We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of This Week on Windows where we shared highlights from our #MicrosoftEDU event in New York City. At the event, we shared a lot of exciting news about Microsoft Education. If you missed the keynote, you can watch it here on-demand.
Here are highlights from the event:
Empowering students and teachers of today to create the world of tomorrow
We introduced a set of educational products and services, inspired by teachers and students, including a new Windows experience called Windows 10 S; new experiences in Microsoft Teams for modern classroom collaboration; new features in Minecraft: Education Edition to teach coding ; 3D and mixed reality tools to spark creativity; a range of Windows 10 S PCs for K-12 classrooms; and the perfect Windows 10 S device for college students—Surface Laptop.
Modern classroom collaboration with Office 365 for Education
New classroom experiences in Microsoft Teams take collaboration to a whole new level – and make Teams the digital hub for teachers and students. Together with OneNote Class Notebooks and new assignment and quiz experiences, teachers can easily distribute content, grade work, personalize learning, and communicate with students, parents, and staff. To learn more about the new classroom experiences in Teams, visit the Office Blog.
Introducing Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition
We announced Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition, designed to inspire students to learn the basics and the power of coding by combining the open worlds of Minecraft with popular learn-to-code platforms such as Tynker, ScratchX and a new open source platform from Microsoft called MakeCode. To learn more about Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition visit, the Minecraft Education Blog.
Introducing Surface Laptop powered by Windows 10 S – and available for pre-order
Bringing 3D andWindows MixedReality experiences to the classroom to spark creativity
We announced a new strategic partnership with Pearson, one of the largest education companies in the world, who is working to integrate 3D and mixed reality into their secondary and university level curriculum. By the 2018 school year, Pearson will offer curriculum in health, commerce, history, and STEM, on all Windows Mixed Reality devices. In addition, we announced a new feature coming to Windows 10 this fall, called View Mixed Reality. This feature allows you to see 3D content through your screen into the real world as mixed reality, using a simple RGB camera.
STEM Saturdays at Microsoft Stores
Beginning this Saturday, May 6, Microsoft Store locations across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia will host STEM Saturdays throughout May in all full-line locations in addition to the range of free programs year-round that empower students and educators. STEM Saturdays bring pop-up classrooms to Microsoft Store and offer hands-on experiences like building a sensor that measures the flexion and extension of a finger to learn about the anatomy of a human hand.
Where to start and what to know about Microsoft Education’s new experiences
We believe technology can inspire creativity in today’s classrooms, where the makers of tomorrow reside. This next generation of creators embrace technology as their first language; learn by collaborating and communicating with anyone in the world; and create with touch, command with voice, and conceptualize in 3D.
At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more. As part of that mission, we believe technology can be used as a tool to empower students and teachers to create the world of tomorrow.
Introducing Windows 10 S – a new Windows experience inspired by teachers and students
Our mission with Windows is to build a platform that inspires creativity in each of us.
In the classroom, Windows is the leading education platform worldwide, as teachers choose it for rich creativity inspiring applications, like Autodesk SketchBook, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Minecraft, and the rich Office 365 (not the mobile experience), which is coming soon to the Windows Store. Teachers also choose Windows for rich peripheral support, including amazing new STEM lesson plans with Arduino boards, LEGO® Education WeDo® 2.0, tools to enable accessibility, virtual reality headsets, interactive whiteboards, and more.
To understand how we could do more, our teams traveled the world to talk with school administrators, teachers, and students using Windows in the classroom. Teachers were consistent—kids can get distracted easily and don’t always follow direction. They asked for their Windows to be more resilient to hundreds of different youthful kids interacting with each device during the school year, maintaining the same great battery life and fast login time on the first day of school as the last. On the administrator front, I recall how Ricardo Garmendia from the Renton School District described how his department supports 850 classrooms with 11,000 Windows devices—he was overwhelmed with the ongoing setup of new devices, and management of the current devices in the classroom.
Windows 10 S is inspired by students and teachers, streamlined for simplicity, security and superior performance. I believe it best reflects the soul of Windows.
With Windows 10 S, all the applications which teachers and students download come from the Windows Store where they are first verified for security, and then locally they each run in a safe “container”, ensuring consistent performance of the system. In the classroom, this ensures fast login times and consistent performance, enabling everyone in the classroom to start learning quickly, and stay focused without distraction.
Windows 10 S can run any browser in the Windows Store. And we have been focused on making Microsoft Edge great for the classroom, ensuring compatibility with the sites educators use, like Google Docs. New features in Microsoft Edge like the new Tab Preview Bar make it easy for students to research and manage school projects. With Windows Ink in Microsoft Edge, students can easily make notes directly on a web page and share them with a classmate.
For Ricardo, and other school IT admins around the world, we also now have the Set Up School PC app in the Windows Store, enabling set up of entire classrooms of devices with customized experiences using a USB stick, in as little as 30 seconds per device. And with Microsoft Intune for Education – available today – we now have a complete end-to-end solution for teachers and schools to configure and manage all their student’s PCs.
