Acer and Microsoft have been at the forefront of developing technology that adapts to the ever-changing needs of the education landscape. Aside from improving student engagement and learning outcomes, technological advancements now allow schools to better cater to the needs of diverse students and navigate challenges such as the recent pandemic.
Recently, both companies have collaborated on a solution well suited for primary school students, combining the new Windows 11 SE and the TravelMate B3. With facilitation from Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA), St Thomas’ Primary School has been involved in a pilot program to help Microsoft fine-tune their new operating system. Acer has a deep and long-standing relationship with Microsoft, and both share the vision of developing fit-for purpose solutions for the education sector.
“We [Acer] have some commonality [with Microsoft] in the sense that the education sector is one of our strongest pillars, particularly at a primary school level. We feel our products are geared towards giving an ultimate experience to those students. And it lines up nicely with Microsoft’s operating system,” expresses Rod Bassi, Oceanic Sales Director at Acer Computer Australia.
In response to feedback from teachers, Windows 11 SE provides students with a distraction-free experience to keep them focused. Microsoft has simplified the user interface as well as removed nonessential applications and tools such as Cortana and widgets.
Windows 11 SE is optimised to perform well on cost-effective laptops such as the TravelMate B3, enabling more students to access technology in classrooms. In addition, Windows 11 SE devices have a curated list of preinstalled applications, including full versions of Microsoft Office and Minecraft: Education Edition, supporting teachers in delivering quality learning experiences.
As the ideal notebook for primary school students, Acer’s TravelMate B3 was the obvious choice to pair with Windows 11 SE. The laptop has undergone nearly ten years of continuous optimisation based on valuable feedback from the Australian education sector.
“It’s been organically evolving for almost a decade,” notes Rod. “Acer never gives up. We’ve been tinkering with the recipe, and with every new model that comes out annually, there are enhancements and improvements.”
The TravelMate B3 features an 11.6” high definition screen, which is the perfect size to view things clearly whilst being small enough for young learners to fit into their backpacks. A mere weight of about 1.4 kilograms also adds to the laptop’s portability, allowing students to easily carry it around the classroom or between home and school.
Possessing a long-lasting battery life of up to 12 hours, the TravelMate B3 can accompany students through an entire school day. Equipped with a battery level indicator, teachers can tell when the device is running out of charge at a glance.
The TravelMate B3’s Military Standard (MIL-STD 810H) certified design highlights its durability and rigour. The device is built to endure the bumps, drops and falls of day-to-day student life with its pressure-resistant top cover, shock-absorbed rubber bumper and reinforced corners. Moreover, the keyboard has been designed to tolerate accidental water spills of up to 330mL and can be easily replaced if damage still occurs.
Facilitating education to more than 74,000 young people across 158 schools and colleges in Western Australia, CEWA strives to achieve the most optimal learning outcomes in student focused environments and recognises the vital role technology plays in enabling this vision.
“At CEWA, we’ve worked really hard to ensure that the student is the core of all of our decision making,” says Ben Beaton, Team Leader of Digital Services and Partner Engagement at CEWA. “We want to work with partners and implement learning technology that has a real clear impact on learning and ensures that students have got great opportunities beyond their time at our schools.” Aware of the learning opportunities offered by technology, CEWA also endeavours to ensure that every student has access to technology.
Knowing the value of technology in education, the school did not hesitate to accept the offer from CEWA to participate in the trial program even though it is currently running a one-on-one tablet program that uses a different operating system.
The introduction of the TravelMate B3 laptops with the new Windows 11 SE was a big hit with St Thomas’ Year 6 students. There is no doubt that children love using technology in their learning. “The kids were extremely excited, and they were dancing on the ceiling. And so, the first few weeks, it was nothing but the laptops,” says Lila Gibbs, the Year 6 teacher at St Thomas’ Primary School.
In this trial program, the TravelMate B3 laptops have hit all the right notes, meeting the needs of the Year 6 students at St Thomas’. “It’s the right weight. It’s the right size. It’s got the right physical characteristics,” conveys Ben. “Students can be uncompromising with their computer technology. They get thrown in bags. They get left on floors, and the laptops here have stood up really well to the day-to-day rigours that the students have thrown at them.” Similarly, the Windows 11 SE platform has provided.
Acer and Microsoft’s collaboration on a solution for primary school students has delivered an excellent device experience for the students at St Thomas’ Primary School in a simpler, cloud first, distraction-free digital environment. With assistance from Acer, CEWA and St Thomas, this trial program has helped to fine-tune Windows 11 SE, ensuring that it is well suited for primary school students around the world.
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