We write plenty about Apple and Google products here on Technapex, primarily because they are two big names in education technology. From iOS apps to Android apps, from iPads to Chromebooks, the two tech titans are certainly influencing the edtech world. But what about Microsoft? You remember, that really big company based out of Redmond? Microsoft is busy working to release the next version of its operating system, Windows 8, which is slated for release in a few weeks on October 26.
It’s optimized for tablets and Microsoft hopes to challenge the market dominance of Apple and Google by hybridizing its operating system for desktop and touch users. And as Ray Fleming writes on Microsoft’s education blog, the Windows Store is featuring an increasing number of educational apps.
Sure, the existence of a Microsoft blog writing about apps for a Microsoft operating system is a little bit self-serving, but it’s worth taking a look at the educational offerings that developers are producing. Windows 8 may be causing a few tech savants to scratch their heads, but what if the new system actually takes off? What if Microsoft does manage to dent the fender of Apple’s shiny luxury vehicle?
Fleming wrote about Mathrathon, a simple right-or-wrong math game with a user interface that reminds me of Quick Math, recently released for the iPad. (Note, this is not to be confused with QuickMath—no space—which is another Windows 8 learning app. It doesn’t appear to be linked to the iOS app in any way.) The app creates 60 random questions and challenges the user to answer them as quickly as possible.
The store also includes a flash card app called SAS Flash Cards, and here is where I see the Windows 8 user interface really taking off. I’ve spent some time fiddling with Windows Phones before, and I once had the Windows 8 developer preview installed on my laptop, and I find the transitions and page viewing on both platforms to be quick, intuitive and fluid. I believe that the attractive nature of the user interface would lend well to learning with flash cards.
Looks like Khan Academy is also poised to get some mileage out of Windows 8. The app Viewer for Khan Academy is an independently produced player for the popular educational videos. Again, I can see the snappy user interface working wonders for an app such as this.
I’m excited for Windows 8. It may have a rocky start and some early reports suggest that the new operating system may draw the ire of PC enthusiasts and traditional users, but Microsoft has innovation in its sights and only wants to shake up the industry. It is also encouraging to see app developers pay attention to this new platform and continue making a difference in education technology.