With Windows 10 S, we’ve ensured that a teacher or administrator who understands the risks of downloading any app from the Internet, can do so. At any time, they can go to the Windows Store and switch to Windows 10 Pro. This is a one-way switch, as when a user is running Windows 10 Pro they can install anything—but this is the magic of the open Windows platform, which we plan to always continue to make available alongside Windows 10 S.
Inspired by teachers and students, Windows 10 S is a new Windows experience. I believe at its core, Windows 10 S is the soul of today’s Windows.
Windows 10 PCs for Education starting at $189
Our goal with Windows 10 S is to develop the open vibrant partner-centric ecosystem we have today. Our partners, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung, and Toshiba offer a range of new Windows 10 PCs for Education today – starting at $189. In the coming months, these partners will offer a range of Windows 10 S devices—from powerful and affordable Windows Ink and touch PCs to beautiful premium devices.
I look forward to students all around the planet learning on these partner devices with Windows 10 S.
Microsoft Teams comes to the classroom
New classroom experiences in Microsoft Teams take collaboration to a whole new level – and make Teams the digital hub for teachers and students.
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Online already allow students to co-author documents in real time. And new classroom experiences in Microsoft Teams take collaboration to a whole new level – and make Teams the digital hub for teachers and students. Together with OneNote Class Notebooks and new assignment and quiz experiences, teachers can easily distribute content, grade work, personalize learning, and communicate with students, parents, and staff. Teams also enables teachers to bring in rich and engaging content from the web, guest speakers, and solutions from education partners like busuu, Canvas, Flipgrid, and Kahoot!. And most importantly, Teams helps students develop the communication and collaboration skills they’ll need to be successful in the future. To learn more about the new classroom experiences in Teams, visit the Office Blog.
Introducing Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition
What continues to amaze me about Minecraft is that a game that strikes such a deep connection with children has become such an important learning tool to teach teamwork, logical thinking, and problem-solving. Minecraft is not just one of the most popular video games in history — it is also revolutionizing education, with schools in more than 100 countries using Minecraft: Education Edition to promote creativity and collaboration in the classroom.
Today, we announced Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition, designed to inspire students to learn the basics and the power of coding by combining the open worlds of Minecraft with popular learn-to-code platforms such as Tynker, ScratchX and a new open source platform from Microsoft called MakeCode. Players can move around, build and create in Minecraft by writing code. To learn more about Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition visit, the Minecraft Education Blog.
Free offers for teachers and students
To make it easy and affordable to bring Windows 10, Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams, and Minecraft to the classroom, we are offering teachers and students:
New Windows 10 education PCs starting at $189
Free one-year subscription to Minecraft: Education Edition for new Windows 10 education PCs
Free Windows 10 S for all schools on their current Windows Pro PC
Free Microsoft Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams
Free trial of Microsoft Intune for Education
Windows 10 S, Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams, Minecraft: Education Edition, and Microsoft Intune for Education offer a complete solution for teachers and students—with none of the compromises of Chromebooks and G Suite.
Introducing Surface Laptop powered by Windows 10 S – available for pre-order today
When we built Windows 10 S, we saw an opportunity to not only bring streamlined performance, simplicity, and security to students and teachers in a K-12 environment but to scale to meet the needs of college students and beyond. So today, we’re also excited to announce the newest member of our Surface family – Surface Laptop.
Available for pre-order today in 20 countries, Surface Laptop is the perfect balance of portability, performance, and elegance. Powered by Windows 10 S, Surface Laptop has up to 14.5 hours of battery life* to take students through their day and is built to give students the same great performance through four years of college and beyond. We believe ideas will come to life on a 13.5” PixelSense screen with the power of 7th generation Intel core processors. The signature keyboard is covered in Alcantara® material and features a responsive keyset, large trackpad, and soft palm rest for a new level of typing comfort. Surface Laptop is available in four rich, tone-on-tone colors: Platinum, Burgundy, Cobalt Blue and Graphite Gold. To learn more about the new Surface Laptop visit, the Devices Blog.
Surface Laptop starts at $999 USD and will be available beginning on June 15.
Bringing 3D and Windows Mixed Reality experiences to the classroom to spark creativity
Mixed Reality can bring a whole new dimension to teaching and learning in the classroom. If anything makes me wish to be a student again, it’s mixed reality. With 3D and Windows Mixed Reality, we’re empowering educators with a whole new set of tools to create curriculums for their students and peers.
Today, we announced a new strategic partnership with Pearson, one of the largest education companies in the world, who is working to integrate 3D and mixed reality into their secondary and university level curriculum. By the school year 2018, Pearson will offer curriculum in health, commerce, history, and STEM, on all Windows Mixed Reality devices. In addition, we announced a new feature coming to Windows 10 this fall, called View Mixed Reality. This feature allows you to see 3D content through your screen into the real world as mixed reality, using a simple RGB camera.
