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Schools choose Windows 8 tablets over iPads and Android, thanks to existing Windows infrastructure

Microsoft is looking to take full advantage of existing Windows infrastructure in schools and universities. ZDNet spoke with two education technology chiefs who went with Dell Windows 8 tablets and rolled them out to students. The overall response has been positive, especially from the IT departments who can easily integrate the tablets into existing networks and systems.

It's stated both iOS and Android require new, separate management systems when added to existing infrastructure, while Windows tablets are able to fit right in. Since the tablets running Microsoft's OS (not RT, full Windows 8) are essentially PCs, they can be managed with System Center or other popular network management tools.

Not only that, but you're looking at full compatibility with existing software, including Microsoft Office. Much of the software used by the schools don't work on the iPad, just another bonus of having a full Windows experience.

The Clear Creek Independent School District near Houston is currently carrying out a rollout of Dell Latitude 10 tablets. Every student in the grade 4-12 district will receive one of the devices. They expect to have the deployment completed in 2 years. It's interesting to see OEMs getting involved with these rollouts and not Microsoft with its own Surface hardware.

Dell Latitude 10

Joining the above school is Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, which is firing out Latitude 10s to incoming fresmen and faculty. The plan is to deliver the hardware to all 2700 students and 500 faculty and staff in a timely fashion. It's worth noting that students don't get accessories or cases, but the university has an on-campus store where they stock said products for purchase.

We've covered numerous reports and announcements of companies and institutions looking at Microsoft's Windows 8 for their next investment. Tablets are being deployed from multiple OEM partners, as well as Microsoft, ensuring the ecosystem develops evenly.

Source: ZDNet; thanks, rye88, for the heads up!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • this is so true, I convinced one school to order 50 Microsoft Surface Pros for the classroom!
  • You're my hero.
  • U r awesome!!! ;)
  • You are the man!
  • and then you woke up and the dream was over?..
  • What convinced them the most is I let a handful of the teachers and IT staff barrow the Surface Pro for several week.  You really have to put these devices into their hands, then they will be moved to act!
  • If we can achieve the performance needed with baytrails, why would we need surface pro that priced higher? Baytrail should be enough for education purpose.
  • One of the major factors was the durability of the Surface Pro vapormag....  You're talking about school children grades 1-8 that will be using these tablets, they drop stuff all the time!
  • I work in IT at a school which has students using ipads, we get 2-3 students every week with broken screens. When replacing them they get a $100 saving on a refurbished one and their current taken... Such a rip
  • This is exactly what MS needs.  Get the OS/devices in the hands of students and only good things will happen.
  • Not if they freeze or hang like in past. This generation need to grow up knowing & learning that Windows is fast, sexy and cool!
  • Windows 8 has been very solid so far, so I don't think that will be an issue. Even on the greatly under powered Surface RT, its pretty damn smooth.
  • Windows 8 has performed perfectly for me.  For work and gaming I've had no issues, freezes, or blue screens.  People just don't like change and its pretty pathetic imo. Win8 is a great OS.
  • You and me saying this wont be enough. We want all those grade 4 to grade 12 to tell their friends, aunts, cats and drug dealers that "Windows is like SO cool and sexy and you know what o.m.g. its faaast".
  • Heheh, I agree man, totally.
  • I don't want my 4th grader to be saying sexy to describe a OS to their drug
  • That's why they need to get them in people's hands. They should do demo programs. Bring in surface tablets and let the school use them for a week or two. Once people use them, they will realize they are better than the competition in a lot of ways.
  • I've stated this before. Gotta get'em while there young. It worked for the cigarrette companies.
  • Bet the teachers would all like to rock the 20" panasonic tablets though.
  • Its not always about the size Martin, so what if they are hot teachers? ;)
  • Our school had all MIcrosoft infrastructure and hardware, but then they decided to roll out Google Apps. Now, they're in the middle of deploying a bunch of iPads.
