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 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.
Today the news in filled with impact of the global funding crisis, the US debit Crisis and issues more closer to home with the Euro in Greece, Ireland and Spain. With the global impact of the economy the workforce and opportunities for students is changing.
In todays economy more than 50% of today’s jobs require some technology skills, workforce experts predict this will increase to 77% in the next decade. Today’s reality: jobs in every industry, and at every level, require basic proficiency with computers and other digital technologies. The question I have as a parent and a advisor is are the skills and tools being taught in school necessary and appropriate?
I have blogged before about Microsoft DreamSpark and Microsoft IT Academy programs, these programs help students increase their technical skills to better compete in the global economy. However one thing which I haven't stressed is that Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all school students worldwide. For a number of years, Microsoft has offered university students worldwide access to the latest professional-level developer and designer tools for FREE. There has been millions downloads already and the package has been a valuable tool for college and University students.
However the goal of DreamSpark is to empower students to pursue their academic and professional goals, so they are 100% ready to take their place as the next generation of business leaders. This program eases some pressure from the individual student their parents, teachers and administrators who are balancing the need for students to gain tech skills with diminishing resources.
School administrators will need to register their schools to help verify their school as an accredited institution so their students can get access to all the software for FREE. The first step to get verified is to have a Microsoft LiveID and then simply sign in and verify at the DreamSpark website https://www.dreamspark.com for more information on the program see https://www.dreamspark.com/FAQ/Default.aspx?i=gen# for how to sign up and resources:
We all know that todays students hold the key to long-term economic stability. Microsoft DreamSpark and access software means students will learn the skills required of a demanding workplace, which triggers greater creativity, opportunity and greater success.
So please use these resources so that students can learn and succeed through technology.
Kinect for Windows SDK Beta Refresh
Today we released Beta refresh of Kinect SDK Beta the update contains the following features
· Updated RSS feed with release announcement is now live: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/kdkrss.xml
· Blog post: http://bit.ly/KinectSDKBeta1RefreshBlogPost
· Details of fixes: http://bit.ly/KinectSDKBeta1RefreshDetails
· Web content updated: http://research.microsoft.com/KinectSDK
The updated doc links are also all live at http://bit.ly/KinectSDKDocs
Updated FAQ - http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/kinectsdk/faq.aspx
Update Promo on home page, now says “Explore the project gallery” and links to http://channel9.msdn.com/coding4fun/kinect/
Windows Phone Mango Completion
There are 30 more Mango developer phones up for grabs for great student prototypes. Here’s what to do if you want one (and be honest, you want one):
1. Make sure you’re registered for DreamSpark
2. Download and install Expression Studio Ultimate and the new Mango Windows Phone Developer Tools (available free as a member of DreamSpark)
3. Get the free Sketchflow Template for Windows Phone and create a Sketchflow mock-up of your app
4. Post the Sketchflow mock-up somewhere online and tweet out the link using the hash tag #WPAppItUp
5. We will review all prototypes and will contact the developers who submit the best ones and send them a special Mango developer device
More details at the blog: http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2011/07/29/mango-device-love-for-wpappitup-prototypes.aspx
Faculty Connection Newsletter July 2011
Welcome to the July edition of the Microsoft® Faculty Connection newsletter. This resource provides information about new curriculum resources and other useful educational content for use in the classroom. If this newsletter was forwarded to you by a colleague, please feel free to subscribe today to receive future editions directly.
New Faculty Connection Web Site with Visual Search
We are happy to announce the release of the new Faculty Connection web site. The new design provides a better user experience, allows for quicker content access, and links to various programs, software tools, and services including Microsoft Research and software products. One of the key features is the Visual Search application. This enables you to search or pivot on the data, so you can refine your search and even explore and view the content before you download it. We think you will find this a unique way to find the content you need. New to Faculty Connection? Review details on the program.
Project Hawaii Releases Cloud Services SDK for Windows Phone 7 Beta The MRC Engineering team, in collaboration with the newly formed Microsoft Mobile Computing Research Center (MCRC), has released the fourth and final cloud service for Windows Phone 7 development: Optical Character Recognition (OCR). The OCR service is the next step in the evolution of Project Hawaii, the Microsoft Research project that is exploring how to take full advantage of the cloud to enhance the use of smartphones. With Hawaii OCR, you can use your smartphone camera to take a picture of an object that contains text (in Roman characters), send the image to the cloud, and then receive a Unicode string of the text. This text string can be used in a number of interesting scenarios, such as translation of street signs or restaurant menus. For more details, read Aloha: Text from the Cloud.
