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Microsoft has released a new computer science curriculum designed for teens who may not have expressed much interest in computer programming – and teachers who don’t necessarily have any background in the field, either.
The curriculum, called Creative Coding Through Games And Apps, is available for free to any educator who wants to use it.
The course aims to encourage a wide range of students to explore computer science by teaching them to program and publish real apps and games.
It teaches kids how to code using Microsoft Touch Develop, a programming language developed by Microsoft Research. Touch Develop is designed so that even students without any computer science background can quickly learn how to write simple programs.
Touch Develop also works on any device that has a modern Internet browser. That means students can write programs on smart phones, tablets, laptops or desktop computers, regardless of the operating system the device is running.
It’s the same technology that’s being used for the BBC’s micro:bit program, which is providing every Year 7 student in the UK with a gadget and the tools to program on it.
Tom Ball, a research manager in the software engineering group at Microsoft Research who has worked extensively on Touch Develop.
Tom first got involved with the team behind the Creative Coding curriculum when they collaborated on Code.org’s Hour of Code project. That’s a program that aims to introduce millions of kids to the basics of programming through simple, introductory coding exercises.
He hopes this new curriculum will introduce kids to the foundations of computer programming, even if they’ve never considered programming in the past.
“It’s not so much about learning Touch Develop,” Ball said. “Touch Develop is the vehicle to learning about computer science concepts. Creative Coding through Games and Apps was designed by computer science teachers, and it comes with prep materials, lesson plans, assignments, homework and other resources. It’s recommended for students aged 7 and up.
Learn more about Creative Coding Through Games And Apps and download the course materials.
Find out more about Microsoft Touch Develop
Microsoft and the BBC micro:bit: A million ways to inspire a generation”
One of the great advantages of being an educational establishment or a student is access to Microsoft Imagine and Software from DreamSpark.
Today there is a huge desire for students to learn and build applications for as many platforms as possible.
As educators and students you need to learn and embrace modern way of doing cross-platform mobile development.
Todays studios and agencies can no longer afford or simply recruit and retain dedicated teams on all different platforms (Android, iOS, Windows).
So the question I have is are you teaching or learning with Visual Studio 2015? If the answer is No.. here are some reasons to upgrade now!
Getting Started with Cross Platform development
You can also build a native application for Android or Windows devices with C++ templates
You can build native apps for Android and iOS by using C# and the Xamarin framework Apps not only look the way the end user expects; they behave that way too. Xamarin apps leverage platform-specific hardware acceleration, and are compiled for native performance. This can’t be achieved with solutions that interpret code at runtime.
Visual Studio Online
Visual Studio Online (VSO) is the cloud-hosted toolset to organize, build, test, deploy and report on your software project.
Again Visual Studio Online is free to all students via www.dreamspark.com at https://www.dreamspark.com/Product/Product.aspx?productid=99
Why use source control from Visual Studio
Cross platform / all languages
You can write code in Java or any other language using any IDE and fully leverage the capabilities of Visual Studio Online
Git/Github is great but will not support you enough
You can keep your code in Git/Github and use Visual Studio Online for all the other processes. GitHub is great with some nice features like collaborative code review but you have the same capabilities in VSO (if not better like the team management) with a fundamental difference: traceability and predictability
Traceability is the foundation
VSO will connect the dots between the requirements, the project management, the source code, the versions, the defects and the tests. VSO (or TFS for the on premise version) is by far the best (if not the only) candidate to support any organization looking to regroup all the important project artefacts in one place.
By using VSO today, you will get a full traceability on what is happening in your project starting from any angle (requirements, project, code, defect, test…)
Move to Predictability by controlling the quality
Quality is not a “phase” or a “campaign” in the project cycle, it’s something that is diffused from requirements (bad alignment), project management (wrong estimation or no control on the team capacity), code (bad quality), test (not enough or wrong functional and performance tests) or defect (no prioritization)
Tests are the best way to reveal the quality but they will not increase it. It’s the combination of early tests, process (tests at the right time, get insights back to the developer, review practice, automate part of the testing effort) and coverage (code, architecture, functional, performance, mobile scenario ….) that will validate if the task closed was done the right way. To “trust” what you are tracking, you need to validate them with tests.
Visual Studio Online will offer you a platform to track each part of the project, integrated them, set practices and process, manage/run/automate tests and also deploy the solution (with a full release management capability)
Check the links below for more information and start using VSO today for your projects.
