REDMOND, Wash., March 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- 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.
"Microsoft recognizes that in order to be prepared for future success in today's competitive global economy, students must have technology skills employers demand, plus relevant, 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, communication and collaborations abilities, problem-solving, and greater awareness of the global community," said Margo Day, vice president of U.S. Education, Microsoft. "Windows 8 is helping schools modernize learning by supporting new education standards, online assessments and the move to digital learning by providing a powerful platform where content can be easily consumed and created, and a connection to the cloud where collaboration opportunities can be reimagined."
In addition to improving learning experiences that are needed in the work place, Windows 8 provides students with a beautiful, modern way to consume content, and allows them the freedom to create, collaborate, produce and share across a range of devices, with flexibility for pen, mouse and keyboard inputs. It also saves schools time and money, reducing IT and ongoing maintenance costs and providing enterprise-ready security, reliability and management fundamentals.Schools Benefiting From Windows 8 "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." In addition to the support Windows provides students as they prepare for college and careers, 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 seamless access to their desktop experience, Office 365 Education, and Office Web Apps from school or any offsite PC or device. "We want our students to use the same tools that professionals do on a daily basis," said Dave Williamson, district chief information officer. "With this anytime, anywhere access to Windows 8 and Office 365 Education, we know that when they go to enter college or the job market they will be ahead of the curve with this knowledge of the latest technology available."
- Barry University ( Florida). The university plans to move its full inventory of 2,815 desktops and laptops to Windows 8 to complement its BYOD program and benefit its 8,700 students and over 1,200 full-time employees. Along with the use of Office 365 Education, there will be true integration and access to all campus resources, which will result in increased productivity and collaboration.
- 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 designed to meet the learning needs of students in the 21st century both inside and outside the classroom. The district was looking for a lightweight, touch screen tablet with great battery life that students could use for reading, researching, content creation and sharing their work. For IT director Bill Westrick, "Windows 8 provides the 'no compromises' experience everyone has been looking for. It doesn't force us to choose between a device that you can only read from and that doesn't connect to a keyboard, or a device geared toward creating documents, presentations and other projects. It's the best of both worlds: Teachers and students will be able to leverage existing curriculum and resources already used in the classroom."
- Fresno Unified School District ( California). To prepare all students to be successful in college and career, 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. In addition, the combination of Windows 8 tablet devices as part of its Office 365 Education initiative and its move toward 1:1 will enable anytime, anywhere learning experiences and real-time collaboration teaching students critical 21st century skills.
- 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 one 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.
- Pace University ( New York). Windows 8 has been installed across the campus labs, and further testing and pilot projects are under way at Pace where it is building out classroom technology at a very rapid pace to provide the most state-of-the-art learning experiences for students. It will deploy Windows 8 across 10,000 desktops and devices.
- 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.
- Thomas College (Maine). Students expect the latest technology that will best enable them to be productive and mobile, and they can now download Windows 8 and Office 2013 software for free thanks to the school's Microsoft Campus Agreement. Furthermore, the school has rolled out Windows 8 to all desktops and laptops campuswide. The IT department is impressed with the startup speed of Windows 8, performance, hardware variety and touch interface.
- 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 partnered with the district to address how it could meet these educational standards with the Microsoft suite, and technology education teacher David Dileo stated: "We looked at how we could meet the state requirements, increase digital literacy, decrease the digital divide, and prepare our students to compete in a digital world."