  • One messed up IT department. I would change schools if they cant even make up their mind!
  • They also once made us write down all our passwords on a Word document. In a computer lab.
  • OMG,
    that tells you IT people are not running IT in schools
  • I agree, dude, your school must not prioritize its money very well if they keep changing entire infrastructures
  • My school always uses 1 generation old software. When Windows 8 came out, they finally upgraded to Windows 7 (from XP, so I guess they were two generations behind in that case), they finally got IE 9 when IE 10 came out, upgraded from Office 2007 (2003, in a few cases) to 2010 when Office 2013 came out, etc, etc. Despite everything being Microsoft, as of last year, my whole county started having a love affair with Google Docs. It's the current standard, they're training and encouraging all teachers to use it. I personally prefer SkyDrive, and thankfully my teachers usually accommodate (some are actually very impressed by how clean it looks and how well it formats and integrates with Microsoft Office). We're due for our next hardware upgrade in about a year or two (current computer infrastructure is all from 2006 & 2007, it's ancient and slow). I guess I best start campaigning now for Windows 8 tablets to be the device or choice, as to my knowledge, the school is going for tablets next. My whole county loves iOS, and Google Docs are pretty popular, so right now it's leaning upon iOS or Android. Hadn't given it much thought before, but now that I think about it, I need to start campaigning with my school's IT dept. to go with Windows 8. That will be the day, using Windows 8 tablets in school, should be awesome! Of course, with my upcoming Surface Pro 2 purchase, I'm going to be living that dream in just a few weeks. xD
  • I bought the original pro with the type cover and I LOVE it!!! I couldn't be more pleased with it. You will not regret it. As my buds over at newegg say the only con is it's not free ;)
  • My daughter just started college.  I was trying to decide over the summer what to get her.  Several things came to me almost at once.
     - a news report that macs are not as chic with the college age kids as they once were.  windows based ultrabooks are much more sought after
     - word that people using ios at this particular campus have to "jump through hoops" to submit their papers online. and finally and most importantly
     - my daughter said she definitely wanted a pc, NOT a mac.  And this is a kid who is symbiotically attached to her iph##e. 
  • Good for her!  Now get her switched to WP8 :)
  • Might as well write what I had in mind here lol you took a few words out of my mind exactly. Same situation here where I live in Miami, I have friends who are hardcore iFans and they still sort of had this mentality of Windows being "old and slow and slower over time" but when I showed them Windows 8 they kept asking me "wow does this new Windows really have an app store like my iPhone but I can still use the desktop and Office for school!?" I am trying little by little to inform as many friends as possible that Windows isn't what it used to be :) and true to what you stated, Mac has never and will never, take off in the college libraries and study rooms due to their support with most Schools programs deployed. Even certain websites that teachers use warn you of Mac browser not supported only use IE.
  • I do the same. Everyone never gave any thought towards anything but iPhones until I started walking my school halls with my Lumia (first a 900, and now a 1020). People generally are impressed, and Windows Phone is slowly but surely starting to become a "thing" amongst many in my school. Still a long ways to go, but many are starting to realize Windows has come a long ways from the days of yore.
  • Finally the world is waking up again. Now if i can persuade or company to roll out win8.1 tablets to our sales guys over laptops. ;)
  • I totally agree with you!  I work for a Fortune80 financial services company and it disgusts me how we have 98% Microsoft/Windows infrastructure and yet we roll out iPads to our Sales Team.  I have an iPad and those things are P.O.S.  I am writing a use-case to see if we can deploye Microsoft Surface Pros in the next technlology lifecycle instead of iPads....
  • I'd push for Surface 2 (RT)... it's lighter then the PRO and more comperable to the iPad.  Other then the lack of legacy app support, it's a great OS with alot of capability.  The only question is how well RT plays with IT and device management, etc.
  • I am going to push for Surface Pro 2 with a docking station. So that we can eliminated the Laptop and iPad combination and use one device, it's more cost effective that way considering the sales department is mostly on the road anyways....
