Faculty Connection is an online set of real-world resources and shared peer knowledge, the goal of the Faculty Connection site is to put relevant and applicable tools and information at the fingertips of technology educators.
The UK Academic Team is responsible for offering IT students and faculty members free access to software, for enhancing knowledge and skills by providing curriculum materials and other learning opportunities, for helping students achieve their dreams by organizing an international competition, and finally for assisting last year students through career resources and job opportunities at our customers and partners.
With this blog we want to inform you on our latest initiatives.
Enjoy reading and stay tuned!
The next generation of computer games stars was unveiled in Dundee last night Sunday 14 August as the three winning teams from Dare to be Digital were announced. Applications from over 70 universities worldwide were whittled down to just 15 teams to compete in Dare to be Digital 2011. Hosted and run by the University of Abertay Dundee, Dare to be Digital brings in games industry professionals to hand-pick and mentor the teams. Many competitors go on to receive job offers from these world-leading companies.
Were please to announce that Digital Knights, Evolved Ape and Swallowtail will now compete for the exclusive BAFTA ‘Ones to Watch’ award – which only the Dare to be Digital winners are eligible to compete for. The BAFTA winner will be unveiled in a glittering ceremony in London early in 2012.
The final of Dare the ProtoPlay festival saw record-breaking numbers of visitors with over 9,000 people playing and enjoying games, three times the number who visited the festival in Edinburgh last year.
Digital Knights team leader Roman Graebsch said: “We never, ever thought we’d be here. The team got together for the fun of it, so it’s just amazing to be nominated for a BAFTA. It’s just such a great feeling to see people enjoying what you’ve created.”
Evolved Ape team leader Malath Abbas said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic and really proud of the final product and the whole team. All the hard, hard work has paid off, and personally it’s made me realise I have the ability as an artist and as a leader to deliver.”
Evolved Ape are Stuart Brown, Joe Hurst, Daniel Scholes and Mat Stevenson from the University of Central Lancashire and Malath Abbas from Liverpool Screen School. Their game Dreamweaver for the PC is a puzzle-platformer which quickly develops into a nightmare – where your friendly animal companion starts to attack you…
Swallowtail team leader Sophia George said: “We’re so happy to win – the team worked incredibly hard. I came into industry because I wanted to see more women working in games – and in turn creating more games for women. It is such an incredible privilege to win.”
Swallowtail are Rosie Ball, Kristian Francis and Sophia George from the Norwich University College of the Arts and Mark Bamford and Callum Goold from Abertay University. Their iPad game Tick Tock Toys needs you to clear a toy box to help your clockwork robot reach its goal.
Noirin Carmody, awards judge and Commercial Director at Revolution Software, said: “I am very encouraged by the number of young women involved in the making of games, which undoubtedly will help to create games that appeal to a wider audience.”
Kieran Connell, awards judge and Development Lead at Microsoft Studios, said: “I’ve been incredibly impressed with the technical achievements of all the teams this year, but particularly those that have managed to get to grips with Kinect – creating natural and enjoyable game mechanics with such a new piece of hardware in such a short space of time is phenomenal.”
Richard Leinfellner, awards judge and Chief Executive of Babel Media, said: “Once again the quality of entries was very high – and this year the diversity of devices used by the teams was striking. Dare to be Digital is really starting to reflect the wide range of audiences that today’s developers can reach through games.”
Dr Louis Natanson, who leads computer games education at Abertay University, said: “Dare to be Digital is a life-changing opportunity for aspiring young computer game developers. “The standard of games gets better and better every year, and it’s been a real joy to see thousands of people enjoy playing the games in Dundee this weekend. It is a real vote of confidence in the Dundee industry and in the game developers of the future.” He added: “To have to build a brand new game in just nine weeks is a massive challenge, and every single competitor deserves to be immensely proud of what they have achieved. They arrived at Abertay University nine short weeks ago as promising students – they leave us as very promising young professionals. We will watch their careers with great interest.”
That's right, Microsoft MVPs Rob Miles from the University of Hull and Andy Wigley are back! Microsoft Learning hosted a Windows Phone 7 Jump Start (plus an update course) last year and it was a huge success.
What’s a “Jump Start” Course?
Training specifically designed for experienced developers and technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations
This two-day live virtual class, Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start, is specially tailored for developers looking to build cool applications and games for the new Windows Phone Mango Platform so if your thinking of having Windows Phone development in your curricula this is a course you need to be sure to attend.
