What you need to know
- Microsoft announced several affordable devices to help educators ahead of BettFest 2021.
- The devices include a $20 digital pen and LTE capable PCs starting at just $185.
- Microsoft also announced improvements to Teams for Education.
Ahead of BettFest 2021, Microsoft announced several new devices to help educators and students improve education without breaking a budget. Among the new devices are the LTE capable PCs starting at just $185 and a more affordable successor to the Microsoft Classroom Pen. Microsoft also announced improvements to Microsoft Teams to help educators check in on students.
Microsoft highlights that student performance improves by up to 36 percent when using a pen rather than just a keyboard. To improve access to digital pens, Microsoft announced the Microsoft Classroom Pen 2. The Microsoft Classroom Pen 2 has a longer enclosure than the original Microsoft Pen and is more affordable at just $20.
Here are the affordable PCs that Microsoft unveiled, many of which support LTE:
- Acer TravelMate Spin B3, starting at $329
- AcerTravelMate B3, starting at $239
- Asus ExpertBook BR1100, starting at $279
- JP-IK Leap Connect T304, starting at $229
- JP-IK Leap T304, starting at $185
Microsoft's device catalog lists several affordable PCs, including some of these new devices. Exact pricing seems to vary a bit, but there are devices currently listed with a starting price under $200.
With school districts ordering devices in bulk, the cost of devices can quickly add up. Having an option for a PC starting at just $185 and a digital pen for $20 can help students have access to technology.
Learning from home creates unique challenges and can affect students in ways that might be difficult to see through virtual classrooms. To help educators check on students, Microsoft has 'Reflect' within Microsoft Teams. Reflect lets educators check in on students and provides a way for students to share how they're feeling in general or about specific topics. This spring, Reflect will receive an update to have its own app within Teams and integrate with Education Insights.
In its announcement of the new technology, Microsoft states that over 200 million people use Microsoft Education products, including students, faculty, institutional leaders, and teachers.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.