Microsoft introduces the thinnest and lightest member of the Surface Pro family.
I can’t tell you how many backpacks, messenger bags, rucksacks, and carry-on luggage that I have ruined by carrying multiple mobile devices across America. I really want one device for every context of my personal and professional life. This need reaches comical proportions when I travel by airplane. Now that passengers can keep their mobile devices on for takeoff and landing, I get to take an anthropologist view of human behavior. For takeoff, everyone pulls out their Kindles, iPads, (believe it or not, Surfaces), and other eBook readers. However, within the five minutes it takes to reach 10,000 feet above sea-level, the tablets go away and everyone transitions to their laptops. It happens like clockwork every trip I take.
The push for tablets in learning has prompted many unproductive conversations about ePub formats, electronic textbooks, and apps. There has been very little, meaningful conversations about what is best for how we learn and the varied context that we learn. There are some subjects and disciplines that are still best experience with a pen and paper. There are others that require a keyboard for long form writing and editing. There are some content that require at-a-glance information to be used in other scenarios. Curiosity and creativity present the need for tools and capabilities that are unfettered by technology. I am fully persuaded that Surface Pro 3 is the closest the technology industry has come to the ideal embodiment of the learning device that works best for educators and students.
“Surface Pro 3 is the tablet that can replace your laptop. You’ll love being able to carry a single device for your next class, workday or weekend getaway knowing you have all the power you need.” Panos Panay, Microsoft Surface
Surface Pro 3 for English Language Arts
The most important update to Surface Pro 3 for me is the one thing you will experience the most—the new 2160 x 1440 high-definition display screen. That’s just over 216 pixels per inch. This is ideal for long-form reading and visual content. Also, the aspect ratio for the Surface Pro 3 is 3:2 which is perfect for books, paper, drawing, and writing with the built-in digital ink capabilities of Windows 8.1. I have written before that displays matter the most in education because of the significant amount of text consumed and produced in learning. The Surface Pro 3 continues its heritage of delivering a great display for the one activity you experience the most on mobile devices.
The second major aspect that matters for learning is the updated Surface Pen. Microsoft has pioneered natural user interfaces across a broad set of devices. One of the most unsung heroes of natural user interfaces is the digital ink and handwriting recognition that has been improving with each release of Windows since Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. Handwriting is an obvious way to interrogate and challenge science and math concepts. It allows students and teachers to bring abstract thinking to learning and the free flow of ideas is not constrain by a keyboard or a touch screen. As a writer, handwriting is crucial for brainstorming, drafting, and editing on paper or electronically. Traditional and modern English language arts teachers should have a field-day with the Surface Pen. Finally, Surface Pro 3 and the Surface Pen lends itself as the go-to-device for designers and creative professionals. With 256-levels of pressure sensitivity for the Surface Pen, this makes Surface Pro a natural extension of your hands.
Speaking and Listening
I can’t say that this is the final feature, but it is the last I will mention for relevance to learning. The Surface Pro 3 has two 1080p HD video cameras with a five megapixel sensor for the front and rear cameras. With apps like Skype and Lync, students and educators can enjoy immersive web and video conferences for learning without compromise. Whether learning online or creating videos for flipped classrooms, having a high resolution camera becomes a must have component for content creation, consumption, and collaboration. Along with the improved cameras, the audio and microphones have been updated so that sound quality is on par with the great video.
This is an exciting time for the education sector to reform and transform learning. With so many devices from a multitude of technology providers, it can become overwhelming to make a choice that will last beyond the deployment to real learning integration and redefinition. The Surface Pro 3 reduces the paradox of choice to matter of performance.
So…I didn’t talk about price. That was intentional. I will leave links for more information below. In the meantime, are you ready to leave your laptop behind?
Surface Pro 3 Resources
- On-demand Webcast: Microsoft Surface Event with Satya and Panos
- Announcing Surface Pro 3 – Surface Blog
- Microsoft Surface Newsroom