Microsoft Is Expanding Its Classroom Cred

Microsoft Is Expanding Its Classroom Cred
Image: Microsoft

Project Torino, is a Microsoft-developed programming language that taught visually impaired kids the basics of coding. Along with a new, smaller Classroom Pen to accompany the Microsoft Surface Go, the tech powerhouse continues to push new frontiers.

The Surface Go is a solid device and, since the most recent iPad Pro now costs an arm and leg – and perhaps even a kidney, the Surface Go looks like a great option for students. But the Surface Pen isn’t very friendly for smaller hands.

The Classroom Pen is shorter than the current Surface Pen at a little over 10cm long and there’s also a slot at the end for securing it to your computer. It has the same two buttons as the Surface Pen and you can flip it over to erase your scribbles. The writing tip is durable but there’s a spare in the box just in case.

Current pricing is US$40 per pen. There’s no word on local pricing yet and it will start shipping next month.

Project Torino, which has been renamed Code Jumper, lets visually impaired students manipulate large plastic pods to create programs. Rather than relying on typing on a display or using a mouse to drag and drop code or modules, the programming experience is given a physical element.

Initially, Torino was an experimental program limited to the UK but the company has handed control of Code Jumper to the American Printing House for the Blind with plans to expand the program to the US, Canada, Australia and India by the end of the year with aspirations to go global over the next five years.

Many years ago, Microsoft’s goal was to have a computer running Windows one every desk. But the strategy deems to be much broader now. It’s about Microsoft being embedded everywhere from work the servers you run, whether they’re on-premises or in the Azure cloud, through to schools and home as Cortana support is added to third-party devices.

Education has become a strong market for Microsoft and these moves further bolster the company’s credibility in that sector.