Deploying Windows 8.1 Inside Educational Institutions

Deploying Windows 8.1 Inside Educational Institutions

Deploying Windows throughout an educational organization ensures that students and faculty become familiar with the same operating environment used in the business world. And, isn't that the goal?

I remember in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Apple started trying to make inroads into the education sector by supplying huge discounts for iMacs. They almost gave them away. But, a big problem came about because of it. When students graduated and entered the business world, they were clueless as to how to use standard business computers, making the transition much harder and ultimately more difficult for those required to support the incoming freshmen.

Windows 8, of course, has been lambasted by many as an unworthy successor in the Windows lineage. However, when people actually use it they discover that the latest Microsoft OS is easy to use, more secure, and provides unique experiences on a variety of devices.

From an educational institution standpoint, Windows 8.1 makes complete sense. By deploying Windows 8.1 throughout the organization, students and faculty can continue to become proficient using the new generation of Windows. The Windows 8 experience is not going away. Even in Windows 9, the experience will only be extended and enhanced. Offering Windows 8.1 access in schools continues a strong strategy of empowering the future workforce and making the transition between student and professional a much easier event.

To help cover all aspects of deploying Windows 8.1 to desktops, laptops, tablets, and other devices in educational institutions, Microsoft has released 7 new guides, providing methodologies, guidance, and how-to.

Here's what's available (with links and descriptions):

  • Windows 8.1 Deployment Planning: A Guide for Education - This guide is designed for IT pros, school administrators, and other faculty members who are responsible for the deployment of devices running Windows 8.1/Windows 8 in educational institutions. This guide covers the key considerations and questions that should be answered as a part of a typical Windows 8.1 deployment. Each section in this guide lists the key planning considerations and questions for the topics covered in that section. Each section also includes links to additional resources to help in the Windows 8.1 deployment planning process discussed in that section.
  • Windows Store Apps: A Deployment Guide for Education - The Windows 8.1/Windows 8 operating system includes many new feature and capabilities, but one prominent feature is the Windows Store apps. Educational institutions can purchase or create apps for Windows 8.1 that use the new user interface (UI). But Windows Store apps can raise certain questions. This guide offers several examples of app deployment strategies and considerations when selecting among them. It is written for school district IT pros, school administrators, teachers, and other faculty who are responsible for deploying Windows Store apps on institution-owned or personally owned devices
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: A Deployment Guide for Education - Given the increasing diversity of devices and user types, establishing and maintaining a standardized technology learning platform in an educational institution can be difficult. Bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives are increasingly popular in institutions, because they can reduce the up-front cost of devices while allowing faculty and students to take advantage of technology for education. However, BYOD initiatives can create problems for IT pros who support the faculty and students. Learn how you can address these challenges by using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) powered by the Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 operating system. With VDI in Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows MultiPoint Server 2012, users can remotely run Windows 8.1 apps as though they were running on their local device, including video clips, movies, streaming video, and other graphically intensive applications. Users can also directly access USB devices connected to their device (such as smart card readers, USB flash drives, or scanners) from within VDI.
  • BYOD Devices: A Deployment Guide for Education - Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) models are becoming increasingly popular in schools. The strategy enables students to use their own computers or other devices as part of the educational experience to perform research, complete homework, and involve themselves in classroom activities. With tools such as SkyDrive and Microsoft Office 365, BYOD becomes even easier. This guide provides information about BYOD for education, including device types, BYOD deployment models, and infrastructure-related considerations for BYOD deployments.
  • Windows To Go: A Deployment Guide for Education - Windows To Go is a feature of the Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 Enterprise operating systems that enables the operating system to run from a USB drive. Using Windows To Go in an education environment provides numerous benefits to faculty and students alike. It enables faculty and students to use a personalized copy of Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 on virtually any PC, at almost any location. This guide provides an overview of Windows To Go deployment for schools. It is for IT pros and discusses the benefits, limitations, and processes involved in deploying Windows To Go.
  • Windows 8.1 Deployment to PCs: A Guide for Education - Educational institutions have requirements (such as classroom and computer labs) that make them unique, but you can deploy Windows 8.1/Windows 8 in multiple ways, depending on the needs of the environment. This guide provides an overview of Windows 8.1 deployment to PCs in an educational environment. The guide is written for IT pros and looks at the various means by which they can deploy Windows 8.1, including the processes and tools involved along with their benefits, requirements, and limitations.
  • Deploying Windows RT 8.1: A Guide for Education - Surface and similar Windows RT 8.1 devices are great ultraportable, sturdy, and inexpensive devices for both students and educators; however, deploying Windows RT devices in schools is different from deploying PCs. This guide describes how schools can effectively deploy Windows RT devices. It helps you choose the right type of user account and automate much of the configuration process. It also provides sample Windows PowerShell scripts for both shared and one-to-one scenarios that schools can customize and extend to automate device configuration.
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