This week, Microsoft is targeting a number of new education-focused releases. Among the new services is Intune for Education, which the company has discussed on a Windows blog post today. The release is part of Microsoft’s presence at the BETT Conference, the biggest global education exhibit, in London this week.
Classrooms are no longer the preserve of the pen and paper. Students are now learning with devices and educators are teaching with technology. To help spur Windows 10 in the classroom, Microsoft has announced new laptop hardware. Built by Windows partner OEMs, the devices are affordable ($189) and are putting a target on Google’s Chromebook devices.
With the new laptops and Intune for Education for device management, Microsoft believes it covers all bases for how devices are used in the classroom.
Intune for Education
As the name suggests, the new service is an expansion of Microsoft’s existing Intune solution, but with an education twist. If you are unfamiliar, Intune is cloud-based mobile device management service. Among the features of the service are mobile application management, and PC management.
In terms of Intune for Education, Microsoft has created a cloud-based application and device management service. The platform allows educators to setup and manage apps and devices in a shared learning environment.
The company points out that over 90 percent of schools now used a shared device environment. Managing these devices is important, especially as most schools lack a dedicated tech support department. This means teachers need an easy solution for setting up and managing devices.
Intune for Education comes with baked in default settings for quickly setting up devices. Educators can manage 150 core settings and apply them across hardware for all students. These granular settings can be customized for apps, browsers, Windows Defender, and more. Importantly, the settings work across devices with a single account sign in. Apps for the Windows Store for Business can also be synced across devices.
New Windows 10 Laptops
Microsoft partner OEMs Acer, HP, and Lenovo have all launched new laptops that are focused on appealing to students. However, considering their affordability, starting at $189, the laptops will also appeal to any user wanting Windows 10 on a budget.
Google has had this extreme entry-level market to itself for the most part. Chromebooks have offered an affordable way to get basic computing kicks with a light OS running the show. However, Chrome and Chromebooks have limitations compared to the full PC potential of Windows 10. The following new laptops are a real threat to the Chromebook idea:
Acer’s TravelMate Spin B118 Convertible Notebook
“The new 11.6-inch convertible notebook with a 360° hinge is sized for easy portability with a starting price of $299. It features four usage modes, Windows 10 Pro with a stylus to support Windows Ink, and a robust design made for the classroom that includes a pressure-resistant screen, shock-absorbent rubber bumper and spill-resistant keyboard. With up to 13 hours of battery life, students can easily power through a full day of school.”
Lenovo N24 with pen support
“Lenovo is pleased to announce a new Lenovo N24 featuring Windows 10 and newly added support for Windows Ink. We partnered with Lenovo to deliver this innovative device, designed for education. The N24 convertible notebook will offer an 11.6-inch IPS display with 360-degree screen rotation giving multimode capability, 10-point touch and an Active Pen with pen holder. The Lenovo N24 is expected to be available mid-2017.”
JP.IK Introduces new Windows 10 PC For Emerging Markets
“JP.IK – one of the world’s largest distributors of devices for education – is announcing the TURN T201 PC for Windows 10. Designed for students between 12 and 18 years old, TURN T201 is a 360-degree convertible PC featuring an active stylus pen with pen holder enabling Windows Ink. It has preloaded Inspiring Knowledge Education Software, which enables teachers and students to work together, a Microlens that works as a microscope for science tasks and a Thermal Probe that detects temperature fluctuations. It also has a retractable handle, which makes it easier to carry around and less likely to be dropped.”