The modern world integrates advanced technology to improve efficiency and productivity, which is also the same in improving education. Technology in the education industry enhances teaching and learning among instructors and students, respectively. The application of appropriate technological tools and processes in the quest to improve student’s performance is referred to as educational technology. The education trends, processes, and operations keep changing due to the advancement of technology, which necessitates educational technology (Libarkin, 2016). Different technologies improve the learning experience of students and teachers, increases class participation and student engagement, and, most importantly, improve the entire educational system. It is for these reasons that the education sector, as well as other industries, are adopting technological adoption models to improve, increase, and sustain performance and productivity.
Technological adoption models are numerous and applicable in any setting or environment. However, the paper focuses on the Surface Pro, a 2-in-1 detachable tablet and software, and its relevance when integrated into a K-12 setting or environment. Primarily, K-12 is a popular term used in the education sector to refer to the kindergarten grades (K) from the first to the twelve levels (1-12). Communities that use this term are providing recent information and integrating technological models to facilitate learning and teaching at K-12 levels. Therefore, Surface Pro is one of the technological models these communities are incorporating in their K-12 educational systems (Microsoft, 2019). Surface pro, as seen above, is a 2-in-1 detachable tablet (hardware) and software designed by Microsoft Company of the Microsoft Surface series. It offers excellent value, products, and services, ranging from hardware software, apps, among others. Surface Pro is quantified and described as a cost saving as it reduces the costs spent in IT support, purchases of paper, textbooks, and even printing among students and teachers. In addition, Surface Pro increases productivity among teachers as well as student’s engagement levels and performance.
In that case, this paper focuses on the integration of Surface Pro devices in a K-12 setting or environment. The paper analyzes the success and failure factors that Surface Pro brings in the K-12 setting through detailed research of other works, researchers, and theories. In addition, the paper uses a case study that enables further analysis and discussion of the paper’s primary objective. Finally, the paper concludes the discussion with a summary of the critical findings while identifying strengths, weaknesses, and challenges experienced when integrating Surface Pro in a K-12 setting.
Literature Review: Key Implications for Instructional Design
Every learning institution seeks to create a learning experience and adopt excellent resources to ensure effective and maximized students’ acquisition, retention, and transfer or application of skills and knowledge. The components of an instructional design include analysis of student’s needs, the designing of instructional materials and resources, and evaluating the success rates of the learning process and instructions. Integrating a new technology such as Surface Pro would have significant implications on these components (Libarkin, 2016). The Surface Pro devices have both positive and negative impacts when incorporated in a K-12 setting. According to an infographic presented by Microsoft, integrating Surface Pro creates smarter schools, instructors are empowered, and students are more engaged. More importantly, Surface Pro is a cost-saving device whereby a school can save up to $820,000 in three years. This figure is attained from 58% reductions in printing, which is equivalent to $239,000 on papers and textbooks. Secondly, the school saves $247,000 on the productivity of teachers, whereby 25% is saved daily on prep time and 30 minutes added on the regular teaching time daily. Finally, the school can save up to $333,000 in its Information Technology budget and time (Microsoft, 2019).
Teachers remain empowered and students engaged as they can use Surface Pro for all educational needs such as notes, assignments, and even homework. Parents also feel relieved as the device saves on physical textbooks, which are $70 each, and through the device, one can purchase an e-book half the price, which is $35. The surface Pro devices make schools better in many ways. It integrates and standardizes all learning and teaching functions. Standardizing reduces operating costs in the school and simplifies the management of IT and learning (Owens, 2017). The features of Surface Pro contribute significantly to the improvement of student learning as being a tablet, and a personal computer maximizes focus among instructors and students.
Surface Pro products have been described as essential solutions in the learning process among students in the kindergarten. They have brought the learning process to life, as the devices are intuitive and high-performance tools. Besides, they maximize portability among students and instructors, where they have the power to work securely anywhere and anytime. Many teachers in the K-12 setting state that Surface Pro devices with Surface Pans have been time-saving and made previous impossible teaching possible (Owens, 2017). Time is saved when developing curriculums and instructors have found the device authentic to improve personal student-teacher engagement. More importantly, when teaching students, bringing ideas to life has led to exciting teaching experience that has resulted in better student reception and participation (Claydon, 2015).
