August, 2011

  • Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2011 R2 now available!

    Repost from Kevin Dean -- I am excited to tell you that MDOP 2011 R2 is now available for download from the Microsoft Volume Licensing site . Customers who do not have access to the Volume Licensing site have the option to download it from TechNet or...
  • Abstraction At The Core of Computer Science

    I spent the latter part of last week in Palo Alto, California working on the CS 2013 project . There are some pretty amazing people involved in this project ( CS 2013 steering committee ) and I learned a lot in the various discussions we had around computer science curriculum. Since we are talking about what absolutely positively much be part of undergraduate computer science curriculum it is not surprising that core concepts are an important part of the discussions. One statement that was made was that “ abstraction is at the core of computer science.” This is quite true of course but it struck...
  • Computer Science Before Programming

    For most people the first real computer science course is introduction to programming. It may be called something else but effectively what it is is a course that teaches programming. Along the way concepts like encapsulation and abstraction are also taught and, hopefully, learned. The new CS Principles course reduces the emphasis on programming – in theory at least. I’m curious to see some good scope and sequence documents to see how it is working in practice. Likewise the Exploring Computer Science curriculum includes programming as only a part of the overall curriculum. In fact web design is...
  • Low Level Programming

    A blog post by Andy Firth, an Engineer Architect at Bungie, called The demise of the low level Programmer is getting some attention lately. In the post he lists some things that low level programmers (or perhaps he should have said high performance programmers) should know. He bemoans that all too many programmers today don’t have knowledge of low level programming. He says that “ so much of what I consider to be essential is simply not being taught anymore .” They include: Floating Point Numbers Fixed Point Numbers Bit shifting Processor Cache Behavior / Memory Sorting I’m not so convinced that...
  • How to create your own class blog or website for free

    A new school year is fast approaching. Teachers everywhere are dusting off their school supplies and getting ready for their next batch of students. But what can they do differently this year to communicate with students outside of class hours? Queue WordPress and Windows Live Writer—with these tools you can easily create and manage your very own blog. Take a look! ...( read more ) ...read more
  • Innovative Teaching & Learning Research Project

    During my visits I often have the great fortune of seeing best practices truly transforming schools and classrooms. I get to hear and learn from educators who are making magic happen for their students…and while I’m always inspired and energized…I...
  • New assistive learning technologies removing communication barriers on Windows 7

    Technology is having a transformative impact around the world. I wanted to share another great story, this time from the Abu Dhabi Center for Autism in the United Arab Emirates , where children with autism are benefitting from new technology form factors...
  • Kinect for Mankind

    By Michelle Benedict It’s amazing what a second pair of electronic eyes can do. Besides selling 8 Million units in the first 60 days, the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 has more of an altruistic feel than traditional gaming systems. Perhaps it’s because all you need to be able to play is the ability to move your body and the system literally plays off you. It’s for this simplicity of game play, but complex design to mirror the player that the Kinect for Xbox 360 is already being used as a seeing aid, a rehabilitation device, a surgeon’s assistant and a developmental...
  • Windows Phone Student App of the Week: Police lights 7

    Police Lights 7 Author: Lynx Interactive Police Lights 7 is a police lights simulator for Windows Phone. It is intended for fun only and may NOT be used to engage in any type of criminal activity. Impersonating a police officer in any form is a crime, so you should use this app with great discretion. Enjoy! Download now Screens Hello everyone, we are back again for the Windows Phone 7 app of the week! This is the second week of the series and we are so excited about all of the amazing apps coming into the competition...
  • Windows Phone Student App of the Week: Cookie Monsters

    Author: Studio Lyrica You are a monster who loves cookies. There are cookies raining from the sky. Conclusion? Collect as many cookies a possible. Oh, but watch out for those falling bombs. Download now Screens This is our first installment of the Windows Phone 7 Student App of the Week! Each week we’ll pick a Windows Phone 7 app created by a student to feature on the blog. This could be you! Submit to AppHub and let us know at the Windows Phone App-a-thon site. This week we are highlighting a simple, but fun and addicting game, called Cookie Monsters. The gameplay is intuitive, only requiring...
  • Interesting Links 15 August 2011

    I’m going to start this week’s list with some left over stuff from the Innovative Education Forum. That was one of the highlights of my summer and the reviews are coming in indicating that this was the case for others as well. My Inspirational Microsoft Partners in Learning 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum Experience post by Melanie Wiscount @mwiscount about her experiences at the recent US Innovative Education Forum. Another post Innovative Education Forum post, this time by Laura, called How to make a teacher feel like a rock star . Now a couple of keynote interviews that were recorded at...
  • Windows Phone Development Training Online

    SO you probably know that a new version of the Windows Phone software is coming very soon. If you are planning on teaching phone development you may also be thinking “I wonder how I can get some training on this?” Well you are in luck. Online training is coming! “Mango” Jump Start! Aug. 23-24! Pass it on… That's right, Microsoft MVPs Rob Miles and Andy Wigley are back! Microsoft Learning hosted a Windows Phone 7 Jump Start (plus an update course) last year and it was an absolute smash. Mobile application developers raved about the fast-paced, demo-rich approach, the timeliness of real-world content...
  • Windows Phone Student App of the Week: Liverpool Chants Lite, Juventus Chants Lite, Barca Chants Lite

