A small primary school in Northland has won a big prize of new technology from Microsoft to support their students’ education.
Opua School in the Bay of Islands region entered a competition run by the tech giant this year, which was available to schools that had made the effort to upgrade their computer systems from the outdated Windows XP operating system to the new Windows 8 or 8.1.
Opua School – which has a roll of just over 100 students – was randomly selected from the large number of schools that entered the competition, which was part of a campaign run by Microsoft over the last six months to encourage New Zealand educational institutions to move off of XP.
The students received their prize of over $15,000 worth of Windows 8.1 enabled devices from Microsoft, including twelve Dell ‘Venue’ Pro tablets, and two Dell ‘XPS’ all-in-one computers that will help enhance the students learning.
Principal of Opua School, Simon McGowan, says that helping students understand how to use modern computer technology is vital for supporting their education.
“Every day we see the children benefitting from their exposure to, and familiarity with this technology, which is why computers are an essential part of our school curriculum,” he says.
“It’s also a key reason why we saw it as important to ensure that we had upgraded the operating system from XP to Windows 8.1.”
McGowan says he is thrilled that the students will now have even more opportunity to enhance their education thanks to the range of tablets, laptops and computers provided by Microsoft.
Frazer Scott, Marketing & Operations Director for Microsoft NZ says the company is delighted that the new devices will be so well used by students, and commends Opua School for upgrading to Windows 8.1.
He says that the company has been encouraging schools to move away from the old Windows XP system for several years.
“Windows XP was a great operating system for its time, but it was not designed to support the functionality we now see as standard for a modern education, such as ubiquitous internet access, the use of tablet PCs and touch screens,” he adds.
Microsoft had previously announced it was ending tech support for the old XP operating system from April 8 2014, saying computers that continued running XP after this date would become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware and other malicious software which can steal or damage valuable information.
Scott says for school customers who are unsure of what version of Windows they are using, Microsoft has developed a website amirunningxp.com that can automatically tell if a PC runs Windows XP or a newer version of Windows like Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1. If the site detects Windows XP, it provides guidance on how to upgrade.
Microsoft has also developed a free data migration tool which helps people to copy files, music, videos, email and user profiles and settings from an old PC to a new device, allowing Windows XP users to easily customise exactly what they want to bring over to a new device.