VSO for Java teams
Continuous integration with Microsoft Azure’s Java services (hosted build controller with pre-installed Ant and Maven libraries)
Access and manage your Visual Studio Online projects using Team Explorer Everywhere—an Eclipse plugin
integrate with tools like Jenkins or our open REST API
Leverage the best Agile toolset
Monitor the usage of your solution with Application Insights
Cloud based load testing with VSO
Who can enter?
Students ages 6-18 worldwide are invited to explore this exciting and vital area of scientific research in Imagine Cup Earth, a new coding competition for students. Whether you have never coded before and would like to learn, or if you’re already studying coding and want to take on a new challenge, all skill levels are welcome to dream big, build creatively, and boldly bring your ideas to life.
What's the competition?
Microsoft Imagine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory are co-presenting this contest for students around the world. Together, we have created Imagine Cup Earth to inspire the next generation of thinkers, dreamers and future programmers to learn the basics of coding and explore the latest science about our precious home.
What's the prize?
How to enter?
Students can get started by visiting our Imagine Cup Earth contest page to learn more about the requirements and read the official rules. Because school schedules vary from country to country around the world, Microsoft Imagine is providing three contest rounds each with their own deadlines and prizes. Students are welcome to compete in any or all of these as is most convenient for them – each round stands alone. All deadlines are given in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
First Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT December 15, 2015
Second Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT March 31, 2016
Third Round Deadline: 23:59 GMT June 15, 2016
Each round will have six prizes:
For the best earth-science themed game, app or simulation using Kodu Game Lab, Microsoft Touch Develop or Project Spark.
For the best web app exploring an earth-science topic using actual NASA data and imagery.
1st Prize: $3,000
2nd Prize: $2,000
3rd Prize: $1,000
Microsoft Imagine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory look forward to seeing what our global community of students creates.
.Students can get started by visiting our Imagine Cup Earth contest page to learn more about
You can use Visual Studio 2015 or 2013 to add Application Insights to your app in about 10 minutes. To get started, open up your Windows app (Windows 8 or 10 – client or phone), and do the following:
At this point, you’ll be able to see on Azure, in near real-time, how many folks are using your app in the wild. This telemetry can tell you a lot about your app and where to direct your development efforts – you can measure what features are being used, by how many people, and for how long.
And once you publish your app into the Store and enable the app usage telemetry setting on the Windows Dev Center dashboard (under ‘Account settings’), the data will be visible on the Usage report.
You can then use the TelemetryClient class to gather additional telemetry data like page views (or even pivot/hub control activity), interesting events you want tracked, and exceptions. Beyond the basic page telemetry you get by using Application Insights, you can taking advantage of exception tracking to get a near real-time view into trouble spots (particularly useful when launching an update to the public). To track exceptions, use the following code
catch (Exception ex)
private TelemetryClient telemetry = new TelemetryClient();
TelemetryClient telemetry =
As you get more comfortable with analytics, you can start instrumenting all kinds of things. For example, this sample code tracks how long it takes to accomplish a task:
var stopwatch = System.Diagnostics.Stopwatch.StartNew();
stopwatch = System.Diagnostics.Stopwatch.StartNew();
// ... perform the timed action ...
var metrics = new Dictionary <string, double>
// Set up some properties:
var properties = new Dictionary <string, string>
// Send the event:
telemetry.TrackEvent("SignalProcessed", properties, metrics);
, properties, metrics);
Application Insights comes as part of Visual Studio with automatic instrumentation for ASP.NET or Windows developers. You get vital application telemetry data out of the box, including usage, exceptions/crashes, requests, performance & logs.
Enable monitoring for Azure web apps and VMs directly via Azure portal or install Status Monitor on your ASP.NET web server to get performance monitoring without need to update code and redeploy your application.
Easily add Application Insights SDK to Java, iOS or Android apps. Monitor apps written in languages like Ruby, Python, PHP, Node.JS, etc. with open source SDKs on GitHub.
Explore supported platforms
The Microsoft Universal Ad Client SDK is now available for Windows 10 devices. The ad SDK also supports Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 apps. The new ad SDK is built using native code and does not require .NET runtime, reducing the memory used and increasing performance.
To use the SDK, install the new ad SDK, then drag and drop the control, and configure it.
Video ads are a highly popular way of monetizing apps and games, and can offer higher eCPM than banner ads. Video Ads are supported in Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 through the Microsoft Universal Ad Client SDK released today.
Read the instructions on how to use video interstitials to get started.
Dev Center has supported ad mediation for Windows Phone apps for some time now, allowing you to manage multiple ad SDKs from different providers to achieve up to a 99% fill rate, thus increasing the ad revenue in your apps. Enabling ad mediation is easy, just add the Windows ad mediation SDK to an app and submit it to the Store. You can then managing multiple ad networks without having to modify the app code or resubmit the app for certification.
