Microsoft Announces Windows 10 Education for Schools

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Pexels, Creative Commons)

Microsoft has announced the launch of Windows 10 Pro Education and Windows 10 Education specially designed for the unique needs of K-12 institutions. The tech giant aims to make the most of the new additions bundled into the Anniversary Update.

Both variations join the already available Windows 10 SKUs (stock keeping units) that will be updated and launched alongside the Anniversary Update on 2nd August.

The key differences count the inclusion of education-focused features that make the product more accessible to teachers and students, writes Nicole Gorman of Education World. Earlier this spring, Microsoft revealed more information on what some of these features would be.

For instance, “Set Up Schools PC” is a newly-added feature which allows educators to set up shared devices in their classrooms in just three quick steps. In addition, schools with IT support can call for the updated Windows Imaging and Configuration Designer tool.

“Take the Test” is another new feature that provides standardized testing for a classroom or a whole institution. All the features mentioned above, plus several more, are part of the Microsoft ambition to redifine the classroom of the 21st century.

Windows 10 Pro Education is a new version based on the commercial Pro version. As for the Education edition, it is built upon the Windows’ Enterprise version. The devices purchased with discounted K-12 academic licenses from OEM partners will get Windows 1o Pro Education by default.

Microsoft points out that customers who have already purchased Windows 10 Pro can configure their OS to have the very same capabilities and settings as Windows 10 Pro Education using policies. However, it may require some additional work, states the company. The default Windows 10 Education SKU will still be available.

According to Microsoft, K-12 institutions need to have certain control levels on the OS, writes Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet. Therefore, it provides numerous management control tools as well as some education-specific default settings. These settings are meant to disable tips, tricks, suggestions, and the help center, and Microsoft will not show any app suggestions in the Start Menu, notes Simon Sharwood of The Register.

Fully equipped with education-specific default settings, it also includes the option of removing Cortana, Microsoft’s voice assistant. Anmol Sachdeva of Tech Portal notes that a Microsoft spokesperson said the main aim of expelling Cortana was to protect students from potentially unwanted and sometimes inappropriate content on the Internet, . He also added that the company is considering including again eventually:

“While we have no timing to share, we are very committed to Cortana and are exploring how to bring the feature back that makes sense in an educational setting.”

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update launches on August 2 and will come with a long list of much-anticipated improvements, including extension support in the Edge browser and ending with Windows Ink, a feature that allows customers to use the operating system with a pen in a much more efficient way, writes Bogdan Popa of Softpedia.