A new feature coming to Windows 10 this fall, called View Mixed Reality. This feature allows you to see 3D content through your screen into the real world as mixed reality, using a simple RGB camera.
STEM Saturdays at Microsoft Store
We want all students and teachers to experience education experiences from Microsoft. Beginning this Saturday, May 6, Microsoft Store locations across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Australia will host STEM Saturdays throughout May in all full-line locations in addition to the range of free programs year-round that empower students and educators. STEM Saturdays bring pop-up classrooms to Microsoft Store and offer hands-on experiences like building a sensor that measures the flexion and extension of a finger to learn about the anatomy of a human hand.
We believe technology can be used as a tool to empower students and teachers to create the world of tomorrow.
We can’t wait for tomorrow.
*Testing conducted by Microsoft in April 2017 using pre-production Intel Core i5, 256GB, 8 GB RAM device. Testing consisted of full battery discharge during video playback. All settings were default except: Wi-Fi was associated with a network and Auto-Brightness disabled. Battery life varies with settings, usage, and other factors.
Microsoft was founded on the principle that people can do remarkable things when technology is within reach. Core to our mission – to empower every student on the planet to achieve more – is working with educators, with students, and with school leaders on their journey to redefine learning.
And we continue to be inspired by the ways our Surface devices are helping to drive that transformation. Students like Kody Peralta are changing the way they learn and schools like Franklin Classical Middle School are changing the way the teach.
Over the last 24 months, we’ve seen great demand for Surface in education, which has nearly doubled its presence in classrooms around the world. Bringing the power of Surface devices to the classroom also means creating flexible and robust warranty programs that help schools more easily manage and deploy Surface.
Available for both K-12 and Higher-Ed institutions in the U.S. starting tomorrow and expanding to Surface markets internationally on September 30, Surface Complete for Education is a warranty offering designed to give schools and educational institutions access to accidental damage protection, claims sharing, exclusive end-user device training tailored to education, and onboarding resources. In the U.S., Surface Complete for Education will start at $225 USD for Surface Pro 4 and $359 USD for Surface Book. Pricing will vary in additional markets based on purchase volume.
Accidental damage protection and claims pooling
One of the biggest concerns schools face when rolling out new devices? Students (and even teachers from time to time) can be a little clumsy with their devices. No problem. Surface Complete for Education allows school IT departments to pool accidental damage claims up to 100% of devices purchased, independent of which device user requested a new claim. For example, if your school decided to purchase 250 Surface Pro 4 devices with the Complete for Education warranty bundle, your school would be eligible for up to 250 accidental damage claims across ALL your devices. This means warranties don’t have to be tied to a specific device which allows for more than the traditional 2 accidental damage claims (with Complete for Business) to be made on a Surface device. And with the accidental damage protection benefit, schools can be rest assured that if a student or staff member has an unfortunate spill or drop with their Surface, they will still be eligible for a replacement, and the process will be seamless and easy.
We love hearing how schools are using Surface to make learning more dynamic and versatile, with Pen and touch, the Microsoft Office suite with programs like OneNote, and full Windows on such a thin and light device. And we’re excited to bring this enhanced offering to existing and new schools in Surface markets worldwide.
Interested in learning more about Surface Complete for Education? Check with your local reseller or Microsoft representative to see which SKUs and prices are available to your school today!
Today we’re excited to announce the next major update to Windows 10 – the Windows 10 Anniversary Update – is coming on August 2.
We are committed to delivering continuous innovation to you: including features that bring Windows Ink and Cortana to the mainstream; a faster, more accessible and more power-efficient Microsoft Edge browser; advanced security features for consumers and enterprises; new gaming experiences and new tools for the modern classroom. Everyone running Windows 10 will get these new features for free.
With over 350 million devices now running Windows 10, customer satisfaction is higher than any previous version of Windows.
We’d like to say a special thank you to each of you who have upgraded to Windows 10. With over 350 million devices now running Windows 10, customer satisfaction is higher than any previous version of Windows and customer engagement is also incredible with more than 135 billion hours of use on Windows 10 since launch. We’re pleased that so many of you are being more productive and having more fun with Windows 10. Your feedback has been a key input into the design of the Anniversary Update.
Whether you’ve been with us all along as a Windows Insider or considering when you should upgrade, this summer is a great time to be on Windows 10.
The Windows 10 Anniversary Update: Full of New Innovations for Consumers and Enterprises
The Anniversary Update will help people be more productive, stay safer online – and of course, have fun. Together, the Anniversary Update brings six areas of innovation and improvements to consumers and enterprises.
Additional Security Features for the Most Secure Windows
As the most secure Windows ever, Windows 10 offers significant security protection. Security has never been more critical with more than 250 million threats online in any given day. These threats can cause loss of data and personal information with increased risk of identity theft. Windows 10 includes built-in protection to help keep you more secure with all new features in the Anniversary Update.
