In a lengthy blog post Terry Myerson, Executive VP for Windows and devices at Microsoft, unveiled a brand new operating system. Windows 10 S, built upon Windows Pro, is designed specifically to be used by students in the classroom. Windows 10 S is launching this Summer.
“As part of our mission at Microsoft, we believe technology can be used as a tool to empower students and teachers to create the world of tomorrow,” writes Myerson. Myerson notes what many in tech and education have realized – tech skills and knowledge are woefully under-taught in schools. Computer science skills are increasingly in demand and continue rising with each passing year.
Back in my day we had Macintosh computers in the computer lab, but these days Microsoft Windows dominates in schools. Windows 10 S is a more closed system where all applications are acquired and run through the Windows Store. This helps streamlines performance but potentially limits what programs students can use, which has already drawn some criticism:
Unity 3D blocked!
Unreal Engine blocked!
Photoshop (the real application) – blocked! Blender – blocked!
Microsoft Visual C++ – blocked!
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) May 3, 2017
Windows 10 S does allow any teacher or admin to switch Windows 10 S to Windows 10 Pro, which allows them to install any app. But it’s designed to keep students in a contained and structured environment, which for K-12 may not be such a bad idea.
For college students and older, Microsoft has announced the Surface Laptop. The new tablet-like device is powered with Windows 10 S and boasts up to 14.5 hours of battery life. It features a 13.5″ screen and an i7 core processor. The Surface Laptops start at $999 and will launch on June 15. It is now available for pre-order.
Educators and students will be able to purchase a variety of Windows 10 S PCs starting at $189. It includes Minecraft: Education Edition and Microsoft Office 365. Windows 10 S will be launching this Summer.