MobilityTablets

Department For Education Goes Mobile With Microsoft Tablets

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

DfE will roll out Microsoft Book and Surface Pro 4 devices to its 5,000 employees

The Department for Education (DfE) has started using Microsoft Surface devices as part of a digital transformation programme to help staff be more mobile, collaborative and efficient.

The government department has offered its 5,000 employees either a Surface Book or a Surface Pro 4, as it aims to transform how its employees work and interact with schools on a day-to-day basis.

The DfE oversees around 20,000 schools in England and, along with other government departments, has been under pressure to increase efficiency in order to cut costs.

surface book

Surface power

“We have seen significant technology modernisation over the past 18 months, and the Surface devices have been a big part of that,” said Adrian Tucker, chief technology officer at the DfE.

“The Surface Book has been a core part of our mobility and productivity; it’s allowed us to use a device that’s secure in a mobile way. We have also upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 10 and we are able to collaborate, share documents and use the cloud. We haven’t had these benefits before, and now we want to exploit the technology.”

Tucker added that the “annotation and collaboration capabilities” of the Surface Pro 4 were key to the department’s decision, with the Surface Book also being favoured because of its dual laptop and tablet functionality.

Microsoft has plenty of past experience in the education sector, having released an education edition of the hugely popular block-based building game Minecraft and expanding its HoloLens augmented reality system into schools and colleges.

But it’s not the only company taking an interest in education technology, a growing sector which the UK government pledged to support at edtech expo Bett 2017 earlier this year.

HP, for example, recently revealed the ProBook x360 11 G1 Education Edition, a rugged convertible laptop aimed at the education market and has partnered with LEGO for an initiative which aims to boost the level of technology skills amongst young people.

Apple is also working hard to get more of its hardware and software used in schools and Raspberry Pi has now become a mainstay in the education system throughout the UK.

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