Ad mediation is supported by both Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio 2013, and supports Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.x, and Windows 10 UWP apps.
To try out ad mediation, follow the steps described in the documentation. I also recommend reading the best practices to help you get started. All these new capabilities are detailed in the Announcing the Microsoft Universal Ad Client SDK with support for video interstitial ads and ad mediation post from Microsoft Advertising.
You can also take this DVLUP challenge to earn great Rewards
With DreamSpark all Students now get Visual Studio Online for FREE
Making sure that you know all the ways that Visual Studio Online can help you be successful with your team based student projects.
Host your code in the cloud
Host your code in the cloud to access it anytime, anywhere. Pick a traditional, centralized version control system using Team Foundation Version Control, or if you prefer a distributed approach, use Git repos.
Manage your work in one place
Quickly plan, manage, and track work across all your backlogs and teams with easy-to-use, fully integrated tools for agile planning and portfolio management. Maintain a backlog of your project, work in sprints, track progress on a task board, and coordinate your team activity.
Build your applications in the cloud
Create and manage build processes that automatically compile and test your applications in the cloud, either on demand or as part of an automated continuous integration strategy.
Test, test, test
Apart from creating test plans to track manual tests, you can use the cloud-based Load Testing feature to ensure your websites and services can handle the heaviest expected load – it will take you five minutes to be 100% sure. You’ll need Visual Studio Ultimate to create and execute load tests.
Gain insight into your applications
Visual Studio Online Application Insights is a new cloud-based service (currently in preview) that collects rich operational, performance, and customer usage information from client/device apps or server applications – whether they run on-premises, in Microsoft Azure, a third-party cloud provider, or a combination of all three.
Connect with Microsoft Azure
Create test environments, deploy and scale web apps in seconds, build and host backends for mobile applications or explore the DevOps lifecycle through the new Azure Preview portal. Microsoft Azure provides a whole set of services for developers.
For more information Work with non-Visual Studio IDEs (XCode, Eclipse and GitHub) Visual Studio Online API & Service Hooks Application Insights
Windows Bridge for iOS (also referred to as WinObjC) is a Microsoft open source project that provides an Objective-C development environment for Visual Studio/Windows. In addition, WinObjC provides support for iOS API compatibility. While the final release will happen later this fall (allowing the bridge to take advantage of new tooling capabilities that will ship with the upcoming Visual Studio 2015 Update),
The bridge is available to the open-source community now in its current state. Between now and the fall. The iOS bridge as an open-source project under the MIT license. Given the ambition of the project, making it easy for iOS developers to build and run apps on Windows.
Salmaan Ahmed has an in-depth post on the Windows Bridge for iOS discussing the compiler, runtime, IDE integration, and what the bridge is and isn’t. Best of all, the source code for the iOS bridge is live on GitHub right now.
The iOS bridge supports both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 apps built for x86 and x64 processor architectures, and soon we will add compiler optimizations and support for ARM, which adds mobile support.
Windows Bridge for web apps
‘Project Westminster,’ is live and available with the release of Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015. Kiril Seksenov recently wrote a blog post on the web apps bridge detailing what happens at the Windows level, how the bridge functions, how you can use it to build ‘Hosted Web Apps’ and addressing common questions.
The Windows Bridge for Android,
‘Project Astoria’, is currently available as a technical preview by invitation only. To get on the waitlist for early access, please use the sign up form.As we make progress on the Android bridge, we are also contributing to open-source projects used by its community.
Angle OpenGL to DirectX
As part of this work Microsoft has submitted changes to help improve ANGLE. For those who haven’t hear of ANGLE, ANGLE provides translation of OpenGL to DirectX. These changes have been accepted by Google and improved ANGLE’s performance and compatibility with DX feature level 9.3.
The Windows Bridge for Classic Windows apps
‘Project Centennial,’ that will make it possible to package and publish your current .NET and Win32-based Windows applications to the Windows Store, will be ready for public testing next year.
I encourage everyone to check out the Windows Bridge for iOS and install Windows 10 and developer tools. If you feel that we are missing any feature or functionality, my team would love to know at User Voice.
Where to get it
Download the Windows Bridge for iOS SDK here - https://github.com/Microsoft/WinObjC/
Welcome to the public release of Windows 10 IoT Core for the Raspberry Pi 2 and the MinnowBoard Max.
