What is Surface Hub?

“Surface Hub is a powerful team collaboration device designed to advance the way people work together naturally.”


A powerful interactive whiteboard

One of the easiest uses to grasp is using the Surface Hub as an interactive whiteboard – though it’s way more powerful than a normal interactive whiteboard as it supports what you could call multi-multi-touch! Practically as many people as you can fit in front of it can write on it at once – up to 100 individual points simultaneously – either with the two included Surface pens or their fingers.

It enables a group to, for example:

  • Search for and clip a document or page from the web
  • Brainstorm and annotate it together
  • Easily share the result with everyone in the group, via email or OneDrive

There are tools to help you:

  • Draw in straight lines, snapping roughly sketched lines and angles into perfect geometric shapes, which is brilliant for creating accurate diagrams for maths and science
  • Select what you’ve drawn or written and drag it around, quickly drafting and shaping ideas
  • Easily create and populate tables, turning handwriting in to text and numbers for quick spreadsheets

Video conferencing with Skype

The second main feature to get to grips with is Skype – there are mics and cameras built in and angled so the whole room can be seen and heard clearly. It’s easy to reach people to join sessions remotely, whether that’s a student who can’t physically attend class, or a visiting speaker with a particular expertise to enhance the lesson. You can easily link two groups of students working on the same thing – whether that’s other campuses within your institution, peer groups from other institutions – practically anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection and a Microsoft account. They can all simply click on an invitation to join via Outlook.

Some nice examples we’ve seen from our customers:

  • Local authors interviewed by students about the books – deepening their understanding of the text and its themes.
  • In a Mandarin lesson – a colleague at a partner institute in China walking around the streets enabling students to see and interact with examples of the language in real-life situations
  • For music lessons – notating and editing scores on the big screen, and instantly sharing the result with the whole class so they can play along

Screen mirroring for presentations

The third main thing we should mention is perhaps the most obvious: the use of the Hub as a screen for presentations. Screen mirroring can work both ways – from Hub to device as well as device to Hub – which can be a huge time-saving feature. A teacher editing a OneNote on the Hub doesn’t have to pause to wait for every student to take notes, as all notes and interactions can be transmitted to their personal devices at the end of the session. This also helps students with learning difficulties who may struggle to keep up with note taking at the same time as listening; they can review and digest the information at their leisure after class.

How can Hable help?

The most basic part of the training we offer is making sure every staff member is comfortable with how the Hub operates. We are very experienced in this set up and introductory training process – making sure everyone can make the most of your investment and use it in their daily teaching practice.

Sarah Mann of #TeamHable

As many of Hable’s trainers are former teachers, we can help you come up with ideas for how the Surface might be used in various subject areas – for example geography teachers could look at a large map of France, move in to a 3D view of locations of interest like the Eiffel tower, clip articles on its impact on the environment into OneNote. As mentioned above, the music department will love how they can notate and edit scores on the big screen, and instantly share the result with the whole class to play along. We can help your team develop their own ideas, too.

Sarah of #TeamHable has 30 years of experience education and since Surface Hub’s release has been all over the country, delivering training at the University of Warwick, Exeter College, and Brighton College, the last of which has recently opened new purpose-built learning centre with three Surface Hubs in a room. Exeter College are also in the process of rolling out Surface Pro tablets to all staff.


Making the most of Office 365

This is one of the key features of Hable’s approach to training (which we prefer to call learning): it’s never limited to a single device or piece of software. We can show you how the Hub integrates as part of a whole way of working with Office 365; how it links in with free applications and services you may already have paid for but which you might not be using to their full potential, such as SharePoint and Teams.

You can read more about how we helped the University of London with their move to a flexible working approach powered by Office 365 in this blog post.

It’s worth mentioning too that we are a Microsoft Authorised Education Partner (AEP) and a Microsoft Global Training Partner – meaning we are up to date with all latest changes to Microsoft’s products and services, so we can help make sure you don’t get left behind.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or if you’d like to book a call to discuss how Surface Hub could help your organisation.