Wow! Free computers. Hard to ignore that one. If you are heading out to San Antonio for ISTE 2013 Microsoft has a deal for you. They are giving away free Microsoft Surface RT computers to attendees from eligible schools. There is a some simple paperwork to make sure no ethics violations take place. The computer is for the school and for academic use after all. But what a deal!
You must register online and have your school official and/or ethics officer sign a gift acknowledgement letter provided to you by Microsoft, and adhere to all the other Windows in the Classroom Surface Experience Project terms. Offer ends June 25, 2013. Please see for project details and full offer terms and conditions.
The project is called the Windows in the Classroom Surface Experience Project and it seems like a pretty good deal to me. If I were going to ISTE I would sure take advantage of it. I don’t actually have a Surface RT myself. But I’d like one. I have a Windows 8 Slate and I like it but a Surface would be better for what I want a slate for.
The Surface RT doesn’t have the ability to run traditional Windows Apps and I’d still use my Samsung for developing using Visual Studio but the Surface should be ideal for TouchDevelop work and with a great web browser and the RT versions of Office I’d be pretty well set for everything else I do. Especially with that cool keyboard/cover that my Samsung doesn’t have. So this would be great for travel.
I think it would be great in the classroom as well. There are some apps I was looking at using in the fall already at The Teacher Collection Apps site. Seating charts, lesson planning, essay grading and more.
This is a big risk for Microsoft BTW. They are spending a ton of money on it (I assume – I have no inside information since I’ve been gone from Microsoft for 9 months or so). I suspect that they believe (hope) that once teachers get these in their hands and start using them they will find them as useful if not more useful than iPads. If teachers give them a fair chance that may be true. If if does it will help Microsoft combat the “oh its an Apple isn’t that wonderful” attitude that seems to be pervasive in education. If Microsoft is smart these Surfaces will come pre-loaded with a bunch of apps so that teachers don’t have to do too much looking for them on their own. Lucas Moffitt’s Teachers Collection or other apps like that would be a good start.
Ray Fleming in Australia has a good list of Windows 8 Education Apps and of course the Windows 8 Store shows many as well. So it should not be too hard to find something useful.