• Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup UK National final is to be held at UCL, in London on the 29th April 2014.



    Every year, Imagine Cup teams compete in countries around the world in events known as National Finals.

    So are you interested in competing for the 2014 Imagine Cup.

    The major competition categories for 2014 are Games, Innovation and World Citizenship. You’ll find additional information on this page in the months ahead, so be sure you visit www.imaginecup.com.

    Register here to enter your team in one of the above categories. You can find more detailed instructions on our Get Started page – how to create your account, register your team, sign up for the contests and more.

    Before 21st March 2014 Teams register their members and an optional mentor at www.imaginecup.com. Teams submit entry/ies as per the rules defined on www.imaginecup.com for each competition.

    Teams will be automatically entered to compete in online UK Competition Qualifier which will be judged by a panel of Microsoft staff, industry experts and academics.

    Also, UK’s top teams will be travelling to Microsoft headquarters in Seattle, Washington for the Imagine Cup World Finals, to compete for the coveted Imagine Cup trophy and $50,000 grand prize! Last year, Exeter University  Team Colinked and their product Soundsynk an interactive music app. Team Colinked with Soundsynk advanced to the Finals of the Competition, where they won the world wide final and $50,000. After the Imagine Cup the team accepted a place at the Microsoft Venture UK Accelerator.


    1st April 2014 Microsoft announces the 12 teams that have qualified for the Finals of the UK Competition.

    29th April 2014 A panel of academics and industry experts judge the UK Competition Finals at a live event at UCL in London.

    30th April 2014 Microsoft Publicly announces the winners (First, Second and Third places) of the UK Competition Finals


    Each category will require teams to submit:

    • Video Presentation of your project to a panel of judges on camera to deliver the presentation as if to a live panel of judges for the National Finals. This presentation should explain your project and your team: Who is your team is; what your project does; who your project is for; and how you will bring your project to market. Your video must be no longer than 10 minutes and it may not have any edits or added visual effects. You may not move the camera during your presentation. In all respects it should replicate the experience of a judge sitting and viewing your live presentation.
    • Software that is usable by the judges in a hands-on evaluation.
    • Software Instructions document explaining how the use your software
  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Discover how Excel can help you with your research, including new Power BI features for data science and dynamic visualization



    Date/Time: Wed Feb 26, 2014, 8:00 AM, USA Pacific

    Duration: 1 Hour Online FREE Course

    Microsoft Excel is one of the most widely used tools for researchers to manage, analyse and visualize their data. Learn about new data discovery and analysis features in Excel with the collaboration capabilities in the new Power BI for Office 365 online service, and how it can be used with Windows Azure. Find out more on the Excel Power BIWindows Azure for Research and Windows Azure for Education websites.

    Areas covered in the session:

    • How to use Excel Power BI for science and research
    • Using Excel Power Query to browse, refine and analyse research data
    • How to use Excel as a gateway to Windows Azure
    • Designing research data analysis services using PowerView
    • Visualising 4D data in Excel using PowerMap


    Kenji Takeda, Microsoft Research
    Jeff Zhang, Microsoft

    Register at https://www.eventbuilder.com/microsoft/event_registration.asp?z=z9m4o3&eventid=o63j131h

    Read more…

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft is bringing Unity developers yet another opportunity to achieve creative success



    Microsoft is supporting the creation and launch of the best made-with-Unity games and apps on Windows Phone/Windows Store.

    The new offer helps to clear the way for talented and committed Unity developers to reach millions of new players and users.

    How to qualify:

    1. Any Unity developer using Unity 4 to develop their games and apps can apply.
    2. Applicants are required to have experience with shipping games and apps on mobile platforms.
    3. The content that is submitted for review needs to stand out: it needs to be innovative, interesting, and different from the other games and apps in its genre.
    4. Some benefits may not be available in some countries, check the Terms and Conditions.

    If you apply and submit existing content:

    If you have existing games published on other mobile platforms (iOS, Android), make sure you list your top titles in the application. Existing games need to have received a minimum 3 star rating, with a significant number of downloads.

    If you apply without published content:

    Microsoft encourages Unity developers with a great mobile project in the pipeline to apply. Each developer application will be evaluated on its own merits, and your project may even qualify for the AppCampus offer. Note however that evaluation of new projects will take more time.

