Microsoft in Education Blog February, 2012 - Microsoft in Education blog - Site Home - TechNet Blogs

February, 2012

  • Microsoft Developer Day: Entertainment Reimagined

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  • Magic Numbers Are Bad

    I had my friend Clint Rutkas review some code of mine. Now I have been writing code longer than Clint has been alive but he’s a very smart guy and he writes more production code than I do these days. He;s written a lot of the Channel 9 projects. He’s famous for his Kinect driven lounge chair for example. Since his code is a lot more public than what I write most of the time he’s pretty careful about best practices so I knew he would be a good reviewer. As it turns out he was able to point out some rookie errors I made. Particularly that I was using “magic numbers.” And I was using them a lot. What...
  • How much bandwidth do I need for my users connecting to Exchange Online?

      This question was from a university in Chicago adopting Office 365 for faculty, staff, and students. Prerequisites The first data point you need to gather before you can determine client bandwidth required for Exchange Online is what is your mailbox...
  • Banish Attachments Forever!

    Please see attached… Ok, put your hands up. Who still sends files as attachments in their email? Come on, be honest! I’m guilty of it myself – just ask my boss, after I dropped a 7MB “email bomb” on him recently. Despite having both SharePoint Online...
  • Interesting Links 13 February 2012

    Home again after a week in Texas! Had a great time in Texas both at the TCEA conference and the steering committee meeting for the CS 2013 project. All in all I talked to a lot of people, learned a lot and still managed to get a lot done. Among the things I got done was collecting a lot of links to share with you all. Especially important are a couple of reminders. Game Design storyboards for the Imagine Cup are due tomorrow. Wow! How did that happen? Be sure to check out Randy Guthrie’s a long information packed post about Key Imagine Cup 2012 Dates Approaching While some deadlines are 14 February...
  • Key Imagine Cup 2012 Dates Approaching

    Randy Guthrie wrote a long information packed post about Key Imagine Cup 2012 Dates Approaching in the very near future. If you or your students are entering the Imagine Cup I highly recommend you read Randy’s post or at least visit the Imagine Cup site to verify that you have the correct dates in mind. And a special reminder to teams in the US who are entering the game design events – be sure to enter both the US competition ( http://imagineCup.us ) and the world wide competition ( http://imagineCup.com ) This gives you two chances to win. If you only enter the US competition you are not automatically...
  • Office 365 for education learning snack series: Edition II - Lync Online

    Here is the second edition of the Office 365 for education learning snacks.  The topic is Lync Online:   Office 365 for Education Lync Online learning snack   Next learning snack topic is Exchange Online archiving and compliance. ...read...
  • 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...
  • Hello From Texas

    You may have noticed I haven’t been blogging as much this week. I’ve been in Austin TX at the TCEA conference. I’ve been pretty busy from morning until night. Doing what? Well you may ask. I have been spending some time at the Microsoft booth talking to teachers who come by. But I have also been involved with a couple of presentations. Yesterday Pat Younpradit talked about how he is using XNA and game development in his computer science program which was cool because Pat is doing great things. Pat’s responsible for much of out XNA curriculum materials including the XNA Jump-start: A 5-week Intro...
  • Read twice, send once… Delaying outgoing mail with rules.

    Measure twice, cut once… “Keep it as long as you can, as long as you can”, the 6 Ps* – whichever adage you use to prevent making a mistake there’ll always be that time when you let one little thing slip. Maybe it’s accidentally hitting send on a email...
  • 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...
  • Tools for Teaching Adults to Program

    We seem to be developing tools to teach younger and younger people to program. Kodu in theory is for students 8 and older but I know that some 6 and 7 years olds do very well with it. Last week I read about Scratch Jr which will be aimed at teaching programming to children from  preK to grade 3 (basically ages 4 to 8). I admit that the first question I asked myself is “is that too young?” Are children that age ready for programming? Maybe maybe not. But the second question that came to me was “what would programming tools designed for adults (say 25 plus) look like? Honestly I have no clue...
  • Interesting Links 6 February 2012

