November 11, 2020

How to pick the right Surface devices for your school’s fleet

We spend a lot of time thinking about where education is heading, what challenges the future may bring and how technology can improve learning outcomes.

From supporting a digital curriculum and classroom mobility to embracing personalised learning and collaboration, technology has been rapidly transformed the way we teach, learn and work in the sector.

One key way we support schools on this journey is by guiding the assessment and selection of device fleets to ensure teachers, students and administration are supported by the chosen devices across  their various needs.

After all, digital curriculums and classroom mobility are all intrinsically tied to the notebooks, tablets or hybrid devices needed to power the classroom, at-home setups, or mobile work and study styles.

Surface devices in education deliver tangible outcomes

The Microsoft Surface device family really was designed with education top of mind. Their range of laptop, tablet and 2-in-1s have been shown to improve learning outcomes, accelerate productivity for teachers, and reduce IT costs. In fact, a Forrester research study1 found that schools with Surface devices experience:

  • 30 minutes more daily teaching time
  • 58% reduction in pages being printed or copied
  • 25% less daily prep time
  • 50% reduction in ICT time
  • 90% of parents said Surface exceeded their expectations

These are just some of the benefits that come from deploying Surface fleets, but only if schools are careful in their deployment planning.

To help your school make the right choice, we’ve put together a short guide to pair the technical features of each Surface device with the needs of every type of learner, teacher and administrator across your campus.

The right Surface devices for students

Students require devices that are tough enough to withstand a few bumps, light enough to carry around, and have the battery life to stay powered up throughout a full school day.  Performance can’t be sacrificed, either. Student devices must be able to support all those essential learning apps, collaboration platforms and graphics-intensive software that are the hallmarks of modern curriculums.

Then there’s the virtual classroom experiences: HD cameras and clear audio must replicate the in-person experience as much as possible to maximise engagement for remote learning situations. Finally, digital inking plays an important role in an interactive learning experience, encouraging students to sketch and annotate, while teachers can quickly share personalised feedback.

Primary and lower secondary students

Surface Go 2

Surface Go 2’s features support education and exploration, making it the perfect first device for young students.

  • Great for little hands. While a 6-year-old probably can’t hold and support the weight of a standard full-size laptop, the Surface Go 2 is light enough and small enough to fit in the hands of younger students.
  • Touch and inking supported. The 10.5-inch touch display gives younger students larger visuals, a touchscreen and most importantly, a fluid digital inking experience that feels just like writing with a pen on paper.
  • Lasts the entire school day. Like many Surface devices, the battery life is impressive, with the Surface Go 2 lasting up to 10 hours. It also features Fast Charging to get the battery up to 80% in just over an hour.
  • Easy to connect. Along with Wi-Fi, Surface Go 2 has the option of the super convenient LTE Advanced which means students don’t have to think about how to connect – it’s always on.
  • Low price point. Go 2 is one of the most popular devices in the Surface family and comes with an attractively low price point. These two factors have fuelled the production of tons of third-party accessories, giving young students plenty of different options to help them get more out of their device.

Surface Go 2 isn’t limited to young students. Many education providers use it as a stand-alone station or mount it on the wall in Kiosk mode to facilitate self-service, informational signage or visitor check-in.

Secondary and university students

Surface Laptop Go

Surface Laptop Go is the perfect everyday laptop for older students, featuring a pleasing form factor, high performance and a thin, light design.

  • Easy to carry around. It’s light (1,110g) and sleek with a thin, durable metallic finish and clamshell design, opens effortlessly with one hand and easily slips into bags. Older students will appreciate the refined look of this device and the colour options of Platinum, Sandstone or Ice Blue.
  • Better engagement with touch screen. The 45-inch touchscreen offers a seamless touch experience, allowing students to engage with their studies naturally.
  • No fear of battery powering off. This is a device that lasts all day long and then some (up to 11.5 hours), eliminating the need to constantly be on the lookout for power sources in libraries, classrooms, lecture halls and cafes. It comes with Fast Charging, too.
  • Upgradable to handle all your coursework. The removable hard drive allows students to upgrade RAM or storage as needed.
  • Supports busy students. A 10th Gen Intel Ice Lake processor – i5 or i7 both available – with the choice of 4, 8 and 16GB of DDR4 RAM means it can handle power-hungry apps, multi-tasking and all the demands that come with modern study. There’s also immersive camera and audio tech for quality video conferencing.
  • Pricing is student-friendly. An affordable price tag makes Surface Laptop Go an affordable option for school fleets.

