November, 2011

  • Jobs for America’s Graduates honors Microsoft with “Top Corporate Investor of the Year” Award

    As an active national board member for Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), I was privileged to represent Microsoft this week at JAG’s 22nd Annual National Leadership Awards where Microsoft was awarded the “Top Corporate Investor of the...
  • Some people take notes. Do you?

    According to a survey released Thursday from the National Survey of Student Engagement , many students fail to use effective study techniques to help them succeed in school. The New York Times reported , "The great majority of students take notes in class, but fewer than two-thirds review them later, and even fewer take notes while reading." ...( read more ) ...read more
  • Xbox: By the Numbers

    Written by Megan Benjamin This past Tuesday marked the 10-year anniversary of Xbox, Microsoft’s first foray into the gaming world. Since that fated day in 2001, Xbox has hit some major gaming milestones. From the original Xbox to the Xbox 360 you know and love today, here’s a look at Xbox by the numbers! 57.6 million Xbox 360s sold (as of Sep 30, 2011) 882 Games exclusive to Xbox 360 >1000 G ames available for Xbox 360 2001 The year Xbox hit the market for the first time >1 Number of crazy girlfriends who smashed their boyfriend’s Xbox because they couldn’t...
  • Big App On Campus

    Microsoft announced a Windows Phone development contest for college/university students in the US (sorry about both the US only and the 18+ only – I’m just the messenger)  The full details with contest rules and other stuff may be found at  Do You Have What it Takes to be the Big App on Campus? but briefly: Microsoft is partnering with the band The Gracious Few to create an amazing experience for ten (10) students in Austin, TX at SXSW :  a private concert, backstage passes, a private dinner with the band, and being interviewed on national radio about their apps. There are also ...
  • Interesting Links 21 November 2011

    This week will be a short one with the Thanksgiving holiday here in the US later this week. I’m not sure how much I will be posting this week or how many links I will be collecting. Last week was a regular week though and I have a selection of links to share with you. Cheryl Arnett ( @ c_arnett ) blogs about her experiences using the Kinect sensor in her classroom at   Why Kinect?   In other Kinect news, read about Developing a Kinect game that mimics how seismologists deploy seismic instruments following a large earthquake. Microsoft announces new Challenges for Imagine Cup 2012 : Put...
  • Learn how to deploy Live@edu on our free webcast!

    Only 24 hours to go! There are only a few hours to go before the second episode of our free webcast series – register today! In this second part we’ll be concentrating on deployment and migration, covering some basic scenarios, resources available and...
  • The Rock Paper Azure Challenge is back

    The Rock Paper Azure Challenge is back and you could win big! Play Rock, Paper, Scissors in the cloud for your chance to win a trip to Cancun, an Acer Aspire S3 Laptop, a Windows Phone, or an XBOX 360/Kinect bundle! Entering is simple – create a player bot (sample code provided) and enter it before December 16 th . Winners will be chosen at random from all bots submitted. Want to test your strategic coding skills as well? Build a killer bot to crush the competition and see how you stack up against other players on the Leaderboard. Each Friday the top 5 players will receive a $50.00...
  • 1,2,3: Software for Free!

    Written by Megan Benjamin Heading out with the masses for Black Friday? Cool. But if you feel like staying in and geeking out all day instead of fighting over this year’s equivalent of Tickle Me Elmo, my oh my have we got a treat for you. Don’t shop ‘til you drop ; get yourself some free Microsoft software instead. And by the way, we’re not talking free beta, subpar software either; this is the real deal! Think of it like your early holiday gift to yourself. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. 1. Get Verified. If you’re a student (or an educator) at a legit academic...
  • Deployment Webcast Recordings

    We missed you! But that doesn’t mean you can’t catch up on our latest deployment webcasts any time you like! We record our webcasts so you can catch up on-demand, so below you’ll find both sessions embedded and available for download from Windows Live...
  • Programming for Absolute Beginners from Channel 9

    Channel 9 has just launched an absolute beginner series to help people learn to program. There are two versions of the Development for Absolute beginners materials – one for Visual Basic and one for C# Well worth checking out. Visual Basic Development for Absolute Beginners C# Development for Absolute Beginners   There are some additional resources that have been out for a bit longer that you may not know about. Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners   Kinect Quickstarts ScriptTD :   a  tower defense engine for Windows Phone 7 – Andrew Parsons has some great help...
  • Interesting Links 28 November 2011

    Last week was a quiet one for me. Thanksgiving holiday in the US meant I didn’t spend as much time on the Internet as usual. Also a lot less blogging and email activity by many of the people I look to for interesting links. This week should be more active. I did find a few links to hare though. First off a suggestion that if you missed these two posts of mine from last week you should check them out: The Rock Paper Azure Challenge is back – a chance for learn about the cloud and show off ones programming chops at the same time Programming for Absolute Beginners from Channel...
  • 12th Annual Computer Science & Information Technology Conference.

