Microsoft is unveiling a number of classroom-focus features for Windows 10 and Office today. One of the big advantages of competitors like Chrome OS is the ease of setup and configuration for students and teachers, and it appears Microsoft is targeting this directly with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Microsoft is creating a "set up school PCs" app that lets teachers configure machines in minutes instead of hours.
Alongside the setup improvements, the Anniversary Update is also designed to make app purchasing and discovery easier for teachers. Schools can purchase apps and deploy them in bulk, so teachers don't have to buy them separately. Windows Ink, which we looked at closely recently, is also included in the Anniversary Update to improve stylus support for Windows 10 devices.
Microsoft Forms is designed for quizzes and surveys
On the Office side, Microsoft is introducing a new Forms tool. It's designed for Office 365 and lets students create quizzes and surveys. There are a variety of survey tools available freely on the web, but Microsoft's will obviously integrate better with Office 365 education environments. Microsoft is previewing the new Forms tool today.
Most of the improvements are welcome for schools, but are fairly minor overall. Microsoft's push for schools to use Windows 10 and Office comes as competition from Chrome OS — and alternatives like Neverware that turn old Windows PCs into Chrome devices — heats up. Microsoft has one important tool in its education bundle to help tempt students: Minecraft. The software maker is kicking off an early access program for Minecraft: Education Edition in June, and it will be available freely to try on Windows 10 or OS X machines.