Contained within last week’s blog post announcing the 10% educational discount on the Surface 3, was a case-study video shot at Wymondham High Academy, all about the effects of such a device on the day to day endeavours of a student. Harry Traynor, a Microsoft Global Ambassador and student at Wymondham, was the one lucky enough to have the film crews following him around, and he has very kindly written the follow blog post for us to elaborate upon how the Surface 3 in education is helping him to work more effectively, and more freely.
To refresh your memory, here’s that video once again:
Wymondham High Academy in the UK uses Surface 3 and digital inking to engage students and teachers: “With the superior inking capabilities and the use of OneNote in the Classroom, Surface 3 will truly begin to empower teachers to integrate the use of technology in the classroom across the curriculum.” – Kevin Sait, Head of IT Strategy
Surface 3 in education – a student’s view
by Harry Traynor
Where should I start. I think it is important to say that I have used a wide range of Surface devices including the RT’s and Pro 3. I have enjoyed using all of them and they all have their advantages. However for me it was definitely the Surface 3 that was the best. It is the lightest of them all and as a student the most convenient to fit into my existing routine. Most often I would find myself trying to fit a massive laptop into my school bag with a large bulky charger just to get through the day, but now I am able to slip a slim device straight into my bag in the morning and last a full working day with one charge. That’s probably the best feature for me – being a student you aren’t always near a power source or have to concentrate, so charging on and off all day is an inconvenience. The Surface 3 enables me to really just get stuck into the learning rather than worrying about the finding the charging point for the technology.
When it comes to the power of this device and its performance, it handles all of my everyday workflows easily. And when mixed with something like OneDrive and Office 365 (available to students and teachers at no cost), it becomes even better. This is where I can sync my documents and settings across the cloud, making them accessible on all of my devices. By using a Nokia 930 (phone) as well as a desktop machine, having a feature like this really enables me to work more efficiently and removes the need to carry around a USB all the time. Everyone knows USB sticks have a mind of their own and like to get themselves lost, so being able to pick up my documents wherever I am on whatever device whilst not having to worry about them being lost or eaten by a pet is a seriously cool addition to my toolset. Since our school is a fairly heavy user of Office 365 and its surrounding products, a device like the Surface 3 just fits in and works from the word go.
I think when it comes to taking notes, as much as paper is great and it has had a place in the way we do lessons for a long time, the Surface 3 is really something to be aware of. In the past it has always been that the Surface Pro 3 has a high cost point for a student, which has meant the amazing inking features it came with weren’t utilised. But with the introduction of the Surface 3 at our school this has changed greatly. Something that was a big problem before inking was that I would take a large amount of notes in my lessons but neglect to revise from them due to the amount of time it could take to find the right resource. But paired with OneNote and the Surface 3, making notes can actually be made easier. I say this because the amount of awesome features OneNote have put into their desktop and mobile apps is crazy. One of these being you can take a picture of the teacher’s whiteboard with the Office Lens app (available on Windows phone and iOS) which will automatically work out the angle of that and make it square again, and finally read all of the text that was on it in searchable format, and send it straight to my OneNote. This feature for me is a game changer as it isn’t all about the sudden move away from old technology like a whiteboard, but it allows integration from old to new.
So a Surface 3 didn’t have to be a massive change of how I originally worked, more a layer on top that I could choose to use when I wanted to. Which is also true to how the pen is quite literally a pen – research has been done that shows that if at a young age you use a tablet device with only a keyboard you do not get the engrained training of using the pen. But with the Surface 3 you are able to learn and maintain that skill – I know myself that when I used to use my laptop and then have to write, it was always a joke with my mates as to how scruffy my handwriting was!
My overall love for this product, the integration with all my other devices and the cool cloud features it brings makes it my go to device for my school and personal work.