Microsoft Corp. today announced that 10 K–12 school districts and higher-education institutions have signed on to use Windows 8 for more than 540,000 students and faculty to prepare students for futures in college and careers. Microsoft’s expanding community of Windows 8 education adopters now includes Apollo Group, Atlanta Public Schools, Barry University, Fargo Public Schools, Fresno Unified School District, Jackson-Madison County School System, Pace University, San Antonio Independent School District, Thomas College and Tuckahoe Common School District.
“We chose Windows 8 because we need much more than a consumption-only device for online assessments to help prepare students for success,” said Chuck Jones, chief of technology at Jackson-Madison County School System. “On another operating system, the IT and app management of 1,200 separate devices for teachers would have been too overwhelming.”
Educators are choosing Windows 8 for a range of needs:
• Apollo Group (across the U.S.). Windows 8 is currently being tested in Apollo’s Product Support and Validation Lab, and provided as a virtual desktop via Hyper-V to application developers and student support teams for testing student-facing applications. The adult education and online learning company supports 324,000 students and 25,500 employees worldwide and are building out a standard desktop image, including Office 2013, and making it available to developers and testers in anticipation of a larger rollout in the near future. The most common reason for testing Windows 8 will be the proliferation of touch-based devices and shift to a more mobile workforce, coupled with the increased demand for work-life combination devices.
• Atlanta Public Schools (Georgia). Atlanta Public Schools is among the largest metro area school districts, and its 48,000 students will have access to Windows 8 across 25,000 virtual desktops. Staff designed their own student digital portfolio learning application using SharePoint, which grants students access to their desktop, Office 365 Education, and Office Web Apps from school or any offsite PC or device.
• Fargo Public Schools (North Dakota). More than 3,000 students will be receiving Dell Latitude 10 tablets as part of Fargo’s 1:1 computing initiative. The district was looking for a lightweight, touch screen tablet with good battery life that students could use for reading, researching, content creation and sharing their work.
• Fresno Unified School District (California). The fourth largest school district in California will be standardizing on Windows 8 as its desktop operating system for 10,000 teachers/staff and more than 73,000 students. The Windows 8 environment will prepare the district to align with curriculum and assessment standards supporting the Common Core initiative.
• Jackson-Madison County School System (Tennessee). Supporting 13,000 students and 2,000 staff members, Jackson-Madison County School System will leverage Windows Multipoint Server 2012 to deploy Windows 8 so that a single desktop can serve up to four students, maximizing cost savings. The district will also start to implement its 1:1 computing initiative this fall.
• San Antonio Independent School District (Texas). Deploying Windows 8, it will provide 22,000 students with access to Windows 8 tablets in its 33 libraries to encourage reading engagement among students and increase the availability of curriculum resources.
• Tuckahoe Common School District (New York). Supporting grades K–8, TCSD has adopted the Surface Pro, Windows 8 and Office 365 Education to help comply with the New York State Education Department’s requirement, in association with PARCC for digital testing.
Microsoft is conducting 700 Windows in the Classroom seminars across the country before the end of the school year. Those wanting to sign up for a session and to learn more about how technology can be incorporated into existing curriculum and how 1:1 device programs can help expand learning outside the traditional classroom walls should visit http://mie.ncce.org/wic. Schools can also register for the Partners in Learning Network (http://www.pil-network.com) to access a global network of educators sharing best practices, free software tools and tutorials, and lesson plans. Specific Windows 8 training materials can be found at http://www.pil-network.com/pd/course/wic.