Microsoft is making a bigger push to keep students and teachers using Windows this week. At the annual Bett education show in London, Microsoft is revealing new Windows 10 and Windows 10 S devices that are priced from just $189. The software giant is also partnering with the BBC, LEGO, NASA, PBS, and Pearson to bring a variety of Mixed Reality and video curricula to schools.
Lenovo has created a $189 100e laptop. It’s based on Intel’s Celeron Apollo Lake chips, so it’s a low-cost netbook essentially, designed for schools. Lenovo is also introducing its 300e, a 2-in-1 laptop with pen support, priced at $279. The new Lenovo devices are joined by two from JP, with a Windows Hello laptop priced at $199 and a pen and touch device at $299. All four laptops will be targeted towards education, designed to convince schools not to switch to Chromebooks.
Microsoft is making a bigger education push with content and apps
Part of Microsoft’s school push is related to content for teachers to use with these laptops. Microsoft is planning to release a new Chemistry Update for Minecraft: Education Edition this spring. It will focus on experimentation like building compounds or tackling stable isotopes. It’s a free update for everyone using the Education Edition of Minecraft. Microsoft is also tweaking Word for Mac, Outlook desktop, and OneNote for iPad / Mac to include a new immersive reader that helps with reading and writing.
Microsoft is also making some Mixed Reality content available for both the HoloLens and the range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Pearson, the world’s largest education company, will start distributing a new curriculum in March that will work on Mixed Reality headsets and the HoloLens. Six new apps will include immersive experiences for students, and Microsoft is even discounting its HoloLens headsets by 10 percent to tempt schools into trying out its augmented reality headset. Windows Mixed Reality headsets will still be the cheaper option for schools, though.
Other partnerships include LEGO and BBC Worldwide. The BBC is releasing its Oceans: Our Blue Planet film to museums in March, followed by classrooms around the world. The film includes a variety of footage shot by the teams behind the BBC’s Blue Planet II series. Microsoft is also working with LEGO to let students build tools from LEGO bricks to measure topography in 2D/3D space.
All of these apps, experiences, and devices will be available throughout 2018, and they’re all a big part of a renewed effort at Microsoft to convince students and teachers that Microsoft is serious about education. The software maker has been losing out to Chromebooks in the US, as Google’s laptops have seen most of their traction in the education market. Windows 10 S was a response to Chromebooks, and now we’re starting to see more of how Microsoft plans to tackle keeping future generations using its software and services.