Microsoft Pushes PCs, Teams at Education Event

Posted on January 19, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Microsoft, Microsoft 365, Windows 10 with 2 Comments

But the software giant didn’t mention Windows 10X at all, leading to some understandable speculation about the timing of that release.

“Schools and systems had to respond to the crisis quickly, transition to the new school year, and are reimagining education for the future—all with a focus on student-centered learning, critical skills, social learning, safety and security, and scalability to bring pedagogy and technology together,” Microsoft VP of education Barbara Holzapfel writes. “Today more than ever, powerful devices, collaborative environments, analytical tools, and immersive experiences are critical, and we’re excited to announce new devices and features for collaboration and social-emotional learning.”

Those announcements include:

Microsoft Pen 2. This updated version of the Microsoft Classroom Pen has a longer enclosure and is cheaper at just $20, but it offers the same experiences as before.

Microsoft Teams for Education improvements. The new Reflect app is built-in to Microsoft Teams and helps teachers check in with individual students and invite them to “share how they are feeling in general or about specific topics.” Reflect will also integrate with Education Insights.

New education PCs. New low-cost ($185 to $329) education PCs from Acer, Asus, Dell, JP-IK Leap, and others will help pad out the back-to-school portfolio this year, and some will even offer LTE capabilities. “To stay connected and engaged in remote and hybrid learning environments, students need a device with all-day battery life, an HD camera,” Holzapfel notes.

Notably missing, of course, is any talk of Windows 10X or education PCs that are designed specifically for this simpler new product. So it’s unclear now what the timing is, given that today’s announcements are tied to BETT, the annual education event.

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