We are a PreK-8 school and we also use Office 365. We deployed Windows 8 to all teachers this year and purchased Surface RT tablets for most teachers during the summer promotion (they had the option of using their PD accounts to receive one). There are so many features about Windows 8 that I love, and I really do also love the tablets.
HOWEVER, we also piloted Win 8 on student computers and are now rolling them back to Windows 7. It works great, but the issue is the account needed for the Start screen and apps to operate, which aren’t able to be managed by schools, even in domain-joined computers. The implementation of a Win 8 tablet in a 1:1 program would be very difficult with this limitation.
I have to wonder: how are other schools handling Win 8 personalization accounts?
The issues are specific to the US and are:
- Students must create a personal, private Live ID, not under control of the school district. If the student is under 13 (most of ours are), then the parents must verify the account with a parent account and credit card! Office 365 accounts cannot be used. We are in a rural area and struggle just asking parents to simply return paperwork. We will NOT have success getting parents to verify accounts with credit cards. We actually have some prior experience with this, because Live@edu used to require a parent account and credit card, as well. Of the 70 students in the grade level we set up at that time, only about 10 parents actually agreed to go through this process. At that time, we talked with Live@edu account managers and cited the COPPA FAQ, and Microsoft’s legal team agreed to change the TOU for Live@edu so that the parent permission could be managed by the district without the credit card process. They changed it for my state first, and then nationwide. It became a non-issue when Office 365 was released. So, it is especially disappointing that we are now seeing the same issues with Win 8 accounts.
- Students’ Windows 8 personalization accounts should be able to “roam” from computer to computer. What I mean by this is that we don’t yet have 1:1, so my students login to several computers a day with their AD (domain) credentials. If they want to use apps, they would need to then authenticate each computer with their Live account (assuming they have one). This takes significant time during a 30-45 minute lesson.
- Having two accounts (Live ID + an Office 365 account) is very difficult to manage. We do not have any legal barriers asking teachers to create personal Live ID’s for us on their own W8 workstations and tablets, but it’s very confusing to them why they need a personal Windows Live Account when they already have an Office 365 account. We have AD accounts, as well (we are unable to sync AD with Office 365 because we share our Office 365 tenant with two neighboring school districts), so they actually have THREE accounts to keep track of.
IDEALLY, from a school IT perspective, we would have:
- Ability to use Office 365 accounts for Win 8 and Surface tablet personalization to avoid the parent verification process for students under 13. We already take care of COPPA permissions requirements in our Responsible Use Policy, and we are legally allowed to do so. This actually applies to students who are 13 and older, as well – when schools use tools with students, it protects the school district if they are able to administratively manage all of the students’ accounts.
- The ability to specify, in a pattern, students’ Win8 personalization accounts are, and to tie them directly to their AD accounts, so that they can roam from computer to computer (through Group Policy and/or AD).
One final note: both Apple IDs and Google Accounts can be managed by schools via Enterprise tools.