• kerwickchrisp

Surface Pros for teachers? Top tips for using these transformational devices in Education.

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

So, you are thinking of buying teachers Surface Pros? How will you set them up? Induct and train staff? Is it just a small laptop or so much more? For the price let's hope it is the later! The next blog post will deal with strategy, for now let's just think about what staff might do with them.

Top Tips:

IT Team

Make it easy - teach the basics at least

  • Set devices up with the Office 365 accounts and have the default storage area as One Drive.

  • Allow staff as much freedom as possible within your organisation's constraints. This way they will make the most of all the features. Locking down Bluetooth or USB ports for example seriously hampers staff.

  • Buy cases and stick on skins to make your devices last longer. Then get robust cases for the PE teachers and anyone else who needs them. (Yes, audit that need).

  • Make sure pens are labelled securely and staff know if they lose the pen, they will have to replace it. Maybe you can laser etch them? These are an essential part of their toolkit and certainly not cheap. Have a central location to bring "lost" pens.

  • Install Class Notebook and Learning Tools and some essential Chrome Add-ons like One Note web clipper.

  • Create desktop shorts cuts for staff to some favourites like Classroom Screen, Nearpod, Socrative, Kahoot and Quizlet. Ask which ones are commonly used.

  • Show staff how to find the desktop and the charms - yes really.


  • Time saving and effective assessment: Use One Note to keep everything neat and organised and class notebook to manage student work, hand it out, mark it and more.

  • Embed learning/overlearning and differentiation: Use your camera to capture all sorts: Experiments, lessons, micro teaches, student work, discussions and more. This enhances access to review, re watch, revise, support homework and lowers your workload next year.

  • Pick up the pace and support individual learners. Cast your Surface Pro to a classroom screen and use One Note or Classroom screen as a more fluid and interactive method of presentation than PowerPoint. Annotate as you present and don't get stuck at the front of the class now you can easily carry it around the room.

  • Model good practice: Use lined or squared 'paper' in One Note:

Learn to use your device

  • Flipped learning and overlearning, revision: Use Screen Cast O Matic (or similar) to record the screen. This tool is free and allows you to record to up to 15 minutes of screen time. It is super easy to use and requires very little setup.

  • Set up collaboration groups between teachers (e.g. by department) to share planning, resources and ideas. Use Classnotebook or Teams.

  • Become digitally fluent, a lifelong learner: Join the Microsoft Educator Community and complete the training in One Note and more if you can but definitely in One Note.

  • Learn to use your device efficiently. The time send will reap rewards in terms of pace in lessons and time saved - and model good practice. Download and print this quick guide on using your trackpad and windows shortcuts for a start.


Plan, plan and plan your implementation.

  • Use Microsoft Forms to collect information and surveys and record things like Learning Walks with a specific focus.

  • When you are in parent meetings (or sensitive meetings) consider using the Surface flat - it is much less intimidating to the rest of the people in the meeting. Might stop staff reading emails in CPD sessions as well?

  • If you use the Surface for Video calls lift it up to eye height (it's what dictionaries are for nowadays?) - it is way too low unless you deliberately want to look down at other people and have them look up your nose.

  • Consider becoming a Microsoft Showcase school and encouraging staff to become certified by incorporating it in CPD and annual reviews.

  • Ask yourself "Why Surface Pros?" - would a Surface Go, chrome book or iPad be more useful in your context? Just because the IT team say Microsoft is "easier to manage" does not make it the defacto only solution....

Watch this video to see how a Surface can change the way you teach. Even if students don't use a device this is well worth a watch.

#microsoft #surfacepro #edtech #teaching

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