Remember school computer labs? Those shared-tech spaces often had the ambiance of a musty library and typically held a collection of also-ran computers that were far from the leading-edge of personal computing.
Today’s kindergarten-through-high school students – the so-called digital natives who know how to use a touchpad before they use a spoon – have radically different touchpoints with their tech.
Still, budget-strapped school districts often find themselves investing in low-end computers that don’t always hold up in classrooms or struggle to support new, digital teaching methods. That’s why HP has built an affordable, durable and fully functional learning PC – the HP ProBook x360 11 G1 Education Edition, powered by Windows 10.
The device, which was announced today, responds to a shift that is being recognized in classrooms across the country. Classrooms are increasingly transitioning from traditional lecture-based methods to “blended learning” experiences, where technology is at the forefront and small groups of students rotate between different stations on various subjects.
For example, some might be doing projects on the floor with tablets while others huddle around desktop computers or use laptops to collaborate online with students at different schools.
Most teachers say they are using technology in these ways every day with their students, and they expect to step it up in the coming year, according to a survey by Front Row Education.
“The education market is a strategic growth area for HP,” said Gus Schmedlen, vice president, Education at HP. “We pay close attention to the unique needs of students, teachers and schools because they are enabling the next generation of inventors, leaders and future employees to go beyond note memorization and master creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.”
HP is a big player in the education market, having shipped 4.8 million PCs into schools and universities during fiscal year 2016, according to IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker (2015Q4 to 2016Q3).
Built for Schools
Durability was an immediate design priority because, with blended learning, students are constantly transporting computers, increasing the odds of dropped equipment. With that in mind, HP took steps to make the HP ProBook x360 11 EE the world’s thinnest, most rugged convertible PC.
It’s encased in hard, industrial rubber and its screen features optional damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. HP engineers put the computer through its rigorous HP Total Test Process, which involved dropping hundreds of computers from an elevation of up to 30 inches (about the same height as an average school desk) to make sure they could take a beating.
The device is built around Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which delivers a wide variety of innovation for the modern classroom. This new operating system enables educators to get up-and-running quickly, which is important because nearly half of U.S. teachers serve as their own tech support in classrooms. And Windows 10 is considered the most secure OS from Microsoft yet, which can help schools prevent costly network breaches. There’s even an app called “Take a Test,” which includes simple yet secure features for modern test-taking.
“We collaborated with Microsoft on the HP ProBook x360 11 EE because they are helping to redefine classroom learning,” said Schmedlen. “Teaching has changed dramatically over the past few years, and we believe we’ve created a solution that will adapt and enhance the education of young minds everywhere.”
Designed for Learning
But first and foremost, HP designed the HP ProBook x360 11 EE to enrich student learning. The new computer includes many of the features that are found in consumer or business devices, such as Microsoft Office OneNote. But it also has some student-friendly benefits as well.
“It is the world’s only convertible laptop with a dual camera system, which HP calls Explorer Mode. Explorer Mode is used for project-based learning and content creation and uses an optional 1080p FHD camera embedded on the keyboard deck to let students take video in tablet mode while viewing in real-time.”
There’s also an active pen for math, note-taking, annotation and art. And the standard touchscreen interface is easier than a mouse for young children to manipulate.