Despite the tremendous benefits experienced when integrating Surface Pro in K-12 schools, stakeholders in the schools have reported many challenges. Some of these challenges include missed opportunities among instructors, a multitude of difficulties with the devices and systems, and time consumption while locating assignments or notes. Primarily, instructors felt that they did not provide adequate opportunities for students to learn and appreciate the expectations of this new technology (Owens, 2017). More importantly, incorporating Surface Pro resulted in instructors developing new systems and new devices to facilitate class research and tracking student progress. These new systems have resulted in many challenges among students, as they have to log in different systems and devices; thus, complications in accessing notes, assignments, and projects. The complications thus lead to time consumption instead of saving time (Claydon, 2015).
In a research conducted, scaling up the classroom and integrating technological models such as Surface Pro does not necessarily enhance the performance or student productivity compared to the traditional way of learning and teaching. The research involved outlining how student performance and productivity are affected in a conventional classroom setting and a SCALE-UP classroom type. The study concludes that no significant changes and differences are seen when students are engaged in the two environments (Libarkin, 2016). The main aspects under study included students’ performance and perception of technological implications. Student’s performance survey involved measurement of classroom effort, participation, and pre-post content knowledge (Claydon, 2015). The results of the survey indicated no difference in classroom effort between individual and group efforts in the two settings, as students performed equally.
Measuring the pre-post content knowledge resulted in similar results indicating that students had identical content at the beginning of the course in both settings. Finally, the perceptions of students on incorporating Surface Pro and other technologies were similar to those that preferred traditional setting. This is because the students stated that the level of interaction with the instructor in the two settings was identical. However, the students noted that Surface Pro devices were exemplary helpful when facilitating group activities and team performance in assignments (Libarkin, 2016). They were useful for drawing scientific models and other freehand drawings. Despite the relevance found in the use of the Surface Pro devices among students in the SCALE-UP setting, the study concluded that adding technological models such as Surface Pro in the traditional environment might not have significant changes in student performance, content knowledge, and student participation.
Surface Pro devices have been incorporated in the education systems of many K-12 schools over the years. Hillcrest Christian College, an independent day school, located in Queensland, Australia, is one of these schools. The school serves over 1,400 students aged between 3-18 years and runs a daycare program for children aged between 3-5 years, which directly aligns with the K-12 setting. This case overview is the most appropriate when analyzing the successes and failures of integrating the Surface Pro in a K-12 setting. Hillcrest provides the K-12 program, which aligns with the primary objective of the paper, and uses Surface Pro in the IRL program (Microsoft, 2019). The college incorporates Microsoft Surface devices such as Surface Pro and Pen in preparing the children for the digital world. Besides, the school uses Surface Pro and Pen in developing the reading and writing skills of the children. The college is an award-winning school of the most innovative school globally as it integrates these devices in designing its curriculum and delivery process. Teachers in the classrooms incorporate the Surface Pro devices, learning and collaborative applications, and Microsoft Office 365 to ensure effective instructional design.
Hillcrest College has developed the I Love Reading (IRL) program to enable IRL students to decode texts and English phonetic codes. They incorporate Surface Pro devices in addition to applications and classroom instructions to develop reading and writing skills among these children (Microsoft, 2019). Through the Surface Pro devices, students can view the color codes, phonetic texts, and together with Surface Pen and apps, they can read and write words and sounds. Surface Pro has reduced and eliminated various costs in Hillcrest, whereby it saves up to $4,300 (AUD 6,000) per academic year. The eliminated costs include those on the printing of calendars used for assignment and date tracking among students. Teachers do not print worksheets for their lesson plans, as students can access e-books and Surface Books through the device. Hillcrest is faced with challenges when integrating Surface Pro devices in the IRL program and digital education (Microsoft, 2019). The challenge is described as “Two-Fold,” where the school tries to accelerate literacy among children while ensuring they acquire the best learning tools necessary for them to succeed in class and the world. In addition, writing among students is low and challenging; thus, the school has developed an ILR writing app to address the challenge.
The integration of Surface Pro in Hillcrest College among children aged between 3-18 years shows both positive and negative results and implications. Primarily, according to Microsoft, Surface Pro reduces operational costs incurred while printing notes, assignments, and book purchases. Hillcrest shows a reduction in operational expenses, whereby in an academic year, the school saves up to $4,300 (AUD 6,000) from the printing of calendars used for assignment and date tracking among students (Libarkin, 2016). Teachers do not print worksheets for their lesson plans, as students can access e-books and Surface Books through the device. This shows that Surface Pro devices are essential and successful in reducing or eliminating operational costs in K-12 schools.
