Extra Credits rounds up the latest stories on innovative educational endeavors coming from other parts of Microsoft and the world. This entry highlights an initiative by Pflugerville Independent School District near Austin, Texas, which gave students a consistent, modern platform for individualized instruction. The district set up 7,000 new computers and – within 60 days – upgraded 10,000 existing computers to Windows 10 for consistency.
Pflugerville ISD deployed the 7,000 new laptops and upgraded the 10,000 existing lab and cart computers phenomenally fast. “We used the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2016 to achieve a zero-touch deployment of Windows 10,” Valdez says. “When we moved from Windows XP to Windows 7, it took a year to upgrade 7,000 computers. Going from Windows 7 to Windows 10 took 60 days, and we upgraded 10,000 computers.”
In addition to accelerating deployment, having nearly every computer in the district running the same operating system makes everyday management easier because Valdez and his staff work with a single platform. Using the Windows as a service model and System Center Configuration Manager, they push out incremental updates as a service rather than staging big, disruptive operating system upgrades every three to five years. Having the same look and feel across all systems also speeds up problem resolution.
“With these new computers, I’m able to offer more learning choices and project types to students.”
– Sarah Boyle, Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist in Pflugerville Independent School District
“Having the Windows 10 laptops gives my students ownership of their learning and motivates them to create quality work. Students show excitement as they get to personalize their learning using the new laptops. This makes our job easier.”
– Meagan Jones, Third Grade Teacher at Wieland Elementary
Our mission at Microsoft is to equip and empower educators to shape and assure the success of every student. Any teacher can join our effort with free Office 365 Education, find affordable Windows devices and connect with others on the Educator Community for free training and classroom resources. See how one traditionalist teacher went completely paperless in her classroom.