Microsoft Expands its Education Push with New Windows 10 PCs, Mixed Reality, and Office Updates

At the BETT education-focused conference in London, Microsoft is announcing a whole suite of updates for its Education products. Microsoft’s competition with Google’s Chromebooks for the education market steamed up last year when the software giant launched Windows 10 S. As Microsoft continues to push forward with its education-focused offerings, the company’s latest Education announcements are quite simply about advancing what started last year.

Windows 10 Devices

Windows 10 devices are at the core of Microsoft’s education-focused offerings. The company introduced a range of different, affordable Windows 10 S laptops last year, and it’s introducing four new Windows 10 laptops from Lenovo and JP today to further expand the lineup. Microsoft’s CVP Yusuf Mehdi says the new devices are for those who “don’t want to compromise on Chromebooks.”

The cheapest all of the devices announced today is the new Lenovo 100e, powered by the Intel Celeron Apollo Lake, starting at only $189. Lenovo is also announcing a $279 2-in-1 device with a stylus and a touch display. JP, on the other hand, is coming out with the new Classmate Leap T303 for $199, and the Trigono V401 2-in-1 for $299.

HoloLens and Mixed Reality

Microsoft is partnering with the world’s largest education company, Pearson, to bring a new range of VR and AR educational experiences to the HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Pearson will be releasing 6 new applications for the HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality in March that will provide schools with new immersive educational experiences for students. Redmond is teaming up with PBS and NASA to bring new science-focused immersive VR experiences to the HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality as well.

In addition to this, Microsoft wants to expand the use of Hololens to classrooms by offering the HoloLens Commercial ($5,000) or Developer ($3,000) editions for 10% off in select markets until the 31st of May this year to educational institutions. 10% off the HoloLens still doesn’t make the device affordable at all for most schools, though. And that’s exactly why all the new AR and VR educational experiences from Pearson, PBS, and NASA are available on the Windows Mixed Reality headsets — which, by the way, are incredibly cheap right now

Office

Last year, we saw the launch of Microsoft Teams for Education and a lot of education-focused updates for the entire Office suite. This year, Microsoft will continue expanding the tools on Office for its education customers.

Starting in February, the company is adding new dictation capabilities to Office apps across all devices to make it possible for students of all abilities write easily with their voice. The new Immersive Reader feature is coming to more Office apps and devices, including Word for Mac and iPhone, Outlook Desktop, OneNote for iPad and Mac.

Microsoft has also been quietly updating Microsoft Teams’ mobile apps recently in order to provide a better experience for its Education customers. Users of Microsoft Teams for Education will now have access to their classroom on Team from their iOS or Android device and be able to keep track of all the conversations, assignments, shared files, and more from their smartphones. Teachers using PowerPoint can now record their lessons and slides, which can later be shared with their digital Teams classroom using Microsoft Stream.

A big part of today’s Office updates is the new update to OneNote Class Notebook. Microsoft is introducing integrations for two of the most widely used information systems in schools, including SIMS in the UK, and PowerSchool in the United States. The integration will make it possible for teachers to automatically sync the grades of their students on OneNote Class Notebook with the entire school’s information system, removing the need for¬†manually adding the grades on the school’s system.

Minecraft

Microsoft’s Minecraft game is hugely popular with kids and students. The company even built a different version of the game specifically for use in classrooms, with interactive features like real-time classroom collaboration, progress tracking abilities for each student, and more. Microsoft is announcing a new update for Minecraft: Education Edition today which will start rolling out this Spring.

The new Chemistry Update, as the name implies, can be used by teachers to teach chemistry with interactive experiences and experiments in Minecraft. The idea definitely sounds like it will be quite engaging for students, as they get to play while learning new things about chemistry. The Chemistry Update is meant to be for students of all ages, so it includes different levels that will be suitable for a kid just discovering chemistry or a teenager.


Microsoft Education’s new updates today are going to be critical for the company’s competition with Google, especially in the United States. While Windows dominates ChromeOS worldwide, it’s falling behind ChromeOS in the United States. The new updates to Office, Minecraft, and new Mixed Reality content are more of a long-term play from Redmond which could pay off in a few years time.