  • I was never sure for what the world really needed a surface (pro): Too small for daily work and too expensive as a tablet.
    But the docking station changed my mind completely. To have access to a big screen with the complete pc-infrastructure AND the tablet-world with the same device is awesome. This makes so much sense.
  • Indeed, it's an awesome concept. Apple may be boasting 64-bit iOS and how it's "desktop class," but we over here in the Windows camp can enjoy a true desktop experience on a tablet. It's pretty awesome.
  • While I 100% agree with Microsoft pushing these into schools, I can't help but remember when that was the only way Apple was able to get market share. iMacs were the standard school computer in the 90's. I think this time is different though. Microsoft can truly leverage this position to push the platform to consumers and businesses.
  • They only had iMacs. Microsoft has Windows PC, Windows servers and now Windows tablet. A lot different.
  • As always, when a story like this comes out, I tweet it with @square in the beginning.  I really think small retail is something we need to start having a footprint in, and square has no winplans at this time.
  • They should have waited for the Venue Pro. I have a Latitude 10, but the CPU/GPU is a bit under powered. Otherwise its a solid device. I'm in the seed program and they haven't decided whether we will get the Baytrail version or the Haswell, but I'm hoping its the Haswell one.  The Clovertrail latitude 10 just wasn't powerful enough to do more complicated tasks.
  • For educational purposes, which mostly consist of research, using Office, collaborating online, etc., I think it should be more than fine. Except for maybe art students who are doing graphics or videos, they won't have to worry too much about the power of their tablet's CPU or GPU. Still more powerful than an iPad ;)
  • I hate to say it, most schools are gooing google chrome books becaue there is not configuring and teachers can can hand  them out.
    No Management
    no antivirus
    one location "google cloud" to control stuff like webfiltering now you don't need a firewall that does filtering
    you don't need a mail server with gmail
    you don't need a file server  with google apps
    one logon everything a kid needs ...
    I don't like this but schools don't want to spend money or fight with IT so they can controll everything without a need for IT
    if only a window RT device could logon to microsoft office 365 accout and do the same we would be purchasing all surface RT's but office 365 for education is completly different than a microsoft account
    a student can't logon to a RT Device with a students office 365 account
  • No antivirus? Ftw! Your privacy is at stake along with your whole network that is connected to that Chrome book. Don't get me started on access to porn.
  • I agree,
    but I'm only and IT person not an educatior and all I ever hear is
    why are all the other schools going google if its such a risk.
    why is the state approving chromebooks for PARCC is there is a security risk.
    if we go with chromebooks we dont need you to manage them..
    this is what I get hit will all the time. beleave me I fight it becaue I beleave our students need more than a web browser for education.
    they should be running code and other high powered software applacations for learning other. than a browser.
  • A school I work very closely with utilizes Office365 and .edu edition of Office365, this helps tremendosly and school do not need Sharepoint Servers, etc....
  • Im glad many schools dont work like you... because you totally dont know what you are talking about. I mean... if you believe in fairy tales its ok, but thats not reality. well... Im not even sure if you are IT or just making stuff up honestly. all I know its you dont know what you are talking about but its ok, chromebooks are the best /s
  • Don't know what you're on about, but this can be easily accomplished with Windows 8. Microsoft has come a long ways from the days of yore. Oh yeah, and Windows 8 is a real OS that integrates with already set-up infrastructure.
  • I'm with you SwimSwim but I can't fight anymore, I tried so hard for us to go Windows RT but the one thing that does not make it easy to manage like a chromebook is the Microsoft account.
    for example we create Office 365 accounts daily for the students, If I could had them a Surface RT and they could logon to that surface with their Office 365 account. I would have pretty much 0 Management ...
    that is what google and chromebooks are doing in education.
    you go to google cloud management like office 365 and create a account for the students let them have access to email, storage and one thing MS does not have is the filtering but that is fine.
    this can't be done right now with office 365 accounts
    they are not Microsoft Accounts so the student can't logon to the surface without him or her creating their own Microsoft accounts
    or with a windows 8 machine we would control the domain accounts . if an office 365 account and a Microsoft account were one of the same I would be saying we are all in with Windows 8 RT's. we need to purchase over 3,000 devices for students over then next 3 years for PARCC Testing. Google has this down so easy..
