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Williston Northampton School to issue portable Microsoft computers to every student and teacher in September

Originally published Monday, August 12, 2013 in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

EASTHAMPTON — When classes start next month, students at the Williston Northampton School will have something new to put in their backpacks: A portable Microsoft Surface Pro computer.

The school has purchased 650 of the touch-screen “laptops in tablet form,” as Microsoft describes them — enough for every one of Williston’s 543 students and 85 teachers, and a few in reserve.

The tablets, which sell for about $800 apiece, have been customized with school-approved software and equipped with USB ports to connect to keyboards, printers and hard drives, said Andrew Shelffo, Williston’s chief information officer, who oversees technology at the school.

Students will be able to write papers, check their grades, share documents, access research websites and, yes, even play games on their portable tablets. The 2-pound Surface Pro computers come with a stylus, so users can handwrite as well as type notes on the 10.6-inch screen.

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