    The incentive offer provides two levels of benefits:

    Windows Store

    • Free Dev Center account for Windows and Windows Phone stores
    • Free Microsoft Windows 8 Pro License
    • 1 Developer device (phone or tablet)
    • Priority review for store promotion

    Windows Store

    • Level 1 benefits + the following
    • 1,000,000 impressions ad package on Adduplex
    • 1 more Developer device (phone or tablet)
    • Feature placement on the Windows made with Unity Gallery
    • Access to technical assistance

    Apply now

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Training and Certification Guide


    We have just released a new Training & Certification Guide app into the Windows 8 store


    The app is a great tool for student, educators and professionals for evaluating which technical courses and certifications should be completed to gain Microsoft Professional Certifications.

    Screen shot 1

    Available here:


    The Training and Certification Guide features an interactive chart of our technical certifications mapped by courseware and exam. Clicking on the ‘subway map’ takes a user to more information on the different portfolios—details about the training, certifications, etc. Clicking further will then take users to /learning. A breakdown of keyword guidance is also included to map keywords to our certifications.

    The app also includes a ‘view as PDF’ option should users need to print pages.

    Wishing you a happy professional certification journey.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Educators and Students we want your feedback on DreamSpark



    Are you an Educator, Head of IT or IT Administrator

    This review of DreamSpark Premium will assist Microsoft in understanding your institutional use of applications, while also assessing the effectiveness and impact it is having on developing student skills and attainment. Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting coursework and test results of your students. You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have witnessed so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.

    Just click here (http://dreamspark-edu.questionpro.com) to complete the online questionnaire.


    Are you at school, college or University?

    Help Microsoft understand and support your use of DreamSpark

    We need to know that you value DreamSpark to be able to win the battle to continue to deliver it for free – help us help the next generation of students.

    We are inviting students to complete a short survey to help us better understand how the DreamSpark programme is supporting your skills development, learning outcomes and career potential. We would like to understand what range of applications and tools have been of use to you, how often you use them and how effective they have been in supporting your skills development. Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting your coursework and test results. You also have a chance to let us know about any particularly positive or negative experiences you have had so we can ensure that in the future we are delivering an even better service.

    Win a XBOX ONE


    We are only looking for a few minutes of your time and all responses remain anonymous. Just to give you a little more of an incentive to help us gather this data we are offering one lucky student an Xbox One. Just click here (http://dreamspark2014.questionpro.com) to complete the online questionnaire.

    Public customer service email: DreamSparkSupport-EM@eu.subservices.com

    All EMEA Service Center details: https://www.dreamspark.com/Support/RSC.aspx#Europe

    For further information on Microsoft DreamSpark, please visit our website:


  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Accelerate the speed of scientific discovery with Windows Azure



    Windows Azure provides researchers, educators, and students with the power and scalability of cloud computing for collaboration, computation, and data-intensive processing.

    Windows Azure is an open and flexible global cloud platform that supports languages, tools, and frameworks, such as Linux, Python, Java, Hadoop, and the Microsoft .NET Framework.

    Watch our webinar series and learn how cloud computing can help researchers resolve the issue of big data and focus on accelerating breakthroughs and insights. Learn more…

    If your interested in teaching Windows Azure in your undergraduate course see www.windowsazure.com/education


    We are pleased to announce that we have published three new technical papers to help researchers quickly start working with Windows Azure.

    The latest papers provide instructions on working with Windows Azure Cloud Services

    1. Scaling a Windows Azure Cloud Service

    2.  Installing the Windows Azure BLAST Example

    3.Building Scalable Services in Windows Azure with Python.

    These papers are appropriate for those who have received Windows Azure for Research training, awardees of the RFP program, or researchers who are simply  curious about Windows Azure; however, they do assume some prior technical computer programming skills. Read more…

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Latest recipients of Windows Azure for Research Awards announced



    Microsoft Research’s Windows Azure for Research program, which features a continuing series of Windows Azure cloud training events and a program of Windows Azure research grants, has been going strong since its launch in September 2013

    Selecting the winning proposals was extremely difficult, as we can fund only a fraction of the submissions. Nonetheless, we persevered and winnowed the proposals down to the grant recipients listed, by lead author and project title.

    You can review abstracts for these proposals at Windows Azure for Research.