Dream Chasers: Winners of 2011 Imagine Cup Announced in New York City
Teams from Ireland, Taiwan, France, Poland, Brazil, Greece, Korea, Denmark, and Romania took home the nine top awards at Microsoft's 9th annual Imagine Cup. Microsoft also announced a $3 million grant program to help Imagine Cup participants solve the world's toughest challenges.
The Faculty Connection Resource Center is the place to find these and other classroom-ready teaching materials:
Visual Studio 2010 C# Programming Review 24 presentations covering Visual Studio 2010 and C# programming. The material starts with obtaining the software and using the Visual Studio environment, the C# language and object oriented programming. It also features more advanced programming, including threading, databases, Internet communication, DirectX, PC interfacing using USB, and analogue I/O.
Windows Phone Programming in C# This material, created by Rob Miles, is an introduction to Windows Phone development for anyone learning to program. It contains 8 sections with labs, PowerPoint presentations, demos, and detailed notes.
Expression Web 4 Quick Start Tutorial: Beaches Around the World A fast-paced lesson that helps beginners create HTML pages with layers, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), interactive buttons, and Dynamic Web Templates. Build a Web site about the trip of your dreams to beautiful beaches around the world with this quick and easy Expression Web 4 tutorial.
Programming with C# and XNA 0.5: Jump Start This material contains lessons and projects for an exciting and engaging 4-5 week mini-course introduction to simulation and game programming using the C# language and XNA Game Studio. It is ideal for students who have fundamental programming experience.
A Changing World - Driven by Technology Our world is now changing driven by technology rather than evolution. This keynote session examines two key trends that will dominate the next wave of IT.
What Students Should Know about SharePoint 2010 SharePoint is one of the fastest growing products in the IT industry, and SharePoint 2010 has come a long way from previous versions. Learn about all the newest features and capabilities of SharePoint 2010, how many large enterprises are using it today, and why gaining SharePoint skills can help make students more marketable after graduation.
NEWS FROM MICROSOFT RESEARCH
Find recent news from a Microsoft Research site near you.
The Promise of Games in Lifelong Learning Microsoft Research announced the launch of a program designed to support collaborations between Microsoft Research Connections and major research institutions to build the foundations for a unified game layer for education. The first official project is Just Press Play, an experiment to craft gameful experiences for the students of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) undergraduate game design program. Gameful experiences incorporate the use of game play mechanics that focus on the user's intrinsic motivation to improve engagement and produce long-lasting and powerful results.
Top Students Descend on Microsoft Research Cambridge With the academic year drawing to a close, Microsoft Research Cambridge welcomed more than 60 doctoral students for the sixth PhD Summer School at the end of June 2011. Participants came from as far as Israel and Russia, numerous European countries, and locales across the UK. This annual event provides an opportunity for some of the brightest graduate students to come together at the Microsoft Research Cambridge lab for a week of immersive technical talks, personal development sessions, and socializing.
NEWS FROM MICROSOFT DYNAMICS
New Microsoft Dynamics Case Studies Available Two new Microsoft Dynamics case studies demonstrate how faculty use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions in the classroom. In today's world, employment is a primary objective of many educational institutions, and student experience with ERP and CRM is highly valued in the workplace. Microsoft Dynamics Partners can work with schools to help create an in-depth experience, offering guest lectures, curriculum development, and other services, including hiring interns and college graduates.
Microsoft Dynamics solutions and support are offered at no cost through the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance program.
IN THIS EDITION
The Faculty Connection Resource Center contains recommended Curriculum Resources, Reference Materials, Software, and Supplemental Resources:
View the Faculty Connection Resource Kit page for curriculum materials on areas such as Cloud Computing and Operating Systems. These kits contain lecture materials, PowerPoint presentations, videos, white papers, labs, and more that can be used for classroom presentations.
Find Higher Ed and Teacher resource kits to help you engage your students.
Find additional faculty and student resources:
These are the top downloads by faculty and teachers from the Faculty Connection Resource Center:
1. Windows Phone Programming in C#
2. Web Development With .NET
3. Introduction to Programming Through Game Development Using Microsoft XNA Game Studio
4. ASP.NET for Programmers
5. A Lap Around Microsoft Expression Blend®
6. Learn Programming with XNA
7. Windows Operating System Internals Curriculum Resource Kit (CRK)
8. Comparing the Linux and Windows Kernels -- CRK Unit OS-B
9. Apparel Business Systems-Philadelphia University Glossary of Terms
10. Indexers Lab - Programming C#
If you have any questions or would like to know more about Microsoft Faculty Connection, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Researchers from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research Connections are working together to develop a non-invasive, technological solution to improve both the health and overall quality of life for diabetics: a contact lens that monitors blood glucose levels. The functional contact lens is an example of how natural user interfaces (NUI) can enable the development of innovative solutions. To learn more, read the blog, Functional Lens Promises to Improve the Quality of Life for Diabetics and Others.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell, Microsoft Surface, and Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio developed a human-robot interaction application to create novel remote controls for rescue robots. Once perfected, this approach could enable emergency responders to safely manoeuvre rescue robots through buildings that are damaged by earthquakes, fire, or even terrorist attacks.