Secondly, Surface Pro is successful in improving productivity and student engagement. In Hillcrest College, early learners or children develop the writing and reading skills earlier than expected and stipulated with 12 months. Besides, students use the devices to view the color codes, phonetic texts, and together with Surface Pen and apps, they can read and write words and sounds. This has resulted in faster acquisition of knowledge and skills among children. However, Surface Pro devices seem ineffective when integrated alone (Owens, 2017). For instance, in Hillcrest, writing among students is low and challenging, but reading is efficiently conducted. Thus, the school has developed an ILR writing app to address the challenge, whereby when incorporated with the Surface Pro and Surface Pen; children easily develop the writing skills. Concisely, Surface Pro limits and fails to provide full expectations of an instructional design. Thus, it requires additional and complementary tools and devices such as apps and other Surface devices (Claydon, 2015).
Thirdly, Surface Pro devices are said to affect the productivity, engagement, and performance of both students and teachers. One study argues for the hypothesis, while the other claims against the theory. When analyzing the validity of the thesis using the Hillcrest case study, the study arguing for the hypothesis seems more valid. In the case study, students, teachers, and administrators in Hillcrest use Surface Pro, among other devices, to facilitate their duties. For instance, teachers use the device to develop curriculums; students have accelerated performance if they learn faster with 12 months, increased collaboration in the classroom and learning has become smoother and more standardized (Libarkin, 2016). Finally, according to the case study, teachers recorded learning difficulties, teaching issues, and frustrations among students, since they could not access learning materials, notes, and assignments on time. However, through Surface Pro devices, children can easily access the same notes, and at the same time, due to learning standardization, which has smoothened learning and teaching processes in Hillcrest.
The Surface Pro devices have both positive and negative implications, which form some of the success stories and factors of Surface Pro devices have when integrated into a K-12 setting. Surface Pro creates smarter schools; instructors are empowered; students are more engaged and cuts operational costs. Schools save operational costs incurred when printing worksheets, notes, assignments, and calendars for date tracking, as seen in the Hillcrest case study. Moreover, the costs incurred while purchasing books are saved, as Surface Pro has access to cheaper e-books and Surface Books. Teachers remain empowered and students engaged as they can use Surface Pro for all educational needs such as notes, assignments, and even homework. Surface Pro brings the learning process to life, as the devices are intuitive and high-performance tools. Besides, they maximize portability among students and instructors, where they have the power to work securely anywhere and anytime. These
On the other hand, integrating Surface Pro devices is faced with many challenges, which outline some of the main failures and limitations in a K-12 Setting. These challenges include missed opportunities among instructors, a multitude of problems with the devices and systems, and time consumption while locating assignments or notes. Moreover, some scholars argue that Surface Pro does not necessarily enhance performance or student productivity compared to the traditional way of learning and teaching. This argument can be both true and false; however, when analyzing the Hillcrest case study, the statement is false. This is because; students, teachers, and administrators in Hillcrest use Surface Pro, among other devices, to facilitate their duties. This has resulted in teachers using the device to develop curriculums, acceleration of students’ performance as they learn faster with 12 months, increased collaboration in the classroom, and learning has become smoother and more standardized.
strengths highlighted form the case study is that it affirms on the successes
of Surface Pro devices through qualitative and quantitative data and
information. On the other hand, the weakness identified is that only one
program in Hillcrest uses Surface Pro devices, thus narrowing the research and
analysis. The Case should have at least two programs, one of the children and
the other for younger teenagers that show the successes and failures to enable
effective analysis of the effectiveness of integrating Surface Pro in a K-12
Claydon, J. P. (2015). A Study of Student and Instructor Perceptions of Tablet PCs in Higher Education Contexts. Higher Education in Transformation Conference, pp.250-264.
Libarkin, J. R. (2016). Does the Room Matter? Active Learning in Traditional and Enhanced Lecture Spaces. CBE Life Sciences Education, Vol 15(4): pp: 68-72.
Microsoft. (2019, January 17). Hillcrest students learn to read 12 months faster with digital education tools. Retrieved from https://customers.microsoft.com/en-US/story/hillcrest-christian-college-primary-secondary-education-surface
Microsoft. (2019). Surface: Prepare classrooms for tomorrow. Retrieved from Microsoft: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/business/education
Owens, S. (2017). The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Surface Pro For Primary And Secondary Education: Cost Savings And Business Benefits Enabled By Surface Pro. A Forrester Total Economic Impact™.
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