The inbuilt power, all-day battery life and modern ports of Surface Laptop Go play just as well with leadership teams and administrators who need a device that supports them throughout the daily demands of their role.

For teachers, leadership teams and administrators

The full educational experience requires devices able to power essential learning apps and graphics-intensive software without draining battery or requiring a constant power source. Then there’s video conferencing and the need to be heard loud and clear in remote classrooms, along with the importance of mobility and versatility.

Surface Pro 7

Surface Pro 7 offers tablet mobility and laptop performance in a versatile design, making it a premium and powerful device for teachers, leadership and administrators alike.

  • True power for any task. Intel’s 10th Gen processor is the secret to Surface Pro 7 ability to make small work of whatever power-hungry task a user sets it. Fast-charging, all-day battery and Instant On will ensure work can gets done all day long.
  • Mobile design for those on the go. Despite being jammed full of power, Surface Pro 7 is light and portable so users can easily take it to meetings off-site, or conferences across the globe. Teachers can also walk among students wirelessly in the mode best suited to them.
  • Personalised feedback. The digital pen and touch experience allows teachers to give more personalised feedback and engaging lessons.
  • Connectivity, always. The device has all your other connection requirements covered – USB-A, USB-C, headphone jack, Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port, MicroSD card reader.
  • Video conferencing matters. Featuring a front-facing and a rear-facing camera for quality video calls, this device is made for collaborative remote work.

Surface Pro 7 is equally suited to IT teams thanks to its industry-leading performance. For example, IT can use Surface Pro 7 to do an image-based deployment using Microsoft Autopilot and manage the fleet via Intune. Meanwhile, students working with digital rich media will also find this device a great fit.

Surface Book 3

Surface Book 3 is a powerful laptop putting performance and versatility into the hands of teachers.

  • Digital sketching. Teachers can write, draw and annotate at a comfortable angle with the Surface Pen.
  • Power on the go. There’s up to 15.5 hours of battery life for the 13.5-inch and 17.5 hours for the 15-inch, with a standby function that will extend battery life for days.
  • Classroom collaboration. The device lets students and teachers easily share ideas with two powerful cameras; an 8.0MP rear-facing auto-focus camera and a 5.0MP front-facing camera. Together with dual far-field studio mics, they really ramp up the video conferencing experience.
  • Connection choices. Teachers can stay digitally connected with USB-C and USB-A ports, a full-size SD card, and optional Surface Dock 2.

Surface Book 3 is also perfect for students or professionals who work in areas such as engineering, graphic design, media and research.

Classrooms and lecture halls

Surface Studio 2

Surface Studio 2 is another fantastic device for these power users. It acts primarily as an in-office device to offer exceptional colour and graphics thanks to fast processors and an ability to support intensive, professional-grade software.

  • Impressive screen, powerful performance. A 28-inch touch display allows users to run software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, AutoCAD, Bentley Navigator, SolidWorks and other premium apps.
  • Windows Hello biometrics provides powerful protection, allowing the device to be unlocked with a just a look.
  • Intuitive inking. Works naturally with Surface Pen and Surface Dial, supporting users to draw, create and collaborate on the screen.
  • Immersive conferencing. Video calls feel close to real-life with the 1080p camera, clear audio and far-field microphones.

Ready to upgrade your school’s Surface fleet?

There’s a Surface device perfect for every education user. To help find the perfect fit for your unique requirements, get in touch with a Data#3 Surface specialist today, or explore our range of Surface Bundles for Education.

1. Forrester research (2017). The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Surface Pro For Primary And Secondary Education [ONLINE]. Available here.