As many students head back to school over the next few weeks, they face ever-increasing pressure - to perform well on standardized tests (including Common Core in much of the U.S.), to meet parent and teacher expectations, and to prepare themselves for higher education and a fast-changing job market. Yet when students are inspired, those pressures can quickly take a back seat to deep, meaningful learning.

Most teachers will tell you that the best way to inspire students is to engage them in ways that are comfortable for them - there's simply no better way to connect with students than to do it on their terms. The proliferation of mobile computing has created a generation of digital native students. Windows 8 devices are powerful, flexible and secure -- built to support serious learning, as well as fun and creativity.

These students, representing a range of grade levels in U.S. schools, weren't shy in expressing their enthusiasm for learning with the devices and apps empowered with Windows 8:

With the right devices and tools, both teaching and learning are transformed. A powerful yet affordable Windows device - whether tablet, laptop or smart phone - becomes a jumping-off point for real creativity, expression of ideas, and meaningful learning. Students can conduct research using safe and ad-free Bing for Schools, while simultaneously collaborating with peers across the room -- or even across the ocean. As one teacher noted, "They can imagine when they're reading, but they can experience with the tablet."

At Jean-Jaurès School in Albi, France, Windows 8 tablets are motivating both students and teachers:

According to school principal Jean-Pierre Crochet, their successful digital transition started from a simple observation: "The children are part of the digital generation," he says, "they are familiar with these tools, so it is important for teaching to evolve and for digital technology to be introduced." With the ultimate objective - preparing students for the future - front-and-center, Crochet adds, "We have new citizens that we need to train with the tools they will find in the world of work."

With devices and technology that keep students' needs in mind, learning moves effortlessly between school and home. Technology teacher David Arderiu notes, "The tablet running Windows 8 was a very easy choice because 99 percent of students already had Windows at home." The school's students can now access their work anywhere and at any time, expanding the definition of "classroom" and promoting life-long learning.

Enthusiastic student react with excitement to Windows 8 devices and learning apps. As one student noted, "Nothing is out of bounds with these things!" Without fail, students discover new ways to learn using Windows 8, often surprising even their teachers. By breaking down boundaries and giving students the tools to explore and experience, Windows in the classroom offers limitless opportunities to learn. Teacher Jessica Mouttet of Miami, Florida says it best: "It's amazing how they can do and how far they can go with this."

Learn More

To learn more about how Microsoft's technology and tools can empower students, prepare them for the workforce and instill a life-long love of learning, visit Microsoft in Education, and discover special offers for teachers and students at the Microsoft Store.