Microsoft’s latest Surface device is not even publicly available at retail yet and there are multiple schools committing to using it in their classrooms when it does come out next month.

While there has always been a 10% discount on hardware purchases for eligible educational institutions from either the Microsoft Store or authorized resellers the same discount for Surface 3 extends to the Type Cover and Surface Pen if bundled with the device.

In addition to that 10% discount Microsoft is also offering educational users a unique device configuration for Surface 3 in the form of a unit that has 2GB of system RAM and 32GB of storage.  That is more than enough specs for typical classroom usage.  With the 2GB/64GB storage model of Surface 3 retailing at $499 this model, with half of the storage, could be at least another $50 to $75 less although no pricing information is currently available.

So why is the Surface 3 such an attractive option compared to an iPad or Android tablet?

In order to make a full transformation to a digital classroom, a tablet needs to support not only reading and typing input, but also writing which is a critical part of the learning experience.

First is compatibility.  Surface 3 runs the regular version of Windows that can run any software made for the Windows ecosystem.  No more limitations of just using Windows Store based apps because of Windows RT although the Windows Store and its collection of apps is still available as an option.

Second is future proof. The Surface 3 is launching with Windows 8.1 which, despite the rough beginnings Windows 8 experienced, has smoothed out the overall experience between desktop and tablet interfaces and is built for touch more than any version of Windows before it. The Surface 3 is also Windows 10 ready when the new OS launches later this year and is a free upgrade for most users.

Third is writing and inking.  The Surface 3, unlike its Windows RT cousin and more like its big brother the Surface Pro 3, has been built to support inking and writing with use of the Surface Pen and the pen ready screen  on it. Writing is a skill that some tech devices in the classroom can suppress while the Surface 3 brings that to the surface.

Finally OneNote. Microsoft’s has really made this software the crown jewel of the Surface Pro 3 and now the Surface 3 devices. Double clicking the Surface Pen’s top button immediately opens up OneNote’s Quick Note feature so notes can be easily taken using natural handwriting.

The last item about OneNote is all the tools available for teachers and administrators to build tools such as OneNote Class Notebooks and Staff Notebooks. The ability to go paperless in the classroom is inching closer to reality plus it allows for easy synching of information between the students and their teachers.

To see more about Microsoft’s OneNote and education be sure to visit OneNote in Education.

For more information about the Microsoft Surface 3 offer for educational institutions, to find authorized resellers and to learn how other schools are using Surface visit Surface for Education.

Source: Announcing early adopters and a 10% discount on Surface 3 for Education.