Dates: August 23-24, 2011 Time: 8:00am – 4:00pm PST Duration: 8 hours/day, including hour lunch break Registration Link: http://bit.ly/Mango-Jump
Mango is an important leap forward in Microsoft’s overall mobile strategy and the developer community has taken notice. Now is the time to embrace the “tile-and-app” UI and reap the rewards Mango provides your development team and user community.
Here's an overview of what Rob and Andy will cover:
Day One — August 23, 2011 | 4pm – 1 am BST | Live online training • Building Windows Phone Apps with Visual Studio 2010 • Silverlight on Windows Phone – Introduction • Silverlight on Windows Phone – Advanced • Using Expression to Build Windows Phone Interfaces • Windows Phone Fast Application Switching • Windows Phone Multi-tasking & Background Tasks • Using Windows Phone Resources (Bing Maps, Camera, etc.)
Day Two — August 24, 2011 | 4pm – 1 am BST | Live online training • Application Data Storage on Windows Phone • Using Networks with Windows Phone • Windows Azure and Windows Phone • Notifications on Windows Phone • XNA for Windows Phone • Selling a Windows Phone Application
In Windows Phone Mango, Microsoft has made a lot of changes, all based on our prime directive of delivering outstanding end users experiences, and making it easier for you to deliver outstanding end user experiences. Change comes at a cost. As documented on the Windows Phone Team Blog, there are some instances in which applications for Windows Phone may exhibit undesirable behaviour in Windows Phone Mango. Please download the latest Windows Phone SDK beta, and test your application, and submit it the MarketPlace Mango ready.
Windows Phone Mango brings a large set of new features for developers! One of the most exciting is Fast Application Switching, (FAS), which will radically improve the user's experience of your application when using the new task switcher in Windows Phone. In many cases, adding this to your app will be as easy as modifying your Application_Activated event handler to only restore state when coming back from Tombstoning, (as opposed to coming back from the new Dormant state).
We've published the details of our new execution model in Mango in the MSDN Library, and we've also published a useful 10 minute video walk through detailing how to leverage these concepts in your code, here.
There's a lot more to Mango for Windows Phone developers. In the coming weeks we'll be publishing a lot more detail online about how to add Mango functionality to your existing applications. We've already started this process, and have a lot of material available for you today. See Larry Lieberman, twitter: @LarryALieberman Windows Phone Team Blog post for detail on all of our available online resources about executing on Mango features today in your Windows Phone applications and games.
As we drive towards the launch of Windows Phone Mango, we're looking for apps that showcase the new features of Mango; we'd love to be able to feature your work, both online, and on stage. Feel free to contact us if you are interested in this opportunity.
The Windows Azure Platform Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including hands-on labs, presentations, and demos that are designed to help you learn how to use the Windows Azure platform, including: Windows Azure, SQL Azure and the Windows Azure AppFabric.
August 2011 Update The August 2011 update of the training kit includes the following updates:
You can download the updated Windows Azure Platform Training Kit – August 2011 Refresh from download centre or view online now on the Windows Azure Platform Training Course on MSDN.
The important take away is that in the Hands-On Lab will take an application through the full provisioning process. This is extremely valuable if your looking to publish your applications into the Windows Azure Marketplace.
Hands-On Lab Details
There are five exercises in the Hands-On Lab:
You can take a look at the SaaS application live in the marketplace: https://datamarket.azure.com/application/AA1EA7A3-E3FE-4EE5-B7B5-CBF4142CB983
The Windows Azure team are always looking to make improvements to updates and releases so if you encounter any bugs or have any problems, please send us feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, if there’s additional content you’d like to see in the training kit, please let us know on the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit Forum – you’re feedback is highly valued.
Dare to be Digital is a video games development competition for extremely talented students at Universities and Colleges of Art. Teams of 5 students assemble at Abertay University for 9 weeks during June to August to develop a prototype video game.
Not only do the winners receive funding for the game, they also get to attend the BAFTA Video Games Awards to compete for the coveted “Ones to Watch Award”.
You may remember that last year one of the nominees for the One to Watch BAFTA Award was Windows Phone 7 game Mush – which came about from the Dare to be Digital competition.
Follow the progress of two the Windows Phone entries, check them out below Team Tea and Techno and Team Rebel Donut we wish them both the best of luck!