    I’m headed to Austin TX  today for the Texas Computer Educators Association (TCEA) conference. Hoping to see some old friends and meet some new friends. If you are at TCEA  I hope you will stop by the Microsoft booth and find me. Also I am looking forward to a couple of talks including Pat Yongpradit (twitter @ MrYongpradit ) presenting - Games for Social Causes using Microsoft XNA Game Studio. Wed 2/8 9:15 a.m. and Bryan Baker talking about his work with Kinect on Thursday. Should be a good week. Ed Donahue blogged about the Big App On Campus College students – submit your app for chance...
  • When Just Working Isn’t Good Enough

    I wrote a tic tac toe game for my Windows Phone today. It works just fine. I’m just not happy with it. I loaded a screen shot of it to the left. Oh it is obvious that the graphics are not so hot. Graphic design and UI design are just not my thing. I’m actually pretty happy that (in theory at least) I could give the XAML code off and have someone who is good at design fix it all up for me so I could just worry about the code. No, it’s the code I am unhappy with. Why? Well it’s a mess. It wasn’t designed. Now I’ve written multiple tic tac toe programs in my time...
  • DreamSpark and AppHub Sign Up

    We’ve had some changes in the DreamSpark program lately and the web site feels all different to me. So what I decided to do was to step though the process of first signing up for DreamSpark for students with Activations codes such as you get in a high school Dream Spark program of if you get a code from someone at Microsoft. The first step is easy – head over to http://www.dreamspark.com and find the link (highlighted in yellow below) for how Dream Spark works for students. Registration with DreamSpark Clicking on that link gets you to this page where you find the sign up link (circled in red)...
  • Morehouse Students Get Excited About Technology Careers

    This week, Robert Youngjohns, President, Microsoft North America, addressed the top 50 science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) students at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., on how they can prepare for rewarding careers in the technology...
  • Headed to Austin, Texas next week for TCEA. Are you?

    We look forward to seeing you at TCEA 2012! Microsoft has a lot going on in Austin. Come see Kinect in action at the TCEA gaming playzone and learn how Kinect for Xbox 360 can help engage and inspire your students. Come visit Microsoft at booth #1630...
  • Kinect For Windows Is Out

    I know you have been reading me write about Kinect for Windows for a while now so why is this news? The reason for that is simple – new hardware and new software. Oh and a new license. What I have been writing about is using the Kinect for Xbox with a Windows PC. The new Kinect for Windows has some new features. We’re pretty excited about it at Microsoft. We think it opens the door for even more possibilities than the original beta releases. I’m pretty excited myself to see the applications that people find for it. More information from the Kinect for Windows website: Commercial ready The Kinect...
  • Updated Message and Recipient Limits - Live@EDU

    Outlook Live accounts have historically been 500 recipients per day. Microsoft has recently updated this policy to be in line with the Exchange Online offering in Office 365. All newly provisioned tenants will see these new limits immediately. For those...
  • 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?...
  • Some Serious Fun With Kodu Programming

    As regular readers know I am a huge fan of Kodu, the highly graphical, easy to program game development product from Microsoft Research. It is easy enough that an 8 year old can create some great fun games with it (and some smart younger kids have done cool stuff as well) so it is easy to take this software lightly. But as I play with it more and more I find that the opportunity for complexity and serious computer science is really baked into it. One of the members of the Kodu team recently discovered a Kodu soccer (or football if you will) game written by a middle school student. The game had...
  • 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...
  • Kinect for Windows is now Available!

    (Cross post from Kinect for Windows blog ) On January 9th, Steve Ballmer announced at CES that we would be shipping Kinect for Windows on February 1st. I am very pleased to report that today version 1.0 of our SDK and runtime were made available for...
  • No Room in the Inn–I Mean Schedule

    I spent yesterday at Stevens Institute of Technology, an outstanding university across the river from New York City. The occasion was a high school computer science workshop for  faculty and students. While the students were getting demonstrations on some of the cool technology that Stevens faculty and students are working on the high school teachers were involved with a panel discussion. I was on the panel along with Jan Cuny (NSF), Bob Slater ( Alice/CMU ) and Tara Canobbio (Google). We started of with some great discussion of pedagogy. Don gave us a preview of Alice 3.1 Alice 3.1 looks...