  • Google services potentially violate FERPA laws in the US, and many school districts are now being challenged on that decision.
    Hope it works out for them, as Google doesn't indemnify the district if things get legally murky.
  • Ordeith,
    this is good but were did you find that schools are fighting this with Google, I really need proof or hard evedence that they are breaking the law,
    I know that they track and keep everything but I have yet to see a school district prove or fight them on this matter.
  • When a School district uses Google it isn't Google that is breaking the law, it is the school district.
    It therefore takes concerned parents and students (and maybe a lawyer or two) to pressure the school district from outside.  It doesn't take much before they realize the liability risk is HUGE, especially when Microsoft is waiting with free Office 365.
    Microsoft will also negotiate their TOS to comply with your district policies.
    Microsoft will also indemnify your district with regard to legal issues.
    Google will do none of those things.  Google is "use at your own risk" and for some that risk is HUGE.
  • Also, an Office 365 account can be a microsoft account with access to all devices and services an institution offers.  It takes a little active directory integration and InTune MDM to work seamlessly with Windows RT, but it can be done.
  • Its more than a little work from what I have seen you need a federation server setup and Also setting up a system center is a huge project.
  • Gibby - Any email address can be a Microsoft Account, and a Microsoft Account is all that is required to login to a Surface RT device. This also means that every Office 365 account (students, businesses, whoever) works with a Surface RT, because they are Microsoft accounts.
  • Hope your school district is not planning on using them with students younger than high school (well, 13 years old, to be exact) Many (most) cloud-based / online resources do NOT permit usage by kids under 13... might want to show your school district my video "Chromebook Caveats":
  • My wife and I watched our 2yr old daughter interact with our RT and iPad and it was very clear, by watching her, how much more intuitive the RT/W8 interface is. It seems like there wasn't as steep of a learning curve for her to navigate her way around the W8, she easily figured out how to switch apps, go home, pick a new app, etc. When she used the iPad she didn't seem to use it so easily - she seemed to get a little hung up moving around the home screen(s).
    A very good step for the W8 platform - that along with the super-sized touchscreens as Fox news.
  • Ha ha, I guess they call it the Fisher Price OS for a reason :P But that's awesome, capturing the mind's of the younger crowd will tremendously help MS in the future. Apple currently has loyal buyers for years to come because they got a bunch of high schoolers and college students hooked on iPods, iOS and Macbooks. But it's great to hear how little kids can just pick up Windows 8 and figure it out. I guess it really isn't any less intuitive than iOS, it's just all the old farts got used to iOS and Windows 7, and don't want to change. :P
  • Love to hear these kinds of stories.
  • Most schools just updated to Windows 7 we will see how long it will take for this to roll out.
  • Sadly, my school uses iPads for our high school education. Our textbooks are on it. Wish we got surface's instead. But everyone here are iZealots. :(
  • My daughters school just purchased 25 Surface RTs over iPads. Its a start and it seems like they really like them.
  • Good! Folks starting to open their eyes or more or less BRAINS.
  • This is awesome, but I don't know why they're using latitude 10's. Old Atom is slow and definitely not good enough. That will not necessarily be that great of a windows experience for them. The mew atom would have been worlds better.
  • Probably because price is a big factor here. Especially when talking about buying 2700 devices. Schools have limited resources to use and hey also don't need the latest hardware.