    Liverpool Chants Lite Author: Arin E The Free and Lite Version of Liverpool Chants. Chants sung by Fans of Liverpool football club. The Liverpool Chants application is dedicated to all Liverpool FC and soccer fans around the world! Download now Screens Juventus Chants Lite Author: Arin E The Free and Lite Version of Juventus Chants. Chants sung by Fans of Juventus football club. The Juventus Chants application is dedicated to all Juventus and soccer fans around the world! Download now ...
  • Time To Cut The Cake

    I ran across a couple of cool Lego links yesterday. One of was this link to Robots for Everyone: Getting Kids Interested in Programming with Legos which talks about how educators are using Lego Mindstorms and other kits to get students interested in STEM fields and especially programming. Lego is a pretty cool set of products. THe second link was this Lego machine that cuts cake via Make Magazine . Now that is great but I don’t have a whole Lego NXT set nor am I particularly mechanical. But I thought I could do some of the math. Right? Why not? So I wrote some code in Small basic to cut circles...
  • Web-Based Problem Solving Software for Programming Courses

    We all know that students  benefit for problem solving exercises. Creating these sorts of problems can be difficult and time consuming. Evaluating them and help students with then can be even worse. There are a couple of online sites that can help here. I’m going to highlight several of them here – Pex4Fun (from Microsoft), Problets (from Amruth N. Kumar at Ramapo College of New Jersey ) and Try F# (from Microsoft). I think these can be very useful in support of students learning programming either as part of a course or on their own. Pex 4 Fun supports Visual Basic, C# and F# programming...
  • Post your PowerPoint presentations onto your blog

    During class you present your carefully prepared PowerPoint slides and you hope everyone is listening. But what if they get confused and don't ask for clarification? How do you share your PowerPoint with your students, so they can go through the materials themselves? Try embedding your PowerPoint presentation into a blog post . ...( read more ) ...read more
  • Microsoft Software Help for your College Major

    By Michelle Benedict How did you decide your college major: throw darts at a list, take a quiz online, pick the kiosk with the coolest pens at orientation, or maybe you knew what you wanted to be since the beginning? However you decided and whatever direction you’re headed*, Microsoft has some free software, trials, discounts and resources to help you get through school with flying colors. Check out the major-specific solutions/offers below: Art Majors : Creating 3D art, anime-style graphics, layers, and interesting photo effects will no longer cost you an arm and a leg: http://bit...
  • What new devices mean to the world of publishing in education

    One of the most exciting trends happening in education today is the evolution of digital publishing. Publishers around the world are starting to embrace not only new reading modalities but new form factors and devices to create both interactive and enriching...
  • Ready or Not–New School Year About To Start

    Well according to my Twitter feed a lot of schools in the US south are back to school. Teachers are reporting for duty and students are expected any day now. My post from 2007 called What Do You Do the First Day of Class is getting a surprising amount of traffic. Posts with programming projects (that link brings up a list of posts tagged for projects or visit my Interesting Projects–A Collection post) are also getting more than the usual amount of traffic. So I’m pretty sure that a lot of people are getting ready for the new school year. Maybe you are all ready for school. Maybe you are not. Maybe...
  • Interesting Links 22 August 2011

    No out of the area travel for me last week. It was nice to sleep in my own bed every night. This is not to say that I wasn’t busy. I had some meetings with the people at FIRST robotics for example. They are doing some pretty interesting things with technology these days. They are a Microsoft shop and their whole operation runs on Microsoft software including their impressive field management system for their competitions. It’s always exciting to hear what they are up to. I also kept my eyes open for interesting things to share and have a reasonable list again this week. Hopefully you find some...
  • 5 security tips for your computer

    Did you recently get a new computer for the upcoming school year? Find out how to protect your investment from inadvertently downloaded malware (malicious software). Malware can cause your computer to run slowly or possibly not even run at all. Find out how you can help protect against malware . ...( read more ) ...read more
  • Microsoft Education Partner Interview: SunGard

    As technology in higher education continues to evolve and become more mission critical to operations across systems and learning environments…administrators are seeking new ways to evolve their current platforms. They’re also looking to embrace...
  • Windows Phone Student App of the Week: Free Dictionary

    Free Dictionary Author: Jared B Drake Dictionary and Thesaurus to help you while you’re on the go. Simple and Quick And its FREE!!!!!!! A simple web browser with a home page of dictionary.com Download now Screens This dictionary app although similar to other dictionary apps, has one main difference, it was created by a student! This app at it’s core is just a link, and here’s why. One begins using this app by typing in a word they want to look up. The user...
  • There Is Research On That

    Computers are good at games. Well sort of. Computers are good at following rules and making decisions based on rules that are programmed into them. These rules have to come from somewhere and that somewhere is people. That computers are good at playing games is do in large part to the fact that people are good at studying games. The hard part is really figuring out how a game is played and how a set of rules can be created that will enable someone (or some thing) to win on a regular basis. Once that happens a set of rules can be created to feed into a computer. People can learn these rules and...
  • Kinecting with Innovative Educator Johnny Kissko

    Watch the video of educator Johnny Kissko of Lubbock ISD sharing how he is using Kinect for XBOX360 in the classroom to engage students and remake the modern learning environment. Related posts: Microsoft Presents the 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum Microsoft Innovative Educator Webcast Series Microsoft Innovative Education Forum Tops 100 Educators ...read more