Microsoft's Shape the Future: Getting kids started on Windows 8

Could Microsoft's Shape the Future program be an affordable way to give kids good computer equipment in schools -- and is it just about education?
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
shape the future windows 8 devices children uk schools

Microsoft, Intel and RM Education are joining forces to launch Shape the Future U.K.

The tech giants' scheme will result in children attending British schools -- as well as their teachers -- using a range of Windows 8 devices and software for personal and educational use.

The project's ethos is to "close the opportunity gap between rich and poor by putting technology in the hands of every child." From today, eligible government-funded U.K. schools will be able to buy laptops and tablets for up to 30% off the recommended retail price.

These devices, all supplied with the Windows 8 operating system, are available from RM Education. Every device is powered by Intel and comes with twenty licenses for education-based software. including Microsoft Office Professional and Kodu -- which makes the discount a decent deal for cash-strapped schools.

In order to qualify, the computers must be purchase with at least 50 percent of government funding.

"Shape the Future has the power to put knowledge in the hands of children,” said Joice Fernandes, Worldwide Leader of the Shape The Future Programme, Microsoft. "That knowledge empowers them to shape their own future. I passionately believe that Shape the Future is a true force for good -- as has been proven with our projects around the world. I'm thrilled that we are now bringing this programme to the U.K.”

Citing figures from Experian, Microsoft suggests that home access to a computer can result in an additional £300,000 of income over a child's lifetime, which amounts to £6.6 billion U.K.-wide. Whether this claim is true or not, giving more children access to their own computers can't hurt their educational prospects -- and from the angle of manufacturers offering a discount, it can't hurt to expose children early to a particular PC brand or the Windows 8 operating system either.

Image credit: Shape the Future

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