For all individual customers, we have two big security innovations coming in the Anniversary Update: Windows Hello** for apps and websites and Windows Defender:
Over 90% of people have abandoned web sites instead of locating a forgotten password because security hasn’t been easy enough to use. New Windows Hello features make it easy for you to use the same easy, yet strong, security of Windows Hello with Windows apps and Microsoft Edge, the first and only browser to natively support biometrics with supporting sites. The Anniversary Update also enables companion devices to use Windows Hello to unlock your PC, giving you more choices for quick, secured sign-ins.
Improvements to Windows Defender, our free anti-malware service, includes the option to automatically schedule periodic quick scans of your PC; as well as provide new notifications and summaries when scans are complete and threats are found.
For enterprise customers, today we are excited to announce two major new security features, launching with the Anniversary Update, to help protect businesses from today’s modern threats.
Today’s cyberattacks have gotten more brazen and more invasive, costing organizations an average of $12 million per incident – wreaking havoc on corporate networks, stealing data, breaching privacy, and destroying customer trust. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP) detects, investigates, and responds to advanced malicious attacks on networks by providing a more comprehensive threat intelligence and attack detection. This service is informed by the world’s largest array of sensors and expert advanced threat protection, including a team of security researchers at Microsoft leveraging in-house and security partner intelligence. WDATP now covers more than 700,000 endpoints and is being used in pilots by more than 300 active enterprises participating in 70 countries around the world.
To help protect businesses from accidental data leaks – the biggest source of lost data – the Anniversary Update delivers Windows Information Protection, formerly referred to as enterprise data protection. Windows Information Protection enables businesses to separate personal and organizational data and helps protect corporate data where ever it goes.
Windows Ink Brings the Power of Windows to the Tip of Your Pen
More than 70% of people spend more than one hour a day using a pen. Yet, we lose notes in our notebooks, take pictures of whiteboards, and don’t have the option to do equations or music composition with a keyboard. Writing is also a key part of the creative and learning process. Studies indicate students learn better by writing. For example, diagramming before solving a science problem can lead to 36% higher scores.
Windows Ink, available for the first time in the Anniversary Update, brings the writing you do every day into your digital world. Now, using a Windows 10 device, graphic designers can be more creative, musicians can write digital music, lawyers can edit documents with the power of the pen, and students can do mathematical equations and learn by writing – all with Windows Ink.
Quickly and easily take a note, sketch on a screenshot, or draw an idea.
Smart Sticky Notes help you remember common tasks like reminding you of flight times or offering directions using Maps.
Key apps have new ink-specific features, like using handwriting in Office, ink annotations in Microsoft Edge or drawing custom routes in Maps.
Cortana Helps You Be More Productive with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update
As part of our ambition to make computing more personal, we introduced Cortana***, your personal digital assistant. Windows has been a pioneer in this space, first introducing Cortana in Windows Phone, then to the PC with Windows 10, and soon available on Xbox One. Today, we have more than 1,000 Cortana apps in the Windows Store. But we can do more to make it easier for you to interact with Cortana and receive helpful information throughout your day.
Cortana is now available above your lock screen so you can do things like ask questions, play music from your PC or set a reminder without unlocking your device.
Cortana can save and recall key information, like your frequent flier number or where you parked at the airport. You can also add photos to make your reminders visual, like a photo of a bottle of wine you enjoyed at a restaurant.
Cortana can give you notifications across all the devices you have with Cortana – like sharing directions across devices or from text or messaging services on your phone.
Microsoft Edge Helps You Do More with Increased Power Efficiency, Extensions and Accessibility
Browsing the web today is very different than when the first browsers were invented. We live in a world with hundreds of millions of security threats and the browser has become a heavily used application for commerce, watching videos, and sharing with others. Microsoft Edge is a modern browser designed to protect against security threats, maximize your battery life, and provide easier access.
Building on strong power efficiency already available in Microsoft Edge, the Anniversary Update includes even more power-saving improvements, using fewer CPU cycles, consuming less memory, and minimizing the impact of background activity and peripheral content. Microsoft Edge lasts three hours longer than Google Chrome—long enough to finish the final movie in your favorite trilogy.
Microsoft Edge Extensions, such as Pinterest’s “Pin It Button,” Amazon Assistant, AdBlock, Adblock Plus and LastPass, will be available in the Windows Store with the Anniversary Update to add features to your browser and personalize your experience.
A new accessibility architecture for Microsoft Edge supports modern web standards, including HTML5, CSS3, and ARIA. With the Anniversary Update, page structure and content are now exposed more clearly with assistive technology. Visual presentation of web pages in high contrast mode is greatly improved to provide additional visual context, while preserving text contrast. Also, form entry when using keyboard navigation and screen readers improve in this update making the browsing experience for people of all abilities better.