Where do I get the Public Release
Visit the Windows IoT Dev Center to choose your target board, then walk through the steps to provision your board, acquire the tools, and get started Making.
Introduction to Windows 10 IoT Core
Windows 10 IoT Core is a new edition for Windows targeted towards small, embedded devices that may or may not have screens. For devices with screens, Windows 10 IoT Core does not have a Windows shell experience; instead you can write a Universal Windows app that is the interface and “personality” for your device. IoT core designed to have a low barrier to entry and make it easy to build professional grade devices. It’s designed to work with a variety of open source languages and works well with Visual Studio.
Check out what you can build
AirHockey on WIndows IoT Core http://video.ch9.ms/ch9/1469/a6115687-f010-4ad2-b284-b73042151469/WindowsIoTCoreSnippetAirHockey_mid.mp4
Home Automation http://video.ch9.ms/h9/43e4/db7e6abe-2956-439b-9ad6-4a3ea57143e4/WindowsIoTCoreSnippetHomeAutomation_mid.mp4
What’s in the Public Release
The full list of new features and improvements:
Samples and Code
Node.js UWP app that reads from an I2C sensor and serves up a web page with the data here
You can find all the IoT samples on Github, as well as documentation and a growing set of libraries and helper tools. Even our project system and runtime support for Python and Node.js is available open source on Github.
When our samples start turning into full projects, you can find them on Hackster.io.
We’ve also worked with our friends at Arduino to make it very easy to talk to Arduino boards from Windows and even for Arduinos to talk to Windows devices as if they were virtual shields. See this project for more information.
Some Cool IoT demos
Rover Robot Kit – Make and program your own robot using a Raspberry Pi 2 running Windows 10 IoT Core Windows Remote Arduino- using an Arduino from a Windows Phone app to control an LED Home Automation with the RPI2
Cooling off in the Summer: Handheld fan control from an RPI2 Even more robots : GoPiGo
We have more projects in the pipeline, so keep your eyes on our hackster.io hub for more information about our Air Hockey Table, Face Recognition Unlocked Door, and more.
Release Notes : Details about what is covered in this release of Windows 10 IoT Core. Download Now : Click here to start downloading for FREE now. You will need the latest version of Windows 10, Visual Studio 2015 and tools. Community : Share your feedback here and engage with other Makers using our forums.
Show Us What You’ve Got
Tweet @WindowsDev with the hashtag #makeInventDo with pictures so we can have as much fun as you do.
With our new free Azure offer, student developers can publish their own web apps to Azure and host them in the cloud, at no cost and with no credit card required. Students can take advantage of these great Azure services:
We have created a comprehensive guide to enable students to publish their code to Azure in any one of three ways:
Publish a Web App to Azure using Visual Studio
Enabling Continuous Integration with Azure Web Apps & GitHub
Publish a Web App to Azure using FTP
Download our Using Microsoft Azure for Students PDF now and you'll be all set.
We can't wait to see what web projects you start building in Azure!
The Microsoft Imagine Cup has inspired and challenged student developers worldwide for over 13 years.
The competition challenges students to master new skills, build strong teams and bring entire technology projects from concept to completion.
On Friday, a brilliant team of students showed CEO Satya Nadella just what they’re capable of when he crowned Team eFitFashion of Brazil as the winning team of the 2015 Imagine Cup World Championship during a live broadcast and in front of an audience of 5,000 students, judges, partners and Microsoft employees at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle.
Team eFitFashion’s project, Clothes For Me, is a marketplace for custom tailored clothes based on a person’s unique body size and shape.
The Judging panel was made up of distinguished judges –
Thomas Middleditch, star of the hit HBO show “Silicon Valley;” Alex Kipman, inventor of HoloLens; Jens Bergensten, lead developer of Minecraft
Over this past week, our judges chose a first-place winner in each of the three Imagine Cup competition categories:
Team IzHard of Russia for Games,
Team eFitFashion of Brazil for Innovation and Team Virtual Dementia Experience of Australia for World Citizenship.
The first-place teams then competed in front of the world to take home the Imagine Cup and to receive a private meeting with Satya Nadella, our CEO.
The 2016 season of Imagine Cup launches today, as well, and it’s never too early for students to start dreaming up their next projects and getting prepared by visiting our website.
We’re finding talented student developers at younger and younger ages, too – last week we shared the results of a new competition for students as young as 9 years old, and the work they did was impressive. We’ll have more opportunities for younger students coming in August and continuing all season long.
Here are all the winners of the 13th annual Microsoft Imagine Cup!
World Citizenship Category:
Microsoft Student Partner of the year: