Personal Tech

Firms pushing devices at teachers that let kids draw... on a screen? You BETT

Newsflash from Microsoft: Future of learning will be supported by teachers and technology

By Rebecca Hill

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Hold on to your hats, Reg readers - Microsoft has some ground-breaking news to offer you: kids of the future are going to need collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity skills for work.

Ever the committed educationalist, Redmond has commissioned McKinsey & Co to carry out some research that shows how much teachers and kids love tech what the "class of 2030" needs to prepare for work.

The results of the survey of 2,000 teachers and 2,000 students - that no doubt cost Microsoft a pretty penny - are a set of blindingly obvious observations.

They include the idea that students want personalised, not automated, instructions, and that learning is still going to be supported by teachers as well as technology.

“Teaching as a profession is one of the least likely to be automated in the future,” says the research.

Microsoft, not to be deterred, is pushing out a new set of Windows 10 devices to try and force some technology into the classroom.

The new devices, launched to coincide with edtech conference BETT, will be “tough enough to survive any school day”, says Microsoft.

They’re spill resistant, ruggedized and have an all-day battery life to “ensure children can use the PCs for long periods” - and of course all of this has the happy side effect of introducing kids to Microsoft products as early as possible.

So what features have these devices got? There's Inking, “which lets children draw on the screen using their fingers or Microsoft’s pen”. Far be it from us to point out that kids can do this drawing thing with paper and a real pen, for a fraction of the cost.

Let’s be fair, though, what about "3D" - that lets kids "create and edit three-dimensional objects". You can’t do that in real life… oh, hang on. Plasticine, you say?

But Microsoft is keen to point out that it does understand the real issues facing the education sector.

As corporate veep of Windows and devices group at Microsoft Yusuf Mehdi shrewdly observed, “affordability is priority number one for many schools”. That's why some of the PCs are as cheap as $189 a pop!

Just make sure you don’t watch those purse strings too much, teachers - because "shrinking budgets can sometimes force schools to choose devices with a stripped-down experience and a limited lifespan, and, over time, these devices cost schools more and do less to prepare students for the future". ®

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