    The Grant approved for the United Kingdom are

    •Blesson Varghese, University of St Andrews, United Kingdom - Real-time Catastrophe Risk Management on Windows Azure   
    •Julio Hernandez-Castro, David Barnes, University of Kent, United Kingdom - ChessWitan: Mining chess data to distinguish human from computer play
    •Nadarajen Veerapen, University of Stirling, United Kingdom - Automated Bug Fixing
    •Vassilis Glenis, Newcastle University, United Kingdom - Modelling Flood Risk in Urban Areas   

    Read the full blog here …

    Learn more

    · Windows Azure for Research website

    · Windows Azure for Education

    · Windows Azure for Research Award winners (blog)

    · Windows Azure for Research Training

    · Windows Azure for Research Proposal FAQ

    · Cloud Research Projects

    · Windows Azure

    · Windows Azure for Research LinkedIn community

    ·  Windows Azure for Research on Twitter (use #azureresearch)

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Save the date TechEd Europe 27 – 31 Oct 2014 Barcelona



    TechEd Europe is Microsoft’s premier technology conference for IT Professionals and Enterprise Developers, providing the technical education, product evaluation, and community resources to plan, architect, deploy, manage and secure a connected enterprise.

    We are excited to announce that TechEd Europe will be held 27-31 October at Fira Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. 

    Registration will open in the spring of 2014 at http://europe.msteched.com/

    Save the Date Save the Date

    Join the Mailing List Join the Mailing List

    Join the conversation Join the Conversation

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Saving your game to the cloud



    One of the biggest requests gamers have for a titles is to save their game in the cloud.

    Gamers simply want the ability to save their progress so that, for example, if the upgrade to a new phone, they wouldn't have to start again.

    If your a develop and your game? Is all of of the game progress is being stored on players' handsets? Whatcif something happens to that handset (e.g. they lose it, had to restore it etc.) they would lose progress!

    Well here is the easy way of ensuring you can save game progress to the cloud.

    · Azure Mobile services – supports storage (and therefore synchronisation), notifications, authentication.


    The above supports

    Windows Store
    Windows Phone

    · For simple W8 device game state synchronisation you can use roaming data storage option:


    · There are also a number of third party providers .

    For example:




  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Inspiring the next generation of programmers - developer tools from Microsoft


    At Microsoft we have an amazing set of tools to inspire future developers

    Here a list of developer tools to help inspire tomorrow developers (Figures in bracket are guidelines for ages that it is appropriate) For FREE additional curricula materials see http://www.microsoft.com/faculty

    ·         Kodu (5-11)

    Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The programming environment runs on the Xbox, allowing rapid design iteration using only a game controller for input. The core of the Kodu project is the programming user interface. The language is simple and entirely icon-based. Programs are composed of pages, which are broken down into rules, which are further divided into conditions and actions. Conditions are evaluated simultaneously. The Kodu language is designed specifically for game development and provides specialized primitives derived from gaming scenarios. Programs are expressed in physical terms, using concepts like vision, hearing, and time to control character behaviour. While not as general-purpose as classical programming languages, Kodu can express advanced game design concepts in a simple, direct, and intuitive manner. See http://www.kodugamelab.com/about

    ·         The Kodu Cup (7-14)

    The Kodu Kup is a game creation competition for UK school-children aged between 7 and 14. The Kodu Kup is open to any child enrolled as attending a UK school and who is aged between seven to fourteen years of age at the date of entry. Children are entered by their appropriate school teacher as a team of three. For more information the flyer can be downloaded from here: http://bit.ly/KoduKupFlyer

    ·         Small Basic (5-11)

    Small Basic is a project that is focused at making programming accessible and easy for beginners. The Language draws its inspiration from an early variant of BASIC but is based on the modern .Net Framework Platform. The Environment is simple but rich in features, offering beginners several of the benefits that professional programmers have come to expect of a worthy IDE. A rich set of Libraries help beginners learn by writing compelling and interesting programs. Small Basic is intended for beginners that want to learn programming. In our internal trials we've had success with kids between the ages of 10 and 16. However, it's not limited to just kids; even adults that had an inclination to programming have found Small Basic very helpful in taking that first step. See http://www.smallbasic.com

    ·        .NET Gadgeteer (6-24)

    Are you ready to create something awesome? Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer is an open-source toolkit for building small electronic devices using the .NET Micro Framework and Visual Studio/Visual C# Express. Build all manner of electronic gadgets quickly and easily with .NET Gadgeteer! LEARN HOW TO GET STARTED

