"We really think these new devices are not giving some of the compromises you see with Chromebooks in education," Mike Tholfsen, Principal Product Manager for Microsoft Education, told Engadget. "They really give the full power of Windows, for things like Inking, 3D, and Minecraft."
Speaking of Minecraft, Microsoft is doubling down on its usefulness as a STEM learning tool with its upcoming chemistry update. Students will be able to do things like get experimentation experience (without potentially blowing up a classroom), as well as learn about a wide variety of topics, like building compounds and understanding stable isotopes. There aren't many details about the chemistry update yet, but Microsoft says we can expect to see it in the spring.
It makes sense for the company to make Minecraft even more meaningful for educators. It's a major title that Chromebooks can't run (or at least, not unless you know a bit of Linux), and it's something that plenty of kids are already interested in. Unlike most software geared towards education, it feels more like fun rather than work. Of course, Microsoft also have to make teachers care as much about Minecraft as students -- subject-focused updates like this could be just the ticket.
The company is also continuing to expand its software for Office 365 Education. The Immersive Reader from its Learning Tools, which can read text out aloud while highlighting individual words, is now coming to Word for Mac, Outlook for desktops, OneNote for iPad and Mac, and the iPhone. Additionally, Microsoft is making dictation a key feature of Office 365 -- previously, it was something you had to activate deep within Windows.