• Paul Fingleton

Surface 3 Brings the Digital Classroom in Ireland a Step Closer

Growing up in Ireland many of us would have heard that one day we would no longer need our schoolbags, that all our books and homework could be carried on a floppy disk. The vision of a completely Digital Classroom has moved on a lot since then and many schools look to implement a digital classroom, they run into various challenges.

Computers and tablets are good for literacy, but manual writing skills may suffer as a result. Microsoft's newest tablet, the Surface 3 is the device that allows students to read, write and importantly write their study notes using the well-received Stylus pen of its big brother the Surface Pro 3.

Surface 3 arrives today on a pilot basis in a number of classrooms in Ireland. Coláiste Pobail Setanta, Clonee, Co. Meath and Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, Claregalway, Co. Galway all pre-ordered the Surface 3 and received their devices today.

Speaking about the use of the technology in the classroom Alan Mongey, Principal, Coláiste Bhaile Chláir, Claregalway, Co. Galway said: “Our school is just over two years old and we believe it is a great example of how a school can digitise the learning experience. We’re using devices in the classroom every day – we have built our curriculum and daily engagement between students and teachers through Microsoft technology. Our teachers have worked together with the students to create a new approach to teaching and learning.”

“Within the classroom we no longer rely on the traditional textbook or e-book as the source of all information. With the support of Microsoft we have developed our own online teaching and learning resource which can be adapted and changed easily to suit each class or student. By harnessing the power of mobile and cloud based technologies such as Microsoft OneNote and Office 365 and through the use of touch and pen based devices like Surface 3, the school has progressed to achieving its vision of a more engaging and immersive learning environment for our students. Through active learning methodologies, students are developing a deeper understanding in their subject areas and are more engaged and motivated in their learning.”

Speaking of the desire for the Surface 3 to be adopted in schools and education, Patrick Ward, Windows Business Group Lead at Microsoft Ireland said “We believe Surface 3 has significant potential as a device in an education setting. Because Surface 3 runs on Windows, students learn PC skills that stand to them when they join the workforce. We are all still learning about the best way to integrate technology into the classroom. The idea is that a device should enhance the learning experience – not displace something that has worked well for years. With the Surface 3, you get the benefits of a tablet but also the keyboard and pen which is essential for coding or writing, whether typing or writing in the traditional way.”

Surface 3 is available from today at MicrosoftStore.ie, Harvey Norman, Curry's, PC World.

Harvey Norman are offering a free wireless display adapter with purchases of Surface 3 (subject to stock availability) and PC World are offering €50 vouchers for the store with every Surface 3 purchase in the next two weeks.