    ·         TouchDevlop (8-24)

    TouchDevelop makes learning programming exciting! You can write code directly on any device and you can directly use sensors and media via high-level APIs. It's easy to create games and apps, publish them or tweak those published by others. You write code in our touch-friendly editor where you compose programs by tapping on your screen, yet concepts you learn transfer to traditional languages such as Java or C#. TouchDevelop embraces the "Bring Your Own Device" revolution by providing a unified programming environment everywhere. http://www.touchdevelop.com

    ·         Project Spark (8-24)

    Project Spark is a digital canvas which can be used to make games, movies and other experiences. A player can download other user-generated content, remix that content or create content of their own. A player can use the Xbox controller, keyboard and mouse, touch-devices and Kinect to build experiences. Kinect can be used to animate models and record audio. The created environments can contain mountains, rivers, and towns. http://www.projectspark.com

    ·         Web Application Template (11+)

    The Web Application Template is an Open Source Visual Studio 2013 template that lets developers create Windows 8.1 apps based on existing web content. Used in the right way, Web Application Template can facilitate the creation of compelling extensions to your web content for Windows users.

    ·         Windows Phone AppStudio (8-24)

    Windows Phone App Studio lets you swiftly build apps for immediate publishing, testing, and sharing with clients, co-workers, and focus groups. Windows Phone App Studio generates your source code - a feature no other app-builder tool provides so you can learn the basic and make enhancements with Visual Studio. http://apps.windowsstore.com/

    ·         Project Siena (8-24)

    Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is the beta release of a new technology for those interested in building an app without any programming experience, you can create powerful apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes.

    Here are some examples of what people have already been building:

    • Apps to explore media-rich product catalogs and create ensembles that together serve a customer’s needs
    • Apps used on the spot to resolve customer service bottlenecks and logistics exceptions, with the custom intelligence to help the user make local tradeoffs

    Apps for auditing and inspecting a manufacturing facility through photos, videos, and pen and voice notes, all tied to an asset database see http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/projectsiena/default.aspx

    ·         DreamSpark (6+)

    DreamSpark is a Microsoft Program that supports technical education by providing access to Microsoft software for learning, teaching and research purposes.

    DreamSpark is simple: it's all about giving students Microsoft professional-level developer and designer tools at no cost so that students can chase their dreams and create the next big breakthrough in technology - or just get a head start on their career.

    DreamSpark helps educators teach the latest technologies and experiment in research. Microsoft knows that to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging for today's students requires a diverse set of resources. DreamSpark gives educators the resources to ensure their classrooms always have the latest technologies to challenges, motivate, and keep students engaged in new ways.

    DreamSpark is also a subscription for Academic Institutions: it provides a cost-effective way to put Microsoft developer tools, platforms and servers in labs and classrooms, and on their students’ and faculty’s computers for learning and research purposes. It reduces lab costs and teaching budgets.

    How do I get DreamSpark Software?

    As a Student: simply create an account, verify your student status and download software through this website at no cost. If your school/university has a subscription, you can also get access to more software titles.

    Learn more clip_image002

    As an Educator: you can get access through your institution’s subscription. Talk to your school administration to get a DreamSpark subscription and order today!

    Learn more clip_image004

    As an Academic Institution: order the subscription type that is right for you. DreamSpark Standard is for all types of institutions from primary to tertiary educations. DreamSpark Premium has a wider software catalog of over 500 products and is for qualifying technical departments only.

    Learn more clip_image004[1]

    ·         DreamSpark FREE Store Developer Account for Windows 8 and Windows Phone (16+)

    Develop applications for Microsoft software that showcase your talent, your skill and your development creativity. If you can imagine it, you can create it, and you may even just change the world with it. https://www.dreamspark.com/Student/App-Development.aspx

    ·         Xbox For Education (6+)

    The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk

    Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.

    These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.

    Or simply use packages such as Kinect Sports and Adventures, Mind Craft, Kodu and Project Spark in the classroom.

    ·         The Imagine Cup (16+)

    There are lots of ways to participate in Imagine Cup. Find the competition that's right for you and your team. Fans of gaming? Check out the Games Competition. Want to change the world? Take a look at the World Citizenship Competition. Click on any competition's name to learn more about it, read up on the rules, and learn how to sign your team up. http://www.imaginecup.com

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