Improving Literacy Skills with Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Guest Post by Ross Johnson – Microsoft Expert Educator



In terms of the world of Information Technology, 2014 was a very eventful year indeed. As per every year, their has been some major releases in hardware and software. These releases are always looked on as a potential learning opportunity in the secondary education realm. Honestly, some more than others based on historical issues and how they will integrate with our current state run infrastructure.

But I digress….

The major hardware release was, in my opinion, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and it’s wonderful pen. Ahh the pen.

Some say stylus but I think the pen does way more than a stylus. But I will get to that soon.

The Surface Pro 3 (SP3) is the ultimate 21st Century Learning tool. Without question. It has the ability to drastically change the classroom, both from the perspective of the teacher and the students. And a lot of this comes down to the pen.


The combination of the pen and OneNote is going to be the focus of some of our most interesting adaptive learning this year. It is going to be specifically aimed at students that either show one or a number of the following traits:

  • difficulty in expression of feelings
  • handwriting difficulty
  • loss of connection with the writing medium

Some of our students who find it difficult to express their ideas, but still need to be able to improve their handwriting skills, will be able to use OneNote to compose a series of expositions using the Microsoft Surface and the pen. The outstanding handwriting recognition software in the Surface can pick up most written communication and this will give the students confidence in their handwriting and creative abilities. This is especially important for students who have disassociated with traditional handwriting and have a good relationship with technology. We are also hoping that this will spark some creativity within our students and this will flow into their writing.

The students will have some basic training in using the pen and OneNote and then it is up to the student to create. The teacher will act as a facilitator guiding the students and providing immediate feedback for the students.


We are hoping that this is the first step in helping some disengaged students connect with writing and expression. I will be able to give a report on how initial responses from the students are as well as a detailed description of what we achieved.

Guest Post By

Ross Johnson – Head Teacher Information Technology – Tumbi Umbi, Australia

Ross Johnson has been the Head Teacher Information Technology at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Tumbi Umbi Campus on the New South Wales Central Coast for 9 years. He is an avid supporter of the Flipped Classroom as well as giving all students an opportunity to gain Core Computing Skills. He has transformed his school’s technology focus and energies towards giving all students equal access and opportunity to develop their 21st Century digital skills. Ross is also an Adobe Education leader and a Certified Microsoft Office Specialist.