Fresno Unified School District in California is rolling out 15,000 Asus Transformer T100 Windows 8.1 devices to 3rd, 8th and 11th graders across the district.
In a time of digital transition across the education sector, teachers and students are having to adapt to changing trends and technologies. The US Department of Education is working alongside schools across the US to help identify, implement and execute the best technology solutions.
Californian schools are preparing to take a Common Core field test this spring. Because of this, Fresno Unified School District (USD) needed to select an appropriate platform and device to meet Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s requirements for testing and to move forward with the district’s vision, which includes Bring Your Own Device.
In a post for the Microsoft in Education blog, the vice president of U.S. Education Margo Day explained how her team is working alongside Fresno USD chief technology officer Kurt Madden’s team to explore different Windows 8.1 solutions.
“With Common Core testing fast approaching, the district received US$7M in state funding for devices that meet the specific hardware and software requirements,” explained Day.
“Ultimately, due to security, management, cost, and Common Core requirements, we felt a Windows 8.1 device would better meet our needs across the board,” said Madden.
The district currently runs its back-end system on Windows and provides all students with Office 365 Education, as well as the Student Advantage programme, which provides five copies of OfficePro per student.
“We manage all devices on our domain with Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager,” added Madden. “Student safety is our utmost priority and that includes protecting student data. Microsoft has a long history of making security a top priority as well. We have every confidence that Microsoft has extended that culture of security to Office 365 Education and will protect student data and keep us compliant with FERPA and COPPA.”
The Windows 8.1 Asus Transformer T100 offers students the flexibility of a tablet or a laptop thanks to a detachable keyboard, touch capabilities, and the ability for digital inking. Fresno USD students can now benefit from valuable communication, collaboration, and Microsoft Office experience skills.
“After exploring our options, we concluded Microsoft provides a true enterprise environment which makes sense for a district as large as ours,” said Madden. “There is an excitement on our technology side as we put these pieces together, and better yet, there is a buzz among our teachers and students for what is to come with new devices that will only serve to extend and expand their learning opportunities.”
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