Gamers Stay Connected and Enjoy More Games
Today gaming is one of the fastest growing areas of entertainment, with over 19 billion hours of gameplay on Windows 10 alone. Today’s gamers see their gaming experience silo’d by their devices, where mobile gaming is different than PC and different than console. Equally, content doesn’t extend across experiences. This changes with great new features for Xbox One and the Xbox app on Windows 10. Stay connected with friends on Xbox Live and enjoy even more games across your favorite devices with the Anniversary Update.
With the Xbox Play Anywhere program, you can buy a game once and play on your Windows 10 PC and Xbox One with shared progress, shared game saves and shared achievements. Every new title published from Microsoft Studios will support Xbox Play Anywhere and will be easily accessible in the Windows Store.
Xbox Play Anywhere games will be offered within the new unified Windows Store on both Windows 10 and Xbox One. You’ll be able to find the content you want faster and purchase game and app bundles, pre-orders, pre-downloads and subscriptions such as Xbox Live Gold.
On Xbox One, gamers will be able to use Cortana commands to find great new games, see what your friends are up to, start a party, accomplish common tasks and turn on your Xbox One by saying “Hey Cortana, Xbox On”.
Top fan requested features for Xbox One, such as Language Region Independence (allowing gamers to choose any supported language, regardless of their location) and support for background music, will come with the Anniversary Update.
Gamers can enjoy the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on the new Xbox One S. Available starting at $299 USD this summer, with a limited 2TB Xbox One S launch edition available in August for $399 USD, it’s the only console with support for HDR gaming and 4K Ultra HD video and Blu-ray.
New Innovations for the Modern Classroom join great devices starting at $179
Today’s schools see incredible opportunity to incorporate technology to aid in learning, and incredible demands in managing technology for their students. Unique dynamics make this challenging. Over 90% of schools in the US use shared devices and nearly 50% of teachers serve as their own tech support in their school classrooms. Education customers can enjoy a range of new features in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, including faster, simpler set up with all new tools to help educators get up and running quickly.
The Anniversary Update simplifies the deployment process. Teachers can set up devices in three easy steps, even with no dedicated IT support. The all-new “Set up School PCs” app allows teachers to set up a ‘Shared Cart of Devices’ for their classroom.
For schools with dedicated IT support, the updated Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer tool enables them to set up shared devices, in bulk, in a matter of minutes.
Windows 10 is faster than ever, with an average first log-in of 26 seconds and subsequent log-ins of 6 seconds, helping classes with shared devices get productive quickly****.
For high-stakes tests, the ‘Take a Test’ app creates a browser-based, locked-down environment for more secure, online assessments. This is ideal for tests that shouldn’t have copy/paste privileges, access to files, or other distractions. For simple formative and quizzing needs, the app couples with a teacher’s preferred assessment website to deliver digital assessments.
This is just a sampling of the many innovations and offerings we’re excited to deliver with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update on August 2. Upgrade today before the free offer ends July 29 or take advantage of one of the amazing new deals on a new Surface or PC so you’re all set to enjoy it this summer! Thanks again for all of your support for Windows 10; we’re committed to keeping the innovations for you coming!
*More details here **Hardware requirements apply *** Cortana available in select markets
****For Windows 10 machines in the Shared Cart configuration, running on affordable hardware
Our international Windows app developers and ISVs are invited to attend a local Build Tour event, where you will hear the best of the Build 2016 and meet folks from the Windows engineering and product management teams. Registration is now open for most of the seven cities that the team will be visiting over the next five weeks:
Each Build Tour event is a free, one-day, developer-focused deep-dive into the best of the Build 2016 conference. The morning highlights what’s new for developers across the Microsoft technology stack: platform advances, developer tool improvements, and new back-end services that help make your experiences more personal and scalable. In the afternoon, we’ll dig deeper into UWP, XAML, the desktop and WP Silverlight bridges, Xamarin, DevOps for app devs, and more.
And after you’ve heard all about the exciting new capabilities, and seen them in action, we’ll wrap up the day with an open Q&A and reception where you can engage with our engineering speakers, local Microsoft dev community leaders, and UWP product managers [I’ll be at the Melbourne event :)].
The room at each event holds about 400 developers, so register today.
From a huge effort to help kids realize their potential to a celebration of our dear old planet, this week brought plenty of interesting and inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.
Earlier this week, Microsoft announced grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries as part of YouthSpark, a global initiative to increase access for young people to learn computer science. In turn, these nonprofit partners — such as Laboratoria, CoderDojo and City Year — will use the power of local schools, businesses and community organizations to empower students to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.
The nonprofits will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.
“Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future,” Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today.”
Wondering what the next wave of breakthrough technology will be? Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft Technology and Research, calls it an “invisible revolution,” and it’s transforming farming, allowing people from different cultures to communicate, helping people breathe healthier air, preventing disease outbreaks and much more.
