in new and innovative ways into their lesson plans.  If you visit your local school, you’ll see that 3rd Grade has changed a lot since you were there!  And over the past year, we’ve seen that Surface adoption in education has continued to grow and have a positive impact on the way students learn and prepare for their futures. We believe the reason Surface has been chosen by so many schools is that it enables educators and students to teach and learn in new ways. Allowing them to be more productive, more mobile and deliver real outcomes. Schools such as the Supreme Education Council of Qatar, Tuckahoe School District in New York, St. Thomas School and the Puyallup School District in Washington, Fursund Skole in Denmark, and St Mary’s College in Northern Ireland are just a few examples.

Students at Fursund Skole with their Surface RT

We’re thrilled to highlight two schools who have chosen Surface for their students, educators and school leaders – St. Patrick’s College in London and Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts.

St Patrick’s College in London offers industry-standard vocational coursework to a diverse population of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and their mission is to prepare their students for career success.  As part of this mission, they decided to provide second-year students with Microsoft Surface, which comes pre-loaded with Office.  A recent study found Microsoft Office applications rank #3 in a list of the top 20 in-demand skills for high-growth and high-pay careers, so they knew their students would be learning skills that could help them with their careers. Surface with Windows and Office RT is helping St Patrick’s College provide a real-world technology experience for their students allowing them to make the transition from the classroom to the workplace with confidence. Due to the success of the Surface rollout, the London School of Business & Finance Alliance Cooperation, of which St Patrick’s College is a member, has purchased 10,000 Surface RT tablets to be deployed to students at other member universities. Vicente Fraser, Chief Information Officer of LSBF believes, “There is a big shift toward mobile and tablet computing, and educational institutions like ours have to be at the front of that trend.”

Williston Northampton School in Massachusetts was looking for a device for their 1:1 computing initiative for a few years, but hadn’t found anything they thought was versatile enough to be used across subjects and grades, and intuitive enough to be adopted in a deep and meaningful way by both teachers and students… until they found the Surface Pro. They decided to equip all 700 of their students and faculty with a Surface Pro tablet and Office 365. Since the deployment last fall, Surface has become a part of academic life at Williston. From working together on group projects in PowerPoint, using shared OneNote Notebooks for student – teacher collaboration, or posting multi-media homework assignments, they have seen how using Surface and Office 365 has fostered more real-time interaction and collaborative learning between students and teachers – bringing down the walls of their classrooms and making Anytime, Anywhere Learning a reality.

Accessories will help support tablets as part of the learning process

We’ve already gotten a lot of great feedback from schools and educators who tell us that the tablet itself is one piece of the puzzle, and that we really need to think holistically about the design of the classroom and the accessories needed to support tablets as part of the learning process. We have some great Designed For Surface accessory partners who have solutions which work really well for the classroom, such as the Anthro charging carts, and Incipio Feather cases.

But we would like more. So that’s why we asked you for your ideas to Imagine the Classroom of the Future by submitting your ideas for Surface accessories in Education through the Surface Classroom Design Challenge. We had over 200 amazingly innovative ideas, and over the past week the community voted for their top 10 ideas. A panel of judges will decide the grand prize winner who will receive a Classroom of Surfaces to donate to the school of their choice. Be sure to check back to see the winning submission on January 27.

We are so excited to see Surface helping improve Education, and helping give the next generation the skills they’ll need to succeed in this increasingly technology-based global workforce. If you have suggestions or other examples of how Surface can help in Education, please let us know – we would love to hear from you here or on the Microsoft in Education blog.

Cyril Belikoff
Director, Surface