  • Well, the current atom tablets are avalible now while the bay trail devies are not yet released, obiously the schools can't wait too long if they are intending to use the tablets in the classroom. Clover trail is also completely usable, sure it might stutter a little in the desktop and the graphics performance is not something to write home about for games, but it's stil a a processor with about the same cpu power as my old laptop which played all the games back in 2005 when running windows XP. The biggest probem with clover trail has been the abysmal driver support for the devices during the first months after the release, it was crash heaven fo a while back then. It is likely that Dell has worked this out in their business tablet line... Some of the reviews of clover trail devices on amazon show that they have run office, matlab, photoshop and other serious desktop program with satisfactory results if you have realistic expectations. The tech reviiewers instead loaded up heavy 3D games, or huge files in photoshop and complained that it was not as fast as an i7 laptop. I used my Vivo tab as travel laptop while abroad and edited a presentation for a lecture on it without any problems. Sure my Thinkpad is faster, and got a better keyboard, but the flexibility of Windows hybrids to allow an ultra long battery life together with a tablet for reading long documents and PDFs while travelling often makes it the better choice if I m only bringing one device.
  • It Just a matter of time before everyone used W8 at least once.
  • Not for LAUSD, because they are STUPID!
  • That is not only awesome, but it's the smart thing to do also ;)
  • That's a no brainer...
  • Umm, pretty sure SCCM still requires Windows Intune subscriptions for W8 mobile devices and you get almost the same functionality in IOS with the same cost per device.. that being said, you can do more with SCCM natively to W8 devices without an InTune subscription.. As much as i like Windows devices, MDM may not really be part of the reason?
  • Its probably more to the point with providing a common platform across desktops and mobile devices with cost savings in licensing and providing the same user experience on all devices and reducing the need for additional software to use/manage.. Annoyingly though, they will still be able to install Google products without a carefully planned GPO for software restrictions despite user level privileges and UAC in full effect.. as an SOE engineer, i hate Google (and users lol)
  • InTune is not required for Pro and Enterprise levels of Windows, which these things have.
  • It's articles like this that I wish I could have brought up during all the anti MS that I hear from Apple people. "MS is only so big cause it had a monopoly." Well guess what, Apple has been "big" for about 5+ years now, and they still haven't replaced MS in this section of society. MS is still leading in schools and businesses, not cause of any monopoly, but cause they have good products. 9 out of 10 people would choose office before the Apple version.
  • MSFT's strategy = death by a thousand cuts.
  • Well I hope Microsoft wakes up and blabs this to every school and their respective PTA/PTOs in the country, because right now the PTOs for the schools in one of the largest districts in my state are all gag-gag over iPad for students.
  • I think Microsoft Family Safety is another massive unsung feature that families would buy a Windows tablet for... if they knew it existed through marketting.
  • My school has also adopted Windows 8, but the got the students HP Envy 2s....I liken this device to a Leap Pad.  What concerned me the most was in the first day when trying to access certain webpages, my Lumia 920 would pull the page up faster than the Atom processor in these devices.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  HP is the reason people make the switch to Apple.  The quality is just not good, about as good as AT$T customer service.  I know some of you will try to cover for HP but this envy is just not capable of running programs like Kerbal Space Program, Lego Digital Designer, Scratch, Kudo Game Designer or any of the other amazing tools out there for education.  I wish they would have gotten us Surface Pros, or something with a real processor.
  • I don't know about Surfaces, but Grove City College(PA) is giving all the faculty Windows Phones now.  One I know has a 1020, and one got a 920.
  • This is good to see as I am right down the street in Alvin, TX. I'm the IT Manager and I began rolling windows 8 in our enterprise last year and will be completing the rollout this year.
  • My school only goes for the ipads :(
  • "Essentially" i.e. They ARE. PC = function, tablet = form factor.
  • I want my school to give me a tablet, geez.
  • The schools in central Missouri ordered iPads. I think it's ridiculous personally. There's no need for tablets in school, and plus you're committing to upgrade, cuz the tablets will be obsolete in a year or two