Microsoft has released a new version of its operating system called Windows 10 S, which it is aiming at teachers and students.
Windows 10 S is a fully functioning version of Windows, but it only runs apps available in the Windows Store. The aim is to improve security and performance.
The operating system has Microsoft Edge as its default browser. Microsoft claims that this browser is more secure than Chrome and Firefox. It also has features such as the new Tab Preview Bar, designed to make it easier for students to organise research and manage school projects. And with support for Windows Ink in Microsoft Edge, students can make notes directly on a web page and share them with a classmate.
Device partners including Acer, ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Samsung and Toshiba are expected to bring out a range of Windows 10 S devices in the coming months. Microsoft will soon release the new Surface Laptop too, which will run the new operating system.
As well as revealing Windows 10 S, Microsoft has unveiled more products and features aimed particularly at those in the education space. One new Windows 10 feature – View Mixed Reality – will bring 3D and mixed reality capabilities to educators, allowing them to create curriculums for their students and peers. The feature allows users to see 3D content through their screens into the real world as mixed reality using a simple RGB camera. As part of this, Microsoft is working with education company Pearson to integrate 3D and mixed reality into its secondary and university level curriculum. By the 2018 school year, Pearson will offer curriculum in health, commerce, history and STEM on Windows Mixed Reality devices.
Microsoft has also confirmed that it will introduce Microsoft Teams to the classroom later this year, providing a digital hub for teacher-student collaboration. Teachers will be able to use Teams with OneNote Class Notebooks and new assignment and quiz experiences to distribute educational material, grade work, personalise learning, and communicate with students, parents and staff. Teams also enables teachers to use online content and solutions from education partners like busuu, Canvas, Flipgrid and Kahoot!.
In addition, teachers in more than 100 countries will be able to access the new Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition to teach students the basics of coding. The solution will enable students to use learn-to-code platforms such as Tynker, ScratchX and Microsoft’s new open-source MakeCode platform to move around, build and create in Minecraft by writing code.