California’s 4th largest school district chooses Windows 8.1 devices for students

Fresno Unified School District Superintendent Michael E. Hanson with 5th graders as they use their new Asus Windows 8.1 devices for the first time.

Fresno Unified School District, the fourth largest district in California with 72,000 students, is rolling out 15,000 Asus Transformer T100 Windows 8.1 devices to students in the 3rd through 8th grades, and to 11thgraders.

Like all school districts in the state, the Fresno district is preparing to take the Common Core field test this spring. “In doing so, the district needed to select the appropriate platform and device to meet Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium’s requirements for testing,” writes Margo Day, vice president, U.S. Education for Microsoft.

The district received $7 million in state funding for devices that meet the specific hardware and software requirements. Kurt Madden, the district’s chief technology officer, said he and his team considered Chromebooks, Android tablets and the iPad, “but ultimately, due to security, management, cost, and Common Core requirements, we felt a Windows 8.1 device would better meet our needs across the board.”

The district currently runs its back-end system on Windows and provides all students with Office 365 Education, including the Student Advantage program that provides up to five copies of OfficePro per student, Day writes.

Said Madden: “If we went with something like Chromebooks, we could have spent less on the device itself, but would have accrued additional costs and fees for device management that would end up costing us about the same, if not more, than our choice to go with Windows 8.1 devices.”

With privacy and security being a growing concern in schools around the nation, Microsoft’s “long history of making security a top priority” was also a key consideration, Madden said.

To learn more, head over to the Microsoft in Education blog.

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Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff