February, 2012

  • Five reasons we have yet to close the digital divide

    For 30 years, we have talked about the digital divide and its impact on education in the United States. Yet the gaps remain, even as the very nature of digital technology has changed. Why is this problem so hard to solve, and what is holding us back?...
  • Microsoft partners with Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Emanuel to create an Early College STEM School

    Today, I’m excited to have the opportunity to be in Chicago with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard, and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, as they announce the creation five new Early College STEM...
  • Driving STEM Excitement Through Video Game Design & Development

    Kinect is the fastest selling consumer electronic product ever. Its success offers proof that technology innovation is only limited by our willingness to invest in big ideas. It is critical that we foster innovation by inspiring the next generation of...
  • Moodlerooms Integrates Microsoft Live@edu with Moodle Learning Management System

    Moodlerooms announced today the availability of a plug-in that integrates Microsoft Live@edu with Moodle , the world’s leading open source Learning Management System. Live@edu is a free service from Microsoft that provides hosted email, online storage...
  • Universities begin early adoption of Office 365

    As school IT administrators start planning for summer technology projects, they continue to be challenged with budget cuts and the pressure to deliver more new and innovative services. As they deal with this “new norm,” I think we will see...
  • The Importance of a Competency Framework for Teachers

    Guest post by Greg Butler, Senior Director of Education Strategy, Worldwide Education, Microsoft. Quality education is a critical catalyst for social and economic development and the single most important investment in the future of individuals, communities...
  • When the Digital Divide Closes

    Recently, Andrew Ko discussed the critical need to close the digital divide in America , and the challenges to doing so. Cameron Evans contributed a later post about some of the inspiring programs and initiatives taking place right now. What about the...
  • The Time is Now to Move to Competency-based Teacher Professional Development

    At the recent Education World Forum in London, UNESCO’s Director General Irena Bokova created a buzz when she announced a new version of the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers . This framework identifies key competencies that enable teachers...
  • ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curricula 2013 - Strawman draft

    Over the weekend, the ACM/IEEE-CS Computer Science Curricula 2013 committee (of which I am a member) released the first public from this effort. (The announcement follows my comments). The Strawman draft is not a complete document as some additions, most importantly exemplar curriculums, are yet to be made. It is however ready for public comments on the content that is there. This is a major first step and we hope there will be some positive and constructive discussions about this curricula.  It is useful to remind people what this is not though. It is not the recommendations for Computer...
  • Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum–Reminder

    I know I keep blogging about this event but it really is a great event and I really hope many of you apply for this wonderful opportunity to showcase your work with innovations in teaching CS and technology. It is one of the most exciting teacher competitions ever! Check it out! A cool trip and prizes! And a chance to meet and learn from some of the most energetic and energizing to say nothing of innovative teachers in America! Oh and p rojects that use Visual Studio, XNA, Kinect SDK, Windows Phone SDK, Expression Studio or many other Microsoft developer and designer tools are eligible for a special...
  • Big Brother Knows More Than You Think

    And by Big Brother I don’t mean the government. No, I mean the companies you do business with. If you want to get mildly freaked out (or majorly league freaked out depending on your nature) read this article in Forbes How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did . Oh and if you are installing apps on your phone take a look at this post on the Blogs at CACM - Most Smartphone Apps are Spyware . Now most of these stores are about practices that are intended to benign at worst and helpful to the consumer at their best. Of course they are designed to be helpful to the company...
  • Webcast: Migrating to Live@edu and Office 365 for education

    This Thursday, 1st March (St. David’s day, if you’re Welsh!), and again on the 6th of March, we’ll be running a webcast where you can learn about some of the different methods and tools there are to aid your migration to the cloud! The webcast will cover...
  • How To Start A Computer Science Flame War

    Computer Scientists and computer professionals who may not think of themselves as “scientists” and hackers who just think of themselves as awesome are all opinionated people. Over the  years I have learned of several what I would call religious arguments. These are topics that are always great for starting a discussion (ok maybe even the online equivalent of a bar brawl) among computer people. Those who teach are, it seems, even more susceptible to these sorts of things. I thought I might just list a few of these for the fun of it. Language Wars Java is horrible/ Java is the answer – related...
  • One week left to enter the Kinect Fun Labs Challenge!

    I know that here and there you might have some really great Kinect game or app ideas at your schools. If they haven’t already entered the Kinect Fun Labs Challenge , please encourage them to do so before March 6 th ! Round 1 is super easy – it’s a simple one-pager that represents a concept design – and the top 100 teams get Kinect for Windows devices along with a brand new Unity plugin we’ve developed to make Kinect access even easier. They’ll use these tools to create their submission for Round 2. Plus, they could have an opportunity to be published on Xbox Live (and of course, paid for their...
  • Next Round Of Imagine Cup Deadlines Coming Up

    The Imagine Cup series of competitions has a new round of deadlines coming up over the next two weeks. The good news is that the barriers to entry in most of these is low enough that students still have time to get their act together and enter. The Kinect Fun Labs Challenge and the Windows Metro Style App challenge are the two I really want to highlight. For the Kinect Challenge what you need to do is register your team and submit a project plan (a plan not a done project). The top 100 teams will get a Kinect device to use as they start work on the project itself. So get your thinking caps on and...
  • Service Update: Sender Photo Enabled by Default

    Here’s a preview of the new Sender Photo feature that is enabled by default for all Outlook Live and Exchange Online users after the December 2011 Service Update . We’ve included some guidance on how to configure Sender Photo and how to disable it (in...
  • Calendar Delegation

    Working with Office 365 you have to start using new tools to do familiar things. I was asked the other day about setting up permissions for delegated permission on a calendar by a customer. I first thought about ExFolders and realized that wouldn’t be...
  • February 2012 Tech Student of the Month – Gavin Earley

    February has come to an end which means it’s time to announce our next Tech Student of the Month! This month, we are pleased to highlight an extraordinary student named Gavin Earley, a senior studying Computer Science at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Gavin has made strides in the Windows Phone development space with a number of popular apps out in the Marketplace such as Cowapult and FHE Helper . Outside of technology, Gavin is a proud husband and father of two and loves to explore his passion for development with the support of his family. Gavin first realized his interest in technology...
  • How Young Can/Should You Start Teaching Programming?

    Or perhaps how young should you try? And to top if off, why do you want to start them so young in the first place? I received the following from a teacher friend of mine the other day and it has had me thinking ever since. Can you please tell me why anyone thinks it is a good idea for 6th grades or 7th grades to learn to program? I do not see them trying to teach physics or pre-calculus to them. Lord knows they are not looking at having 6th graders learn geometry. Now why do they think (not sure that word works here as that’s the underlying problem with teaching 6th graders to program...
  • Microsoft at SIGCSE 2012

    For the first time in several years I am not attending SIGCSE this week. I’m really missing it as so many of my friends will be there. But no use crying over what could have been. Even though I am not there the Microsoft presence is going to be awesome. I wanted to highlight some of it. As you can see from the schedule below there are both short booth sessions with prizes, some regular sessions and a workshop. When you go to these talks please do two things. One is come back and leave your thoughts on the session (or anything else about Microsoft’s presence) on this blog and Two TELL EVERYONE ALFRED...
  • Tutorials, Projects and Problem Solving

    Another recent confluence of posts on similar topics (list below) has caused me to spend some time thinking. And sooner or later I have to think though my fingers and get my thoughts out in a blog post. So here goes. Problem solving is one of those critical things for computer science students. Some people never seem to get it. They can understand all the pieces but putting them together to solve a problem can elude them. Abstracting concepts and reusing them for new problems seems to be almost a foreign concept to some students. It’s frustrating for everyone. How do we deal with this? ...
  • Interesting Links 20 February 2012

    Happy President’s Day! Not a day off for me but still a good day. Hope you are all off to a good start as well. I think I have some good links to share today. So without wasting any more time have a look at the links below. Want to Get and Keep a Job…Coding Seems to be the Key Tara Walker comments on some news about there being jobs for people who can code. Pretty big deal in this economy. I am constantly amazed at schools that are cutting back on computer science education at a time when we really should be doing more. BTW if you are in Georgia some of the workshops Tara has coming up may be of...
  • Microsoft technology preserving local languages and cultures

    As I travel around the world meeting people that dedicate their life to teaching and bringing 21st skills to lifelong learners...I find it incredibly rewarding when I am in a country where they are preserving their native language with the help of technology...
  • How to integrate Live@edu into Moodle 2.0

    Moodlerooms, Inc., has developed an integration connecting Microsoft’s Live@edu services and Moodle, the world’s most widely-used Learning Management System. With this integration, Moodlerooms makes the rich functionality of Live@edu directly accessible...
  • The digital divide under attack

    Last week we covered five reasons we have yet to close the digital divide . This week, we want to look at some of the progress that has been made toward closing that divide—and at the growth of new opportunities. Solving the problem of the digital...