“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but is also increasingly invisible,” Shum said.
This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we joined the invisible revolution to preview the latest, most cutting-edge developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing. The possibilities are endless.
Computer industry luminaries honored Dave Cutler, a Microsoft senior technical fellow whose impressive body of work spans five decades, as a Computer History Museum Fellow. The 74-year-old has shaped entire eras. He worked to develop the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 1970s, had a central role in the development of Windows NT — the basis for all major versions of Windows since 1993 — and helped develop the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system and the hypervisor for Xbox One that allows the console to be more than just for gaming.
“The Fellow awards recognize people who’ve had a tremendous impact on our lives, on our culture, on the way we work, exchange information and live,” said John Hollar, the museum’s president and CEO. “People like Dave Cutler, who probably influences the computing experiences of more than 2 billion people, yet isn’t known in a way he deserves to be, in proportion to the impact he’s had on the world.”
Microsoft Philanthropies sponsored the annual We Day, supporting exciting events Wednesday in Seattle and earlier this month in Los Angeles. Nearly 30,000 attended the shows, which celebrate young people who are making a difference.
In supporting We Day, Microsoft aims to help young people drive the change they would like to see in their neighborhoods, schools and communities. Our photo gallery captures the highlights, famous faces and young people who were involved in this year’s events.
In advance of Earth Day on Friday, Microsoft kicked off this week with inspiration and information about the company’s sustainability programs and initiatives, including ways you can take part in the efforts. The brand new Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft website details how Microsoft’s company-wide carbon fee have financed significant investments in renewable energy to power its data centers, improved building efficiency and reached more than 6 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.
Microsoft, which has been a carbon-neutral company since 2012, is continually finding ways to make its products and their lifecycles more earth-friendly. Learn more about how Microsoft is commemorating Earth Day on the Microsoft Green Blog.
Microsoft is also constantly working to help students achieve more. Some all-new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update are specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students. A “Set Up School PCs” app lets teachers set up a device themselves in mere minutes, and a new “Take a Test” provides simple and secure standardized testing for classrooms or entire schools.
Learning will also get a big boost with Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, a OneNote Class Notebook that now has Learning Management System (LMS) integration and — perhaps most exciting to students — the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” Educators will be able to give it a test run in the summer months and provide feedback and suggestions.
In apps this week, the powerful mobile photo-editing app PicsArt is marking Earth Day by offering a series of green- and outdoorsy-themed photo frame and clip art packages. Several are exclusive to Windows customers. The PicsArt app is free in the Windows Store.
Need a little help juggling projects, priorities and other moving parts in your busy life? The Todoist Windows 10 app can help you stay organized, collaborate with colleagues and even empty your inbox by turning important emails into tasks.
Or for a little fun this weekend, go way beyond retro to prehistoric days in “Age of Cavemen.” In this multiplayer strategy game, you’re the village chief in a dangerous world, and you need to keep your people safe. Build an army, create alliances and destroy your opponents in a wild and wooly free-for-all.
And that’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you here next week for the latest roundup.
Sometimes all it takes is a spark: that one class, that one teacher, that one project which makes a difference. It can change the lives of young students who may have had little opportunity to excel, or perhaps even to complete high school, to enable them to become successful engineers, entrepreneurs or computer scientists. This is the inspiration behind our global YouthSpark initiative.
Last September, Satya Nadella announced a three-year, $75 million YouthSpark investment to help every young person get the opportunity to learn computing skills and computer science.
Today we are providing an update by announcing YouthSpark grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries. In turn, our partners will leverage the power and energy of local schools, businesses and community organizations to create new and engaging opportunities for students to explore computer science. These partners will teach students valuable skills to help them prepare for and succeed in jobs that are open today across industries, along with new jobs that will be created. Our partners will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway, including our commitments to computer science education through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.
Still, much more progress must be made. Despite the need for basic computational thinking skills across all subject areas, in the U.S. less than 25 percent of high schools offer computer science classes. Only 2.5 percent of U.S. high school graduates go on to study computer science in college, and of this small percentage, only 1 in 5 computer science graduates is female. Globally, some countries have made computer science a mandatory subject in secondary schools, but we know firsthand through our own work that far too few schools around the world provide courses in computing. We also recognize that governments play a critical role in continued progress on this important issue. We continue to work with policymakers around the world to support the policy and funding necessary to expand computer science into public education. In the U.S., we’re proud to support Computer Science for All, a national effort created by President Barack Obama to give all American students the opportunity to learn computer science in school.
We know that no single organization or company can close the global computer science education skills gap. That is why we are committed to work in partnership with others. Our efforts have focused on leveraging longstanding community relationships of more than 100 nonprofit partners around the world to create access to computer science, and also to break down barriers and stereotypes that are keeping large populations of youth out of computer science education — even when the opportunities are available.
