Stacey Watkins, 22, is a student in Information and Communications Technology at Birmingham City University.
As an extra-curricular enthusiast and a Windows 8 Go-to student ambassador, I was keen to find out Stacey’s view regarding tablets on campus. How tablets are being used by university students – the where, when and how. In Stacey’s words…
I don’t think a laptop offers any functionality for a student that a tablet cannot do anymore. I think tablets are becoming the new laptops, an increasing number of students are now bringing tablets to university rather than laptops. A prime example of using a tablet – for example the Surface – as a student is using Office 365 when typing up all-important reports and assignments. I see students working with an Xbox music motivational playlist they’ve created on the side to try and get them in the zone. It can be skipped, paused and changed in just a touch.
When they’ve spent time (procrastinating!) by changing tracks, a student can then go to Internet Explorer to find that piece of research they have been meaning to do. There is no need to change windows on a Surface when you’ve forgotten what part of the study you require, IE and your assignment are sitting next to each other and you can Bing search and type seamlessly. The beauty of apps being snapped side-by-side on a Surface makes it quick and easy to multitask – crucial for a deadline time pressured student! I also see the tablet function of game playing a lot around university. Students have told me they choose the iPad because of the vast amount of apps in the app store, using their iPad to play games in-between lectures - even in lectures too when bored. The Windows store also offers great quality apps for the Surface.
At Campus Party Europe we had Microsoft Student Partners programming apps and developing games in the full version of Visual Studio live on Surface Pros. In comparison to a laptop, the Surface tablet is much more practical in size and weight. This makes the tablets portability more favourable when carrying it around campus between lectures or on the go. The beauty of having the full version of Windows 8 on tablet means you can install everything you need for university (such as Office 365 as a desktop app). You don’t need a tablet for fun and a laptop for work anymore.
In terms of creating a beautiful experience, every time I turn my Surface on I feel I get a beautiful experience. As a student I like to do things quickly and easily, so my live tiles on my Surface tell me everything about the day ahead without me having to open an app or browser. This includes the weather for the day, my social media notifications, how many emails I have, my next appointment in my calendar app and even live BBC/Bing news feeds. All this information is constantly updating on my start screen, which is not only useful but makes my tablet look really alive and personal. To me this creates much more of a beautiful experience than a static home screen.
Looking forward, I think a really bizarre but useful tablet feature for a student could be a mini projector built into the back of the device. This would be amazing for students when presenting work, and when doing set tasks as a group. It would also be a great thing to have when watching a film during time off studies!
Check out Stacey’s personal blog: http://staceywindows8ambassadorbcu.tumblr.com/.