The eXtreme Computing Group within Microsoft Research has developed an iterative MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure, code-named Daytona. It enables laboratories, small groups, and individual researchers to use the power of the cloud to analyse data sets on gigabytes or terabytes of data and run large-scale machine-learning algorithms on dozens or hundreds of compute cores. The Project Daytona download includes a deployment guide, developer and user documentation, and code samples for both data analysis algorithms and client application. Learn more:
· Microsoft Research Debuts ‘Daytona’ Azure Analytics Tools
· Microsoft Research Releases Details About "Daytona" at Faculty Summit
· Free Tool Kit to Assist Big-Data Scientists
We are pleased to announce the launch of a program that supports collaborations between Microsoft Research Connections and major research institutions to build the foundations for a unified game layer for education. Our first official project is Just Press Play, an experiment to craft gameful experiences for the students of Rochester Institute of Technology undergraduate game design program. (Gameful experiences incorporate the use of game play mechanics that focus on the user's intrinsic motivation—engaging the user in a way that can produce long-lasting and powerful results.)
Learn about Microsoft Research Accelerators tools and services for academics and researchers that are designed to help scientists, researchers, teachers, and students explore science, analyze and visualize data, and publish the results of their research. This video provides a brief introduction to just a few of our many Research Accelerators, including the Chemistry Add-in for Word, Zentity, Scientific Workflow Workbench, and Try F#.
Find out how you can create cloud-enabled mobile applications with the tools and services that are included in the Project Hawaii software development kit (SDK). Arjmand Samuel, research program manager from Microsoft Research Connections, talks about what the SDK contains and how it can be used to develop Windows Phone applications.
The twelfth Microsoft Research Faculty Summit provided a forum for lively debate of the development, application, and funding of technologies in the environmental, medical, and educational spheres over a long period of time. The program consisted of keynote presentations, discussions, panels, workshops, and demonstrations. Learn more about the event and the integral role that industrial research plays in society, education, and technology transfer.
Interest in the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) beta, released on June 16, 2011, has been strong, and we’re delighted to learn that so many developers and innovators who are experimenting with natural user interface (NUI) applications have taken advantage of the SDK to explore the potential of the Kinect sensor. The community has provided us with a lot of good feedback, and in support of our commitment to encourage researchers and enthusiasts in their exploration of the exciting possibilities of the Kinect sensor, we will release a refreshed version of the SDK soon. The upcoming Kinect for Windows SDK beta refresh will address some of the top items you’ve told us about.
The Oxford University vaccine group is conducting a clinical trial to help save lives by making it easier for Nepalese patients to get a complete round of pneumonia vaccinations. The current vaccination regime consists of two injections administered consecutively; but to complete the regime, a third injection is required six months later. This third injection often does not get administered in Nepal, where it is difficult for many patients to access hospitals. Oxford University’s trial aims to determine whether three vaccines administered in a shorter time period can provide similar pneumonia protection. A system that employs Microsoft SharePoint and InfoPath enabled the vaccine group to create and deploy the clinical trial support infrastructure more quickly and inexpensively than by conventional methods. Oxford University Computing Lab and Microsoft Research Connections developed the system jointly.
What is Microsoft Cloud Services, well Microsoft’s cloud is now comprised of a globally distributed datacentre infrastructure supporting hundreds of online services and millions of transactions on a daily basis.
Microsoft Cloud services include Windows Azure, Live@edu, SkyDrive, Office 365, Bing, MSN, Windows Live, Hotmail and Xbox Live and have more than a billion customers and 20 million businesses in over 70 countries who actively use these services.
The Microsoft Data centre strategy has continually evolved, from the initial Microsoft datacentre which was built in 1989 starting with the Generation 1 to todays Generation 4 series datacentres all of which have ISO and PCI certifications, SAS70 Type II attestations, and FISMA certification and accreditation.
PUEs in the Generation 4 centres has been driven even lower as we are also using free air cooling for our N+1 modular designs. These fully modular facilities have reduced Microsoft's ability to provide services by 50% and deliver outstanding PUEs, low water utilization and low total cost of ownership.
For more details of Microsoft datacentre strategy and facilities see the following video tour and read further details at the Microsoft Datacentre blog.