Microsoft giving 10,000 Surface RT tablets to educators

Microsoft is apparently in a highly generous mood, as the company will be giving 10,000 educators a way to get a free Surface RT tablet for their use in schools later this month. The new program is part of the annual conference held by the International Society for Technology in Education.

Today, the ISTE revealed that the 10,000 Windows RT devices will be given out by teachers who participate in the Windows in the Classroom Surface Experience Project during the conference, which will be held June 23-26 in San Antonio, Texas. Online registration for the conference ends on June 18th.

Margo Day, the Vice President of U.S. Education at Microsoft, is quoted as saying that using a Surface RT tablet can help educators thanks to its high battery life combined with the functions of a laptop, including the pre-installed version of Office 2013. She adds:

Educators already using Windows 8 tell us they are able to get grading and planning done more quickly because they can multi-task and they can imagine new and personalized learning experiences for their students.

Educators that are going to the conference must bring a gift acknowledgement letter that's provided by Microsoft, and signed by a school official, before they can claim their free Surface device.

Source: ISTE

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I think the surface has amazing potential for the class-room. It is vastly more productive than an iPad and with the move away from Java will do everything that a student (hell, and a teacher!) needs. More and more tools are going web-based.

I think they need to get these into schools asap - it is good what they're doing =)

So Microsoft is now competing with Apple in the education arena. That is great for encouraging sales in the consumer market, in which Apple has done very well. If that is where Microsoft want to compete, fine. It is not going to a "walk in the part, by any means."

Regrettably, Microsoft still hasn't really done anything seriously for the traditional business arena with Windows-8. The longer Microsoft waits until giving something compelling to upgrade from Windows-8, Windows-7 will remain the major OS, with the risk of defection to other OSs becoming a more and more viable alternative. It is a great position to be in when a company can continue to deliberately alienate a huge portion of their customer base.

I love how people are cynical about this... you know Apple did this in the 90's with the whole Apples for Students program... they got their foot into every school district in the country... I know the only computers we had in the 90's where Apple ][es and Apple Mac LC 2's all free from them....

I think the cynicism comes from the situation that, back in the 90's Apple made no claim to the business market, but instead, was focusing on the consumer market. Thus, the Apples for Students program was a logical choice. Use an Apple at school and you'll probably use it for your personal needs, i.e., consumer market.

Microsoft, until their current attempt with Windows-8, was focused on the business market, with consumer use being secondary. Use Microsoft at the office, and you'll often use it at home. This was approaching the consumer market from a different direction. Now, it seems that Microsoft is focusing almost exclusively on the consumer market--almost to the total exclusion of the business market. Fortunately, they still have Windows-7 to use. What is Microsoft going to do as a business-oriented OS for Windows-7? Windows-8 hardly qualifies--if for no other reason than a US that is inappropriate for laptops and desktops.

Microsoft needs to compete with Apple with something similar to iBooks. As a student, I've seen friends of mine who have iPad's w/ some of their textbooks on it and it's a thing of beauty and very efficient when it comes to reading & studying. Seeing how touch friendly and fluid Windows 8 is, Microsoft needs to bring something to the table instead of letting Apple control that niche.

Albert said,
well that should increase the 'sales' numbers. so pathetic and desperate.

Surely they don't count these as sales...

Albert said,
well that should increase the 'sales' numbers. so pathetic and desperate.

You know you're jaded when you see a company giving products away to educators as "pathetic" and "desperate".
Most would say "generous" and "thoughtful". I don't care if it also happens to increase their numbers and recognition.

I bet you'd reject the free surface RT. Out of principal... O_o

I don't think the goal of the give away is to simply give them another computer, computers have been in the classroom for years now. The Surface RT is in direct competition with the Google ChromeBook and the strengths of that platform are the same with RT; long battery, inexpensive, sandboxed apps, incorruptible OS, secure, locked down, and inexpensively managed (InTune for RT). The new computing in the classroom is with thin clients. Both ChromeBook and RT fit that bill.

Ezekiel Carsella said,
surface pro would have been better

Why? They're appealing to folks that have the iPad, why not use the direct competitor to the iPad? Believe it or not there are advantages to the RT.

but the Surface Pro is better for educators or students like me. it has a digitizer for OneNote and for art teachers it would be invaluable, the power it possess is unmatched by the RT because the RT has some lag some times when doing some stuff, RT doesn't have every Metro apps for educators when they come to windows 8 (it took 2 months for Kno to come to RT after it came to 8), and the Pro has a better display.

Excellent marketing. Almost all of the schools here use iPads for the students instead of textbooks and the teachers have MacBooks.

Sounds like a very expensive school district. Then again, it's not fancy tools that make better students but better teaching skills and utilizing the most out of their current tools.