The Microsoft Classroom Pen 2 is an affordable Surface Pen for students

Microsoft is releasing a new stylus for classroom use: the Classroom Pen 2. The pen will be available on April 27th and will be sold directly to schools.

The company launched its first Classroom Pen in 2019. That stylus sold for $39.99 per unit. It was compatible with any device that supported the MPP protocol (including a number of non-Surface Windows devices).

Microsoft is going even more budget with this release. The Pen 2 will be sold to schools in packs of 20 for $399.80, which works out to $19.99 per pen. Per Microsoft’s blog post, however, it seems like this pen may only be optimized for Microsoft’s own Surface Pro and Surface Go devices — other Windows devices aren’t mentioned.

Microsoft claims that the device has an “improved design” from the previous model, though the announcement doesn’t share many specifics. It looks like the Pen 2 is a different color and has a pen clip to attach to a Surface Type Cover. The company also says the new device has a longer enclosure “to optimize for grip strength.” Sure.

Like its predecessor, the Pen 2 appears to have two buttons. It also shares some classroom-specific features with the Classroom Pen: it ships with replacement tips and has a slot that teachers can loop a string through to tether the pen to a Surface device.

The release is part of Microsoft’s long-standing push to challenge Chromebooks in the education sphere. (Those devices had their best year ever in 2020, as many students around the world began attending class from home.)

Microsoft has worked with partners like Acer, Dell, and Lenovo to release dozens of sub-$500 Windows PCs in the past few years, alongside updates to Microsoft Teams that are tailored to classroom use. Stylus support can be a must-have for students who want to draw graphs and take notes on their laptops, and widely distributing Surface Pens could certainly save teachers some paper and ink. And if you’re an average Joe like me who just really wants to play around with a $20 stylus, it’s time to make friends with some neighborhood teachers.