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Mace & Crown | September 25, 2017

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Microsoft Shows Off Surface Laptop, New Features

Audra Reigle
Technology Editor

Educators and students can look forward to new innovations by Microsoft. The company held an event at 12:30 p.m. EDT on May 2, where they revealed new products and features for already existing products.

“Today’s event is about education and technology,” Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, said. “More specifically, it is about empowering the students of today to create the world of tomorrow.”

The Microsoft Surface Laptop was unveiled at the event. It comes with Windows 10 S preinstalled, and it comes in four colors: burgundy, graphite gold, platinum and cobalt blue. It features a 13.5-inch display, backlit keys and 14.5 hours of battery life. The Microsoft Surface Laptop starting price is $999, and preorders are available now. The device will launch on June 15.

Windows 10 S was designed for students. It was described by Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, as “the soul of today’s Windows.” It runs on all Windows 10 devices, and it comes with a new default desktop image. All apps are downloaded from the Windows Store. If a user tries to download an app from the internet, the device will not allow you to download it and instead suggest an app that’s on the Windows Store as an alternative. If a user really wanted to use that particular app, they could switch to Windows 10 Pro instead. New Windows 10 Education PCs will be available starting at $189 this summer, and they will come with a free one-year subscription to Minecraft Education Edition.

“We’ve taken everything that teachers need and millions of people love about Windows 10 and created a new Windows experience that’s ideal for all of our creative endeavors inside and out of the classroom,” Myerson said.

Microsoft also took the time to show off other new features launching this year. One of those features was Microsoft Office 365 with Microsoft Teams. It is an experience that can be customized by the teacher for their courses, and it supports video calls and co-authoring in all Microsoft Office programs. It will launch worldwide this summer.

Code-Builder is now available as an extension for Minecraft Education Edition users. It allows players to control their character using code. The extension can be activated by typing “/code” into the text box, and players will be able to choose from one of the preinstalled options or add one of their own. An agent will assist players in executing the code you write, but it can also be run without the agent using JavaScript.

Mixed Reality Education will allow the real world and the digital world to come together. Microsoft introduced two programs for students and educators. Paint 3D will allow users to create 3D models and starting in the fall, they will be able to put them in PowerPoints. Viewing Mixed Reality will allow users to bring virtual objects into the classroom.

Windows Mixed Reality headsets will allow users to travel to places they may not be able to. Education company Pearson will offer courses in commerce, history, health and STEM starting in the 2018 school year on Windows Mixed Reality headsets. The new headset, Microsoft HoloLens, will be available this holiday season starting at $299.

Education and technology have been brought together to try and improve the lives of students and educators at all levels. Many of these new features come out later this year, so we’ll just have to wait to see how they perform.