    The Computer Science Teachers Association runs what I consider the single best and most important professional development events of the year for computer science educators - the Annual Computer Science & Information Technology Conference . I’m honored and excited  to be on the program committee again this year. Yesterday the CSTA sent the following their membership. This is too great an event to miss so I wanted to make  sure I promoted it here as well. Are you doing something cool and interesting in computer science education? If so I hope you will think about submitting to this...
  • The Perfect Educational Computer Lab

    I had the following question via Twitter the other day “ Hey Alfred. We got permission to overhaul our computer lab, Have you seen any innovative strategies or configurations?” Now this is a question that comes up pretty regularly among computer science teachers. Or teachers who teach computer applications for that matter. Every time the subject comes up there are a lot of different opinions. These opinions cover things like types of computers, arraignment of desks and computer tables, assorted “must have” teaching aides and more. As far as I can tell there really is no one size fits all answer...
  • What firewall ports do I need open to connect to Office 365 for Education?

    This was a question for a large university in Arizona moving faculty, staff and students to Office 365. Here are the ports from the deployment guide (note: these are subject to change so refer here to the latest Port and IP list):   Can I lock it...
  • November 2011 Tech Student of the Month – Patrick Godwin

    We are proud to announce our next Tech Student of the Month, Patrick Godwin, a freshman studying engineering and computer design at the University of Michigan and a third year Microsoft Student Insider who dedicates himself to being a leader and sharing his expertise with the technical community. Patrick’s passion for technology dates back to middle school when he first realized his interest in computers. It started out when he was given the opportunity to put a couple of computers back together and explore the hardware side of the equation. In efforts to learn more about his newly found interest...
  • What To Tell Students About Computer Science

    Last Friday I drove down to Cape Cod. Just over the Cape Cod canal via the Bourne Bridge is Upper Cape Tech. They have an outstanding culinary arts program and while I really did enjoy lunch and conversation in the culinary arts restaurant I was mainly there to talk to students about careers in computer science. I was able to talk to the 10th and 12th graders who are part of the computer program at UCT. I talk to students quite often and there are various ways of going about it. ( Note if you are in driving distance from my home office in southern New Hampshire I would love to come and visit your...
  • How Many Sorting Algorithms Do Beginners Need To Learn

    Do beginners even need to learn sorting algorithms? Let’s face it most modern programming environments have a sort function built in. In the so-called real world just about the only people who write sorting algorithms have PhDs in math or computer science and have likely published papers in peer reviewed journals on the sorting subject. So why take up time in a first programming course to talk about sorting? Because its good for them! Well sort of. I was looking through the first textbook I wrote some 11 years ago and finding that it include both the bubble and selections sorts. Now these are terribly...
  • Working with UNESCO to help teachers use technology in their classrooms

    One of the things on the mind of government officials and education leaders around the world is how to raise the quality and impact of teaching and innovative teaching practices. The use of technology to drive change and innovation in classrooms is at...
  • Teacher Trainer Professional Development Program

    The Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) program provides trainers the opportunity to deepen and expand their skills on integrating technology in their teacher training to positively impact teaching and learning. MIE participants will leave the two-day event with tools and training materials that support engaging, hands-on professional development. These seminars are designed for trainers who have responsibilities for training educators on the integration of technology in the classroom. It is encouraged to have small teams from schools and districts attend as there will be time set aside to develop...
  • Building positive group work ethics in project-based learning

    Can you think of a job or profession that is done alone? No co-workers to consult, no team responsible for contributing different pieces of a project, no meetings (well, maybe that might be okay ; ) It’s hard to come up with many. Artist? Author? (at...
  • The Power of Great Budgeting

    Written by Megan Benjamin We all know that expenses run high in college—especially for those of us who just can’t resist the latest and greatest tech toys. Assuming that new Windows Phone, Diablo III, and a new Xbox 360 are all complete necessities (they are, right?), it’s pretty important to save wherever you can. Below are five tips for saving more and spending less, leaving plenty of leftover shekels to feed your insatiable tech obsession when you just can’t resist. 1. Budget. Sure, mom’s been telling you about the powers of proper budgeting for years, but...
  • Expanding Partners in Learning to Higher Education

    Partners in Learning program is a flagship program for Microsoft's work in education, and one of the things that I'm most proud of as a Microsoft employee. It started eight years ago and is the company’s 10-year $500 million commitment to invest...
  • Get a Room! Enable Room Finder with Room List Distribution Groups

    If your Exchange Online (Office 365) or Outlook Live (Live@edu) users are already using Room Mailboxes to schedule meetings in conference rooms, auditoriums, labs or other facilities, then why not enable Room Finder for your Microsoft Office Outlook 2010...
  • Interesting Links 7 November 2011

    Andrew Parsons has written an amazingly complete blog post about Create and publish your own Tower Defense game for Windows Phone 7. It you want one place to send a student for a “how to” this is the place. For high school students the DreamSpark piece is a little different in that they should get an access code from a faculty member at their school. That is a minor detail though and shouldn’t cause anyone any real issue. I found a couple of new (to me at least) computer science teacher blogs last week: Super Computer Science by Rebecca Dovi CS Principles @ North by...
  • A few customer questions about Office 365

      These are a few questions from a university in Washington state looking to move faculty, staff and students to Office 365: Can I have an AD domain of university.local  and use Federated ID (Single Sign On) with Office 365? Yes, provided you...