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Conversation 21 comments

  • Usman

    Premium Member
    22 January, 2018 - 10:10 am

    <p>I remember when SIMS was just an attendance taking system now it seems to do everything. </p>

  • Bart

    Premium Member
    22 January, 2018 - 11:32 am

    <p>I understand these devices can't be high spec for this money, but why do they have to be so butt ugly? Same goes for Chromebooks of course</p>

    • NoFlames

      22 January, 2018 - 1:00 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#239545"><em>In reply to Bart:</em></a> The same reason inexpensive cars don't look as nice as the luxury models do. I wish there were a free lunch but making something sleek costs more to design and develop than these cheap devices..</blockquote><p><br></p>

  • skane2600

    22 January, 2018 - 1:23 pm

    <p>The problem is that the cheapest Windows 10 S PC is no cheaper than the cheapest fuller-featured Windows 10 Home device or the cheapest Chromebook. </p><p><br></p><p>The problem with all these alternative approaches has always been that they have to draw from the same pool of hardware as the traditional approach and hardware makes up most of the cost. So they can't really compete on price. </p>

    • hrlngrv

      Premium Member
      22 January, 2018 - 3:55 pm

      <p><a href="#239568"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></p><p>Inside the US, apparently also Canada and IIRC New Zealand, primary and secondary schools which have been using Chromebooks for a while would have ceased paying to license Windows or Mac software. Switching back to Windows may incur considerable expense, and at least for US public school districts, that means it ain't gonna happen.</p><p>For schools which have been using Windows for years and still are, odds are they're using mostly Windows 7 PCs, so many of MSFT's initiatives are irrelevant. Schools using considerable amounts of 3rd party software under already paid perpetual licenses aren't going to be interested in Windows 10 S.</p><p>Most telling is MSFT's silence on the number of Windows 10 S PCs in use.</p>

  • Mark from CO

    Premium Member
    22 January, 2018 - 1:40 pm

    <p>Mehedi:</p><p><br></p><p>As we've agreed on in other articles, there really is no long-term play in the tech industry. Microsoft must be ready to innovate continually, execute by regularly bringing more value to its education ecosystem, and providing tools that 'just work.' This means not updating stuff once in a while, but at least yearly if not quicker. If Microsoft doesn't, we know that Google will.</p><p><br></p><p>Mark from CO</p>

  • glenn8878

    22 January, 2018 - 1:51 pm

    <p>My kid loves Roblox. All the kids play this instead of Minecraft. </p>

    • NazmusLabs

      22 January, 2018 - 2:47 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#239583"><em>In reply to glenn8878:</em></a></blockquote><p>I see kids play both. I've seen both being played since 2011. Minecraft just grew its userbase to nearly 75 million.</p><p><br></p><p>And Allah (S.W.T) knows best.</p>

  • Winner

    22 January, 2018 - 2:29 pm

    <p>This won't end well.</p>

    • NazmusLabs

      22 January, 2018 - 2:45 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#239585"><em>In reply to Winner:</em></a></blockquote><p>I disagree. Students that use MS products will take their MS skills to the workforce and influence the enterprise of tomorrow to rely on MS instead of Google. Kids who love Minecraft and use it in their education has a higher chance of creating a bond with the company and its products that will carry into their adulthood (think Nintendo's influence on today's adults.</p><p><br></p><p>And Allah (S.W.T) knows best.</p>

      • skane2600

        22 January, 2018 - 3:15 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#239588"><em>In reply to NazmusLabs:</em></a></blockquote><p>Minecraft Enterprise Edition? Windows 10 S won't expose children to the key MS applications that are relevant to the business world because it can't run them. </p>

        • NazmusLabs

          10 February, 2018 - 5:04 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#239600"><em>In reply to skane2600:</em></a></blockquote><p>My comment has nothing to do with Win10 S. Secondly, it's not about the product. It's about creating a relationship with the company. Please consider the point I was trying to make before misunderstanding.</p>

      • hrlngrv

        Premium Member
        22 January, 2018 - 3:48 pm

        <p><a href="#239588"><em>In reply to NazmusLabs:</em></a></p><p>All those enterprises using Minecraft all over the place. /s</p>

        • NazmusLabs

          10 February, 2018 - 5:02 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#239605"><em>In reply to hrlngrv:</em></a></blockquote><p>You totally got the point of the comment. /s</p>

      • Winner

        22 January, 2018 - 8:59 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#239588"><em>In reply to NazmusLabs:</em></a></blockquote><p>You are giving a logical reply. But try to manage those Windows messes versus Chromebooks. Basically all the bloat of Windows Pro, with restrictions tacked on top. And still malware capable.</p>

  • cruzjohn

    06 February, 2018 - 5:48 am

    <p><br></p><p>Pay to Have a Paper Written You are giving a consistent answer. Yet, endeavor to deal with those Windows messes versus Chromebooks. Essentially all the swell of Windows Pro, with limitations attached best. What's more, still malware proficient. <a href="https://www.topassignmentservice.com/pay-to-have-a-paper-written&quot; target="_blank"><img src="">https://www.topassignmentservice.com/pay-to-have-a-paper-written</a></p&gt;

  • EricWhite12

    21 February, 2018 - 6:14 am

    <p>They better do it well</p>

  • Kareko

    20 July, 2018 - 8:47 am

    <p>These messages should be more often read by people. Thanks for telling this story.</p><p><a href="https://ctnbee.com/en&quot; target="_blank">ctnbee.com/en</a></p>

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