Beauty, brawn and brains – Surface Studio 2 is transforming learning

Classrooms and university campuses sure have changed. It wasn’t that long ago that whiteboards and thumb drives overtook blackboards and floppy disks as the must have teaching accessories. Convenient, yes, but cutting-edge? Not so much. Fast forward just a few more years and we’re looking at a completely different landscape. Educational institutions everywhere are infusing innovative technology into their pedagogy to drive better learning outcomes in an environment that mirrors our always-connected daily lives.

Yet in education, technology for technology’s sake shouldn’t be the goal. To fully realise its benefits, technology must be used to support learning, not detract from it. Here’s where Microsoft Surface Studio 2 plays an important role. It’s undoubtedly an impressive device – and I’ll walk you through why shortly – but it’s not a device suited for all educational applications. It’s for students in the creative fields, a lab complete with Surface Studio 2’s can really help ideas thrive, make learning hands-on and allow students to collaborate and problem solve unhindered.

The evolution of Surface Studio 2

Many people know of the Surface family, but most are still not fully aware of just how powerful the devices can be. Looks can be deceiving, particularly when we focus on the Surface Studio 2. It harnesses serious power, beautiful aesthetics and plenty of smarts to deliver the best possible user experience.

When the all-in-one Surface Studio first launched in late 2016, its fast take up in the creative fields – think design, engineering, media and architectural professionals – reflected its value as a powerful tool to help creatives both practice their craft and perform everyday tasks such as email and web browsing.

Last October, Microsoft released Surface Studio 2 billing it as the ultimate creative studio. It’s 35% faster and has 50% more graphics performance than its predecessor, comes with a stunning 28″ digital canvas in brilliant colour, and features all the bells and whistles needed to support gaming, the Adobe creative suite, mixed reality and VR. Yup, it’s a brilliant machine.

It’s easy to see why Surface Studio 2 remains a favourite in multimedia and design, but now education is taking notice thanks to its potential to support creative, modern learning.


A 21st century device for school labs

For colleges, universities and training institutions, upgrading the computer lab with Surface Studios gives students the freedom to sketch, paint, edit, and design on a device that is made for creative learning.

Below I share the best of Surface Studio 2’s beauty, brawn and brains, complementing it with real-life examples of the ways schools are using it right now to reinvent their approach to learning and collaboration, help fire up creativity and keep students more engaged than ever.

Beauty – getting the creative juices flowing

The form factor and design truly sets this device apart – it’s the most functional and best-looking device available thanks to its:

  • Stunning 4K, 28” touch screen
  • 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity to add nuance and depth to intricate designs
  • Integrated 5-megapixel camera for recording images and 1080p HD video
  • Premium Dolby Audio speakers delivering crystal clear sound
  • Zero-Gravity hinge that allows you to position the device to what best suits you.

Learning application: Collaborative projects

Surface Studio 2’s huge canvas is perfect for all kinds of project work. For arts or media students who are perhaps creating a short film, medical students who are dissecting 3D models of the heart, industrial design and architect students needing to create sketches or review manufacturing plans, Studio 2 presents an ideal canvas – particularly because the screen can be tilted from traditional upright to any drafting table angle.

Then there’s the ability to use the Surface Pen and innovative Surface Dial for digital inking. Students can visualise, sketch and collectively brainstorm, and the pressure sensitivity of the Surface Pen makes it really feel as fluid as drawing on paper – but with way smarter capabilities.

Finally, it goes without saying, that when set up in a computer lab, the clean, sleek design of the Surface Studio 2 creates an appealing modern look and feel for the space.

Brawn – the most powerful Surface yet

Back in the day, different devices would be used for different tasks – one for web browsing and emailing, and another more powerful machine for complex creative tasks that require specific power-hungry programs. Surface Studio 2 is easy enough to use for those basic day-to-day tasks, but also equipped to manage the most memory-intensive tasks you can throw at it thanks to:

  • Lightning fast Intel® Core™ i7 processor
  • 1TB or 2TB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • 16GB or 32GB RAM
  • GTX 1060 or a GTX 1070 graphics card

Combine these elements and you’ve got a machine powerful enough to render 3D modelling and 4K video, and make light work of Excel and PowerPoint when large file sizes and complex macros demand more oomph.

Learning application: handles the most demanding software

Surface Studio doesn’t need to be a 1:1 device. Design lecturers can make the most of its power and size by using it as the driver for lessons. By connecting to a projector, students can follow along on their own devices. When not projecting, it becomes a master screen, capable of handling intensive modelling, video, photography or design tasks. In fact, the processor and GPU also brings all the power needed for introducing students to 3D and mixed reality experiences.

Brains – and you thought the other Surfaces were smart

It’s doesn’t get more versatile than the Surface Studio 2. There’s a lot that you can do on Surface Studio 2 that just can’t be done on other devices. With easy connection to school networks with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatibility plus a plethora of native apps, there’s plenty of smarts built-in:

  • Innovative accessories including Surface Dial and Surface Pen means getting both hands active at once for a much more natural experience
  • 1x USB-C and 4x USB 3.0 ports, full-size SD card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack and 1GB Ethernet port for complete connectivity
  • Even without keyboard and mouse, you can effectively continue to type and work using the on-screen keyboard
  • Native integration with the suite of Office 365 apps and Windows 10 Pro OS
  • Type or ink notes for fast feedback and note taking
  • Enterprise-grade protection with Windows Hello face sign-in

Learning application: a creativity shortcut

It really feels like no stone was left unturned with Surface Studio 2, but perhaps one of its most powerful and unique features is the Surface Dial. These hand-held accessories can be placed on the screen to open radial menus, and act as another form of input (in addition to touch and the Surface Pen). For students, it allows them to quickly adjust media controls, skip tracks, use shortcuts, and scroll through web pages. For design or arts students, the Dial acts as in intuitive shortcut for viewing and selecting palettes, enhancing the studio capabilities of the device even further.

The Surface Studio 2 has Apple on its toes

 The beauty, brawn and brains of Surface Studio 2 have certainly got Apple sweating. In a bid to keep market share, Apple have attempted to replicate the Studio 2 experience with Sidecar – an application that allows iPads to connect to iMacs and either extend or mirror the screen. By doing so, you are theoretically getting the best of both worlds – the touchscreen and use of Apple Pencil with the iPad, and the power and screen size of the iMac. However, it’s clunky, and there are a number of limitations with this set up – namely, the lack of app compatibility. For example, Illustrator is the only Adobe app that’s supported, which hugely limits the appeal for designers.

Ready to experience Surface Studio 2 up close?

Data#3 is your go-to partner for end-to-end support, maintenance and training for all your Surface fleet requirements. To learn more, or get hands-on with the Surface Studio 2 and experience the brilliance of the device yourself, contact a Data#3 Microsoft device specialist.

Tags: Digital Inking, Education, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio, Tertiary Education, The Anywhere Classroom



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