Sunday, November 1, 2009

Windows 7 and K-12

Windows 7 On Board!Image by burhan.fadzil™ via Flickr

Windows 7 has been out on the market for 10 days now. Our department has been evaluating Win 7 on a small scale for the past few weeks. To my knowledge, we have not encountered any problems within our environment yet. I plan to install a copy either on my laptop or home PC in the next few days and when I do that I will post my thoughts/comments here.

However, my post today has to do with Win 7 and its place in the education arena. A majority of districts in KY are still running Win XP (those who have primarily a PC environment). I don't know of any districts that took the plunge to Vista - thank goodness. However, I am hearing some positive things about Win 7 and its place in education, specifically KY K-12.

All machines we are purchasing off the state price contract now come licensed for Windows 7. So even if a district chooses not to move forward with updating their OS, they won't have to worry about the licensing fees, except for those purchased prior to 10/22/09.

I have been doing some reading the past few days on how Windows 7 can enhance a machine in the K-12 environment and have come up with a short list. I firmly believe my district, along with a large majority of KY K-12 districts will migrate their PCs to Windows 7 within the next 6-12 months.

Here are my reasons why I think Win 7 will be a popular choice in the education arean:

  • Speed. Windows 7 is designed to be quicker and perform more efficiently than its predecessors. Whether you are booting your machine up for the first time, or waking it up from a nap; the response time will be much quicker.
  • Snipping Tool. Members in my department have been using this tool for the past few days and absolutely love it. The ability to quickly grab a picture from the web, document, email or other app and manipulate it to the user's liking is a feature both faculty/staff and students will find beneficial.
  • Jump Lists. This is liking having a "Favorites" for your apps, docs, pages, etc. I believe teachers will find this useful because each teacher utilizes various apps, software or sites and to have those at their fingertips will save precious class time.
  • Snap Tool. This tool gives the user the ability to display two items side-by-side. I believe teachers will find this useful when projecting their computer for all to see and need to compare/contrast items or pages; or want to show multiple examples from student work.
There are other cool features available in Win 7 such as Remote Media Streaming and 64-bit support that make Win 7 attractive to other genres of users, but I believe the items listed above will be appealing to teachers and students.

Time will tell how quickly Windows 7 makes it way into K-12. Time will tell how the new features are received by K-12 users and if they realize the benefit vs. previous MS OS. I personally believe Win 7 will make a splash in the K-12 arena, and probably sooner rather than later.


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