Soooooo last night I stayed up until 1:30am (Aussie time) to watch Microsoft's Live Education event to "learn what's next". After a long day today and many cups of coffee, I am not so sure it was the best decision. Through the haze of blurred vision and incessant yawning I got a preview of some of the exciting products Microsoft have developed specifically aimed at the Education sector. This presentation communicated a strong message to me - that Microsoft are paying attention to the needs of schools, students and teachers and are working hard to deliver. It was a reminder to other players in the game, that they need to step up their game and not neglect education.
Minecraft Code Builder
Code Builder for Minecraft: Education Edition is a brand-new feature that allows educators and students to explore, create, and play in an immersive Minecraft world. Partnering with familiar learn-to-code platforms like ScratchX, Tynker, and a new open platform called Microsoft MakeCode, players can not only develop computational thinking but can also apply their creations across the curriculum.
Shiny New Devices and Operating Systems
The event also introduced the new Surface Laptop which is just plain sexy to look at and sits at a competitive entry point as a student device. It should be noted that selecting improved specs does make the device considerably more expensive, but these specs are not necessarily required by a student. The most appealing features of the Surface Notebook include: