Microsoft has recently announced a new variant for Windows 11, the Windows 11 SE. This release is part of Windows 11 for Education, which also includes Windows 11 Pro Education and Windows 11 Eduction (3 variants in total).
Windows 11 SE is designed with K-8 schools in mind. K-8 refers to the institutes that enroll students up to the 8th grade, and not above. This means that it is primarily focused to meet the special needs of the students, causing less distraction, and giving more control to the IT professionals that are in charge where only they can install applications and programs on SE devices.
We have heard from educators that they need options that are simpler, secure and work on more affordable devicesMicrosoft
Not only this, Microsoft is planning to make Windows 11 SE available pre-installed on affordable devices, starting at $249 on a Surface Laptop SE. This way institutes can purchase these devices for their students in bulk, delivering an optimized education environment with limited control of the device.
Before we dig into the details, allow us to highlight the key differences between Windows 11 and Windows 11 SE.
Difference between Windows 11 and Windows 11 SE
Windows 11 SE has been designed with the education sector in mind. In our opinion, SE users need more productivity and fewer distractions. Thus, Windows 11 SE has been integrated with Intune for cloud management. The table below highlights the significant differences between Windows 11 and Windows 11 SE.
|Features and benefits||Windows 11||Windows 11 SE|
|Online and offline productivity backed up by the cloud||Yes||Yes|
|Improved accessibility with touch screen and voice typing||Yes||Yes|
|Cloud-first device management||Yes||Yes|
|Runs all Windows apps (UWP, PWA, and Win32)||Yes||No|
|Foreground app boost||Yes||Yes|
|Devices with >128GB storage, or <8GB memory, or higher performance CPU||Yes||No|
|Upgrade from Windows 10||Yes||No|
As you may observe from the table above, the SE edition can be managed cloud-only. However, it is unable to run all types of Windows applications, unlike Windows 11. Moreover, Windows 11 SE does not require a computer to meet the minimum hardware requirements that are mandatory to install Windows 11.
Salient Features of Windows 11 SE
Windows 11 SE has something unique to offer to its users. With Windows 11 SE, users can use the Microsoft Suite applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint offline as part of a Microsoft 365 license. These are then later synchronized via the cloud when an active internet connection is available.
The pre-installed Microsoft Edge in SE edition also brings along broad support for web-based learning applications. It also includes tools like Immersive Reader, a tool to improve the reading experience.
Other salient features include Windows Autopilot that ensures “zero-touch” device deployments, Intune for Education which makes device manageability for IT administrators more convenient.
When managed via the cloud, devices are always up to date. They update silently, automatically, and outside of class time via policies set in Intune for Education to minimize disruptions, while offering the latest in security and reliability updates. Intune for Education also allows IT admins to deliver the right apps and policies securely to every student device.Microsoft
We think that Windows 11 SE is ideal for institutions that want to make learning fun while keeping the technological involvement under control. With SE, IT administrators can place policies to ensure that the devices are not being misused while being able to manage many devices through a single cloud portal.
If you own or work at a K-8 institute, we suggest that you explore the upcoming devices with Windows 11 SE on this Microsoft Surface page.