The Situation

American educators and employers have long acknowledged a need to prepare students with the relevant, in-demand skills and knowledge they’ll need to become successful innovators. This focus has now turned to STEAM—a curriculum that includes science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math—as a way to spark young students’ interest in the arts and sciences.

To introduce students to STEAM and spark their interest in career pathways in fields like robotics, programming, and design, officials at the Microsoft Store in Salt Lake City, Utah, partnered with Adobe to hold the I Heart Tech event. Attended by high school students from a mix of public, private, and charter schools, the event drew dozens of educators and as many as 200 students.

During the event, the Leonardo Museum hosted a module during which students built LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robots and programmed them using Scratch, a programming language designed by the MIT Media Lab to help students learn to code.

The Challenge

Event coordinators knew the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® module would be perfect for students who like to move around the learning space and engage their hands and sense of touch. Students began building and programming their robot while seated at a table, but moved to the floor to test them, returning to the table to adjust their code as necessary.

But because consumer-grade devices and education settings don’t always mix well, event organizers knew they’d need a durable computer that was slim and light, yet strong enough to survive a day of active learning. They also knew they’d need a device with a short learning curve. If students spent too much time struggling with the computer, they’d lose time with their robot—a frustrating experience that could deter them from a career pathway in robotics.

Finally, event organizers knew the students in attendance would have a variety of learning styles. It would be important that students have access to a computer with enough versatility to accommodate all learners. Finding a computer designed for K-12 learning that could not only run programming software but withstand the rigors of an active education space was critical.

The Solution

Thanks to our retail relationship with Microsoft, Microsoft Store employees who were involved with the I Heart Tech event knew of one device that would work well—our Atlas 12 2-in-1 laptop. And because we’ve got a soft spot for students and education, we donated 50 of them for use during the event.

Justin Lee, a business sales specialist at the Microsoft Store in Salt Lake City, Utah, and one of the I Heart Tech event organizers, said the Atlas 12 made all the difference.

“By donating the Atlas 12 laptops, Bak USA provided accessibility to technology and tools for a classroom,” he said. “We wouldn’t have been able to offer this if they hadn’t stepped in to help.”

Our Atlas Series—which includes the Atlas 12 and its successor, the Atlas—are 2-in-1 computers designed to accommodate learners of all types. Because Atlas series computers can be used as touchscreen laptops or folded back into tablets, they’re perfect for tactile learners.

They very much enjoyed the Atlas 12’s capability of switching between a laptop and a tablet,” Lee said. “And the touchscreen was perfect for tactile learners. They were able to ‘feel’ their code and quickly fix errors without having to find the cursor on screen.”

Atlas laptops are built to withstand just about anything a student might do to them —even when that student is crawling around on the floor after a small robot.

Atlas laptops run Microsoft Windows 10, an operating system most students have used before and one that’s fully compatible with Scratch. Lee said students felt familiar with the Atlas 12 laptops, enabling them to spend most of their time building their robot, programming it, and testing their work.

“The students especially liked that the battery lasted for the whole event without needing a charge,” Lee said. “There was no interruption in their activities. I heard a student remark, ‘These are much better than the Chromebooks at my school.’ They were really happy to use the Atlas 12. Without a doubt, these students wouldn’t have been able to complete their activities without the Atlas 12.”

The Benefits

Versatile enough for all learners.
Atlas Series 2-in-1 laptops are designed to accommodate learners of all types. Students can use it as a touchscreen laptop or fold it back into a tablet, engaging with the material in a way that’s right for them.

Built for the school of hard knocks.
Students are tough on equipment. Our Atlas series laptops are drop- and dust-resistant and can withstand being splashed when the inevitable happens.

A short learning curve.
The Atlas is powered by Microsoft Windows 10, an operating system and user interface that students are familiar with. And the Atlas itself will feel familiar to your students—no fumbling needed.

Battery life.
Students are on the go from the minute their feet hit the floor in the morning. Lucky for them (and you), our Atlas Series laptops can keep up—all day long.