Windows 11 is a striking contrast from Windows 10’s sharp edges and colourful tiled boxes. With a fresh design and user interface, Windows 11 offers new and attractive features for many schools.
The new operating system comes with new and improved communication and collaboration features ideal for remote learning. Windows 11 features new advanced security tools, protecting students and teachers across the country.
Virtual classrooms in Microsoft Teams
Learning from home is significantly different compared to learning in the classroom. Typically, teachers can monitor and control the classroom ensuring students are motivated and productive.
Being in school is also an important stage for students. This is where they usually learn essential interpersonal skills. Usually, they interact with their peers making meaningful connections, and being at home prevents this from happening.
Remote learning creates an emotional and physical disconnection between students and teachers. Especially when such a critical aspect of learning involves interacting and collaborating with others.
Many schools are looking for reliable and collaborative software programs to ensure students remain productive at home. Many classes turned into virtual classrooms, prompting teachers to rely on platforms like Microsoft Teams.
In Windows 11, Teams receives a visual revamp and becomes easier and more accessible as it’s built into the core of the new OS. The Teams Chat is integrated into the taskbar, making it easier for students to locate the application and connect to online classes.
Windows 11 is designed with hybrid learning in mind. Students can share screens with minimal interruptions during virtual classes. In Teams, students can comment before, during and after classes, creating a fun and interactive space replicating a classroom environment.
The new operating system offers new tools making collaboration easier using Microsoft Whiteboard. The software allows live collaboration, ideal for remote learning, making it easier for students to brainstorm or plan or engage in creative activities.
Enhancing learning through Microsoft 365
In a typical classroom, students have course outlines, textbooks, and notebooks. Using the same materials may not be as effective at home. Microsoft 365, which usually comes with Windows 11 and is available to most schools, offers various software applications for students.
Microsoft 365 includes applications that most students are familiar working with, like Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote in the package. The new edition is optimised for remote learning, making it easier to collaborate for virtual classes.
PowerPoint has new features allowing students to present online. Virtual classroom presentations are made easier by connecting PowerPoint slides with Teams, preventing technical disruptions during virtual classes. Students can also make changes while presenting, making it easier to correct errors.
Using OneNote can simplify tedious notetaking expected in a usual in-person classroom. Students can make personalised notes, allowing them to include pictures, drawings, or annotations. Teachers can also use Class Notebooks add-in to section students’ work and review it quicker.
Advanced security tools for remote learning
Increased security is ideal for many schools, especially when students and teachers are now remote learning. At home, students and teachers are more susceptible to malware and hacking.
Especially with the rising cyberattacks, schools need to protect students and teachers. Windows 11 ensures the school’s files remain secure no matter where students and teachers are located.
The following features are turned on by default:
- Virtual-based Security or VBS allows developers to run applications from their computers. It uses hardware virtualisation to isolate and secure a memory region, adding an extra layer of security features to prevent malware from infecting them.
- Trusted Platform Module, or TPM, protects credentials and encryption keys behind the hardware, preventing hackers or malware from accessing confidential data.
- Windows Sandbox allows users to run applications in a safe environment separate from their PC; once closed, everything in the sandbox is deleted.
Preparing for future disruptions
Since the pandemic, the education sector has experienced continuous disruption resulting in many frustrated and stressed out students and teachers in New Zealand.
Even though most cities are set to move into the orange traffic light setting, which allows schools to open for students and teachers, many parents are hesitant to send their children back. Currently, only students aged 12 and over can get vaccinated, leaving ages below unprotected.
Although the shift towards hybrid learning isn’t as demanding as workplaces, teachers should expect classroom disruptions to continue with the ongoing pandemic. Whether it’s the primary and secondary or tertiary institutions, the education sector must develop its hybrid learning capabilities.
With Microsoft ending support for Windows 10 on October 14th, 2025, devices with this operating system will eventually phase out. Soon, more devices will come with Windows 11, making various models available for schools to choose from.
Upgrading to Windows 11 can be a good decision, especially with the possibility of future disruptions caused by lockdowns. Schools can offer collaboration, productivity tools and malware protection for their students and teachers.