I attended a big launch event for Windows Vista and Office 2007 in Boston today. Over 2,500 people, mostly from business, showed up to get a good look at these new products. We did have a group of students and teachers from Minuteman Tech and I think they got a lot out of the event. They seemed to have fun at least. And they all had answers when we asked them questions about the demos and talks.
Since I've been running various versions of Vista and Office 2007 since the early betas you'd think I'd be bored watching the demos and hearing the talks but that wasn't the case. In fact there is so much in their products that I learned a good bit that I didn't already know. I've been trying some of them out tonight.
One thing that is not exactly part of Windows Vista or Office 2007 that I found particularly interesting and that I think will be very useful in schools was the new deployment tools. I think that a lot of schools will find some value in the Business Desktop Deployment or BDD software. BDD is "the best practice set of comprehensive guidance and tools to optimally deploy desktops running Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows XP, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, or Microsoft Office 2003." If you have a lab, several labs or a whole LAN to manage these tools are something you really want to look into.
The BDD lets you create images that can be deployed on computers on the LAN over the network without user interaction. An advantage of deploying Windows Vista is that you don't have to have multiple images for different hardware configurations because of improvements in the install process. But even with Windows XP installations these tools should be useful.