Later this month, we will bring together some of our local nonprofit partners from around the world during a YouthSpark Summit at the Microsoft campus in Redmond. We’ll learn, discuss, share ideas and develop action plans so that, together with our partners, we can continue to improve and bring better knowledge and expertise to local communities.
Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future. Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today. Learn more about our nonprofit partners here, and visit YouthSpark.com for more information on our global initiative to make computer science education accessible for all young people.
Our company mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In education, it’s to empower every student. Today, we’re proud to share the latest on what’s coming for Back-to-School 2016/2017.
Introducing Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, OneNote Class Notebook now with Learning Management System (LMS) integration, new experiences for Windows 10 and the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition” – Get ready!
First, we are announcing all new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, features specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students.
Faster, easier set-up:
Shared devices in the classroom are the norm – in the U.S., nearly 90 percent of schools report using shared devices. We also know that nearly 50 percent of teachers serve as their own tech support in their classroom. Until now, setting these devices up has been complex and getting students productive often takes too long.
With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update we are introducing a ”Set Up School PCs” app that allows teachers to set up a device themselves in a simple three-step process – in minutes. We’ve also made significant performance improvements for affordable devices. We expect the average first login to take 26 seconds, with subsequent logins of 6 seconds when the student uses that machine again.
Testing is going digital — teachers consistently tell us they want a simple way to set up quizzes or standardized tests digitally. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a new ‘Take a Test’ app – simple and more secure standardized testing for the whole classroom or the whole school, where teachers or IT can lock down the testing environment, or enable simple quizzing.
Education-ready Windows Store:
Nearly 60 percent of teachers purchase and load apps themselves. With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the Windows Store will enable teachers to access thousands of apps, and schools can purchase and deploy them in bulk.
Free upgrade and affordable devices:
More and more, educators are asking us about affordable devices. We have a great portfolio of affordable, durable and innovative Windows 10 devices starting at $199, designed for the demands of education.
So you can see, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a huge range of education-specific features that teachers and students are going to love. Learn even more about these new updates, and more, over on the Windows blog!
Second, we are announcing some big improvements to Office 365 Education.
Today we are announcing Microsoft Classroom – a new experience in Office 365 Education. Microsoft Classroom is designed to be the one place students and teachers come to manage their day – from Class Notebooks, assignments and grades to conversations, calendars and to announcements!
We’re piloting this with Omaha Public Schools in Nebraska. Let me just share with you what they had to say . . .
“It simplifies our digital classroom management and frees up our teachers so they can spend more time with students and less time managing administrative access to class materials.” – Rob Dickson, Executive Director, Information Management Services of Omaha Public Schools.
Today we are alsoannouncing Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) – a powerful complement for Microsoft Classroom. SDS connects Microsoft Classroom to a School Information System (SIS), so teacher, student and classes information is automatically populated in Microsoft Classroom and OneNote Class Notebooks. School Data Sync will be included in Office 365 Education. Think of it as a super simple process that quickly provisions a set of classes and rosters from many School Information Systems already used.
Also being announced: Microsoft Forms – a simple way to quickly assess student progress and get feedback with easy-to-create surveys and quizzes. It’s in public preview starting today for Office 365 Education here.
OneNote Class Notebooks are the heart of our education experience and they just keep getting better and better. We have seen incredible momentum – with millions of student notebooks created just this school year – and currently running over 10,000 a day!
To hear one educator describe it: “It’s your whole classroom (lesson plans, materials, assignments and student work) in a digital binder with tools for communication and collaboration!”
We’re alsoannouncing Class Notebook assignment and grading integration is now available with more than 25 Learning Management System partners – including leaders like Canvas, Edmodo, Schoology, Brightspace and Moodle. Learn more here.
We’re really excited about all of these improvements for Office 365 Education coming for the new school year! Learn more about all of the updates to Office happening for education – check out the Office blog here.
Finally, we’ve got some great news about “Minecraft: Education Edition”! June begins an early access program of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” It will be available for any educator to download and try for free on Windows 10 and OS X El Capitan.
This program is a great way for educators and administrators who are interested in “Minecraft: Education Edition” to give it a test run in the summer months and give us more feedback and suggestions.
If you are new to “Minecraft” in the classroom, check out education.minecraft.net for resources to help prepare, including lesson plans and a new “Minecraft” mentors program to connect with amazing teachers already using “Minecraft.”
To learn more about “Minecraft: Education Edition” and the upcoming early access program, check out our blog.
The culture at Microsoft is customer-obsessed and we’ve been hard at work listening to teachers and students. We hope you love what’s coming this summer and we look forward to your continued feedback and hearing about the amazing things happening in your classroom. Let me know what you think on Twitter – @microsoft_edu@tony_prophet #MSFTEDU.
