This is a collaborative post, but all views are my own.
Last week I was invited to attend the launch of the brand new Microsoft Surface Go in association with John Lewis up in London. Joshua was a bit too young to come along with me to this one, so I headed up on my own to see what all the fuss was about and to get my hands on the new bit of kit.
Joshua already loves all things technical and enjoys playing games, learning new things and watching programmes on our phones and tablet. He starts school next week and on the open days we’ve been to we’ve seen the wide array of devices available for the children to use there, which is a world apart from our own school days!
Back when I was at school it was all about colourful books to write in textbooks covered in wallpaper. At the launch event the closest we came to school books were the ones suspended decoratively from the ceiling!
It’s fair to say therefore that we are well aware of how important technology is to children and how useful it can be these days, both for entertainment but also for learning and creating.
Quite fittingly, the main focus of the launch event was on how technology can be a key bridge between creativity and education. There was a genuinely interesting panel segment led by the legendary, mountain-climbing, book-writing, nature-exploring Ben Fogle which started off with the recent statistic that 84% of parents feel that creativity and imagination are just as important as numeracy and literacy in a child’s development.
I completely agree with that and although the basics of maths and English are clearly important I think the world really opens up for people who can create and use their imagination.
One of the recurring themes within the panel discussion was the way that technology can be used to enhance a child’s development and to get their imaginations going. Technology gets a lot of negative press and is often associated with ‘bad’ or ‘lazy’ parenting, but each of the panel members could pick out numerous ways that their own children use technology to enhance, rather than replace, various ‘traditional’ activities.
With an entire universe of knowledge at your child’s fingertips, exploring nature, or solving problems, or researching subjects online is something they can do whilst they’re out and about physically exploring nature, solving problems, or researching subjects!
Some examples raised during the session were around looking up recipes for gluten free chocolate cake, identifying creatures encountered whilst out exploring and researching new routes to go for outdoor walks.
Technology is important in pretty much every walk of life and every field of employment so it’s essential that children have access to quality, user-friendly devices at an early age. This is where the new Microsoft Surface Go aims to help.
Unlike its Surface Pro and laptop counterparts the new Surface Go is small, light and thin enough to be quickly and easily popped into a small bag ready to be taken on an adventure. With its £379 entry point it’s certainly a lot more affordable than the other devices in the range too.
I had a good play with one of the new tablets, which you can add a keyboard and pen to for an additional cost, and I was definitely impressed.
It runs on the Windows 10s operating system, which is designed for mobile, touchscreen devices. Windows 10s allows access to only approved, quality apps and comes with a range of features to help your children stay safe online.
The device’s trackpad is a decent size for a small device and moving from one app to another is smooth and fast. Even at age four, I know Joshua would pick it up with ease with its app-based set-up and from my own perspective it’s pretty intuitive for me too given it runs on a very familiar Windows format.
One of the biggest features that impressed me at the launch event was the capability of the pen. I’ve never used a pen on a tablet before but this one felt really natural and enabled proper shading when painting and colouring.
I think Joshua could genuinely enjoy using the pen to create completely mess-free masterpieces from scratch – good for him and definitely good for us!
There’s also no need to be limited to just 2 dimensions as we discovered during a demonstration of Paint 3D – objects could be quickly and easily created in 3D, rotated around 360 degrees and then incorporated into the real world through mixed reality! A really interesting session and something I really need to try out at home. I might even let Joshua have a go too…
All in all the Surface Go looks like a great piece of kit and the launch was definitely a thought-provoking and inspiring day.
For more info on the Microsoft Surface Go click here for all the details.