Microsoft details new educational features coming in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft has published a blog post today detailing what features would be coming to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update that are tailored for the classroom.

Schools can often be a primary battleground for tech companies, as the OS that children learn how to use is likely to be the one that they will continue to use beyond school. Many schools have adopted Chromebooks or iPads. In fact, Apple recently released iOS 9.3, which contained a ton of educational features.

According to Futuresource, Microsoft is still the leader in this market, with 47% of the K-12 OS share. Microsoft wants to hang onto that lead.

The firm notes four problems: 90% of schools use shared devices so it can take too long for students to get to work, 50% of teachers are their own tech support, 60% of teachers purchase and load apps themselves, and over half of the students in the world don't have ready access to technology.

These are the new features that are coming for educators:

  • Faster, simpler set up with all new tools to help educators get up and running quickly.

  • The Anniversary Update simplifies the deployment process so a teacher can set up devices in three easy steps, even with no dedicated IT support, with an all new “Set up School PCs” app for setting up a ‘Shared Cart of Devices’ in schools.

  • For schools with dedicated IT support, the updated Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer tool enables them to set-up shared devices, in bulk, in a matter of minutes.

  • And, Windows 10 is faster than ever, with an average first log-in of 26 seconds and subsequent log-ins of 6 seconds*, helping classes with shared devices get productive quickly.

  • Secure Assessments with ‘Take a Test’ App: Teachers and schools need advanced, secure tools for modern test-taking and new tools can simplify standardized testing for a variety of test taking needs.

  • An all-new “Take a Test” app offers simplified options for test-taking: For high-stakes tests, the app creates a browser-based, locked-down environment for more secure, online assessments, for tests that shouldn’t have copy/paste privileges, access to files, or other distractions. For simple formative and quizzing needs, the app couples with a teacher’s preferred assessment website to deliver digital assessments.

  • Windows Update Improvements: New ‘active hour’ policies enable devices to update outside of class times so classrooms can stay productive and efficient without disruptions, while helping to keep devices secure and up-to-date.

  • Education Ready Windows Store: Teachers can easily find, acquire, and assign free and paid apps in the Windows Store for Business. With more than 5 billion visits to the Windows Store, a vibrant storefront is available for educators, with all new apps for experiences from FluidMath, a handwriting-based educational math app, to Kno, which offers a library of over 200K books and simulations for all grade levels, StaffPad for music composition, BrainPOP and more.

Of course, there are new features for students as well. Those include Cortana improvements and of course, Windows Ink. With Windows Ink, students will be able to easily take notes, draw on a whiteboard, annotate documents, and more.

Finally, there's Minecraft: Education Edition. Microsoft will be launching an early access program for this in June.

Source: Windows Blog

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