What if every child started out their first day at school on a level academic playing field? The Kent School District is taking steps to do just this with its ‘One Student-One Device’ program. In an effort to give students access to advanced technology and devices, they became an early adopter of Windows 10, piloting the new operating system in four of its K-12 schools over this past school year. The pilot recently ended and the district has already started distributing Windows 10 PCs to all of its elementary-school libraries. It expects to install Windows 10 on all 24,000 devices in the school district by the start of the 2016/2017 school year.
As a former teacher, one of my passions is to figure out how technology can enable students to be successful in the classroom, and help teachers do less ‘teching’ and more teaching. Kent is a great example of a district that is using technology to empower its teachers and students to be more efficient and productive so they can focus on learning. When Kent School District started its pilot it had two key goals: use technology to transform its classrooms and at the same time to streamline IT management. Following the district’s upgrade to Windows 10 and distribution of HP laptops and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices to students from kindergarten to sixth grade, the students became more engaged and performed better academically, helping build community support for technology in the classroom. At the same time, the district was able to reduce IT costs.
By upgrading to Windows 10, Kent replaced its previous process of manually refreshing each device, simplifying the demands on its IT department. They’ve also taken advantage of the free online services and productivity tools for teachers and students with Office 365 Education, which has lowered total cost of ownership. “Upgrading to Windows 10 has actually been a way to get extra life out of our devices,” said Stosh Morency, interim CIO, Kent School District. “It’s not intuitive to think you can put a newer operating system on an older computer and it will actually run better. Because of some of these benefits, we’ve extended our four-year refresh cycle to five years for some of the devices.” When we asked Stosh and his team how much savings they think they’ve seen, Morency added, “If you purchase a couple million dollars of computers in a year, and you skip a year of doing that, it adds up quickly.”
Take a look at how the Kent School District and its teachers and students are benefiting from Windows 10 and Office 365 functionality in their schools by reading their full case study here.
The Surface devices in particular have been game-changing based on functionality like pen and inking that other devices don’t offer.
The teachers and students who have been using the Windows 10 devices at the four pilot schools have found new ways to work and learn, based on their personal working styles. The Surface devices in particular have been game-changing based on functionality like pen and inking that other devices don’t offer. Some students use the Surface Pro 3 like a laptop, while others prefer the touchscreen in tablet mode. Kindergarteners use the Surface Pen and touchscreen to learn how to write letters.
Students in the fourth through sixth grades use inking and Scratch Space in Microsoft OneNote to draw out math problems and shapes for geometry lessons. Students in all grade levels in Kent now use OneNote to collaborate on team research projects, track assignments, share writing projects with teachers and get feedback in real time. They use PowerPoint Online and Sway to create visually engaging reports.
“In 6th grade your penmanship should be readable and I have a few students that really struggle with their hand-eye coordination and just writing something that I can even read,” shared Amanda Gallegos, Sixth Grade Teacher, Fairwood Elementary School. “It’s amazing when they were given a Surface device how much more confident they are just simply using the setting where you can use your stylus and it transforms it to typing.”
“We’ve seen tremendous gains in specific students,” says Aubrey Buerstatte, Librarian and Technology Specialist at Horizon Elementary School. “When teachers help students set up a personalized program on a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10, we see an improved level of excitement and test scores.”
Another big hope for Kent School District is to be able to send devices home with students over the summer. Typically, the devices sit on a shelf during the summer months while they’re reimaged for the next school year, which leads to a dip in technical proficiency with the students. “With Windows as a service, the updates can continue and re-imaging won’t be a big deal because with Windows 10 we just keep the updates going and don’t have to do a reset over the summer,” said Morency. “It means students can continue improving their writing and math skills and don’t have to start over when they get back in the fall.”
The Kent School District has 28,000 K–12 students and employs 4,500 teachers, administrators and other staff at 43 campuses in the city of Kent, Washington.
The school district has maintained a longstanding relationship with Microsoft and it is both a Microsoft Showcase School and a best practice location for the National School Board Association.
It’s so motivating to see the impact Windows 10 devices can have on preparing students for the future. We’re are honored to play a supporting role in their education. Windows 10 Education is available for educators through Microsoft Volume Licensing and we welcome their ongoing feedback on how we can make Windows great for schools.
You can learn more about the new innovations for the classroom with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update here and check out this Windows Experience Blog post for additional information on education institutions around the world that are choosing to adopt Windows 10.
Microsoft is committed to “building immersive and inclusive learning experiences for students and teachers around the world, experiences that build 21st-century skills including communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and computational thinking,” writes Tony Prophet, corporate vice president of Education Marketing.
In the classroom, OneNote, Skype, Sway and Minecraft empower teachers and students to create and share in entirely new ways, teach and learn through doing and exploring, accommodate any learning style, and focus the classroom experience on learning outcomes, Prophet says.
Yusuf Medhi, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Marketing, writes that with new Windows 10 devices that are “tailor made for education and perfect for students, we are seeing strong demand for Windows 10 in the classroom,” including Windows 10 devices that start at $199.