Find out more from the team developing this game on their YouTube channel and Facebook Page.
Microsoft Datacentre team has made the following video tour of our Datacentres available for all to see.
In a few weeks time I will be visiting the Dublin Datacentre with representatives from JaNET and number of UK Institutions. The visit will include a tour of the Datacentre which is one of the worlds largest and modern at 330,000 ft2
0.56 x the area of the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza 5.1 x the area of a FIFA sanctioned football pitch
All under one roof and hosting the services which support UK academic institutions including Bing, Live@Edu , Office365, Sharepoint Hosted , SkyDrive, Windows Live, Exchange Hosted , Windows Azure and SQL Azure.
So if your interested in Microsoft Datacentre strategy and the understanding the scale of the operation please watch the following video and visit the MS Datacentres Blog for further details.
The Microsoft Windows SDK Beta 1 Refresh has now been live for over 24 hours.
Microsoft Channel 9 had a chance to talk to Rob Relyea, Principal Program Manager Lead on the Kinect for Windows SDK.
Watch the video below to understand the changes in the Beta 1 Refresh.
If you're on Twitter, make sure to follow the KinectSDKTeam to ensure your update with the latest information on the Windows SDK.
We are pleased to announce that starting September 1, 2011, IT Academy members can take advantage of improved Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) and Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification benefits!
So what are the changes? As an IT Academy member, you will be able to request ten complimentary MOS Microsoft Office Specialist exam vouchers and twenty complimentary MTA Microsoft Technology Associate exam vouchers annually for your professional development.
10 x MOS (Microsoft Office Specialist) Vouchers
About Microsoft Office Specialist Certification
Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) is the world-recognized standards-based certification - the premier credential chosen by students seeking to validate their skills using the full features and functionality of the Microsoft Office system. MOS promotes academic preparedness and workforce readiness for the student, optimizes course effectiveness and classroom efficiency for the teacher, and strengthens the programs, curricula, relevance and stature of the institution.
20 MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) Vouchers
This benefit is renewable every twelve months aligned with the expiration date of your IT Academy membership.
About Microsoft Technology Associate Certification Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification is a cost-effective, industry-relevant solution to validate fundamental technology knowledge in demand today. MTA provides Schools, Colleges and Universities with the prestige of offering an official Microsoft certification to help attract and retain high-caliber students, drive further education acceptances, and increase internship, work experience and employability opportunities. MTA provides students with low investment career exploration paths and confidence to continue studies in technology, compete more successfully on admissions, and differentiate themselves amongst peers.
So what can these vouchers be used for?
- Teacher Readiness – teachers can use these vouchers and subscribe to our Microsoft Certified Trainer Programme (MCT) that they get for free through IT Academy already
- Student Employability and Technology Adoption – MOS and MTA are great additions to a student CV. MTA is an ideal introduction to Microsoft technology, programming and Windows Phone App development as well as the perfect route towards MCP certification
In order to take advantage of this offer, each IT Academy member will need to become a test center. Just be sure to use your complimentary exam vouchers each year - unused exam vouchers will not roll over with your IT Academy membership renewal.
How to become a test centre
How to Redeem.
On or after September 1, 2011, simply log in to the IT Academy member site and navigate your way to the Certification Exams benefits page. On either the MTA or MOS certification tabs, click on the "Redeem My Voucher Benefit" link. This link will take you to a registration page hosted by Certiport, Microsoft's exam solution provider for both MOS and MTA. The registration page will walk you through the process to request and redeem your complimentary exam vouchers. You will receive another email with the appropriate member site links once this new benefit is active.
Microsoft Learning http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/default.aspx
Microsoft MTA http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/certification/mta.aspx
Certiport Portal http://www.certiport.com/portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?page=common/pagelibrary/MTA_overview.html
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Sorry but due to demand the BUILD Windows Conference, which takes place on September 13-16 in Anaheim, CA, has been sold out.
So if you haven’t registered for the event you will be able to watch keynotes live and the sessions the following day.
Microsoft will be announcing the developer strategy for Windows 8 at the BUILD Windows conference. BUILD is a new event that shows modern hardware and software developers how to take advantage of the future of Windows. Learn how to work with the all new touch-centric user experience to create fast, fluid, and dynamic applications that leverage the power and flexibility of the core of Windows, used by more than a billion people around the world.
BUILD will be the first place to take a dive deep into the future of Windows.