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!
Do you have a device running the latest Windows Phone 8 operating system?
Are you a fan of the TouchDevelop app that enables you to create apps directly ON your mobile device?
Do you love to try out the latest apps, and give feedback about what you like or wish to see improved?
Then our beta testing program for the upcoming update of the TouchDevelop app is for you!
This update will leverage some of the phone sensors and features only available on Windows Phone 8, and it will include all of the new language features which you already might have seen in the TouchDevelop Web App.
This update packs our new editing and execution engine that is powered by TypeScript under the hood. You will enjoy a unified experience between the Windows Phone app and the Web App that runs on most other devices and even your PC.
If you want to participate in the beta testing program, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
The Touchdevelop team will collect this information over the next couple of days, and then invite the first 800 respondents to try out the beta. They also might contact you later on again to ask for your feedback.
The existing TouchDevelop app for Windows Phone will keep working as before on all Windows Phone 7 devices.
Like TouchDevelop on Facebook to stay up to date.
Perhaps your an academic coming a different platform, iOS, Android or you have previously developed and curriculum for game development on an earlier version of DirectX on Windows XP or Windows 7.
As a Student you may simply want to explore whether developing your game for the Windows Store is an attractive proposition for you in terms of developing a real portfolio or even developing an Indie Career or getting some sales to pay for your University fees.
Here are some reasons to invest in the Windows Store:
Today’s leaders need new and professional sets of resources to make learning more motivating, relevant, and engaging—that’s why DreamSpark puts the latest tools and technologies into your classrooms and labs.
We offer dreamspark so your students and faculty can start building apps that build their skills, without breaking your budget. With two subscription levels to choose from, your entire institution—students, faculty and labs—will get no-cost access to Microsoft’s professional developer tools, platforms, and servers in labs and classrooms for a modest annual licensing fee.
DreamSpark offers two levels of subscriptions for institutions - Premium and Standard. Premium is ONLY available for qualified higher education science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) departments. Each eligible department requires its own subscription. Software access is only for students enrolled in courses of that specific department.
DreamSpark gives you a single subscription for your entire academic institution. It offers a smaller catalog of developer, gaming, and designer tools download and read the following guide for Educational customers.
Guest blog by David Renton Reid Kerr College
This year our HNC Games students at Reid Kerr College worked in partnership with a local Primary School, Lochfield Primary in Paisley, to produce games for their HNC Group graded unit project.
This is the third year we have worked in partnership with Lochfield for our HNC Graded Unit games, however this year we took things a step further with the schoolchildren actually contributing art work for the games.
Students presenting ideas to Lochfield Primary
The project began in February and in discussion with the school we set the theme for this years games to be “Healthy Living”. So we tasked our students to come up with game ideas that promote an awareness of the benefits of healthy living and asked them to select a representative from each team of 4, who would present those ideas to the primary school. On the 8th of February we visited Lochfield Primary and our students gave PowerPoint presentations on their game ideas to around 70 Primary 6 pupils. They were then given the opportunity to get feedback from the kids and discuss their ideas further in small groups, effectively using the schoolchildren as a focus group. Some of my students were extremely nervous about the idea of presenting to and talking to schoolchildren, but as in previous years those fears soon dissipated when they realised how enthusiastic and positive the children were about the games, something that rubbed off on the rest of their team-mates when the representatives reported back. One thing that we introduced this year, which we hadn’t done before, was that we asked the schoolchildren to draw art for the games, so during the discussions with the schoolchildren, our students also discussed with them the types of art they would like them to create.
Discussions with the schoolchildren
From February to May our students worked away in their teams turning their concepts into games for Windows 7 using XNA4. We received a bunch of art from the schoolchildren which we scanned in and used in at least half the games, along with art produced by our own students.
On May 20th we had a big event at the college and over 70 Primary 6 pupils were bussed into the college for the day. We had to split the schoolchildren up and we enlisted help from the Care & Construction departments in our college, who took turns with half of the group while the other half played the games our groups had created. Once the children were finished playing the games they went onto an online survey and rated the games out of 20, based on originality, graphics, sound and most importantly gameplay.
Schoolchildren playing the games
It was a close call between two of the games and in the end one vote could have swung it either way; eventually the only game which featured a 2 player mode won. In the end it was a triumph for gameplay, however the game which came second had an excellent concept, was a great game with far more complexity to it and even had a level designer. I’m hopefully they will develop it further and enter it into the imagine cup next year.
The top 4 games as voted for by Lochfield Primary 6
This partnership with Lochfield Primary has improved our students’ experience of learning in a number of ways and opened the eyes of the schoolchildren to games development as a possible career path.
Benefits to Games Development students
1. They had a realistic learning experience by designing and writing games for a live client group.
2. The partnership was an enjoyable and positive learning experience for both the schoolchildren and the college students, as they experienced working with a partner to produce artwork for the games.
3. The competitive element of the partnership was appealing to them and a motivating factor.
4. Peer review by other students and by the schoolchildren was invaluable in forming ideas on how the games could be improved in the future.
The winning team (from left to right: David Savage, Grant Hamilton, Michael Collins & Ryan Kennedy, along with Lee Stott from Microsoft).
Lee stayed on after the schoolchildren had left and took part in a judging event in the afternoon with my HND Games Development students, who had been tasked with producing a Windows Phone game based around an apocalyptic theme (so lots of Zombie games). We had an impressive judging panel, which I had kept as a little surprise from my students , that included myself, David Marshall & Martin Barrett from Reid Kerr, Fiona Rushton & Ian Tyson from James Watt, Daniel Livingstone from UWS and of course Lee Stott from Microsoft.
Ten of my students presented their game concepts, how their games had been developed and how they felt about the way their game had turned out. They also answered questions from the panel, who had the opportunity to play all the games on Windows Phones. In the end the panel came up with a top 3 and Lee presented the winning student with a Windows Phone as a prize.
The winning game – Dead City
Ally Louden - winner of a Windows Phone from Microsoft for the best Graded Unit game
The 2nd and 3rd placed games – Escape and Haven (Escape is on the right hand side, Haven is at the bottom left).
Runner up Ryan Anderson and 3rd place Daniel Boyle
To keep up with the latest news from David and his adventures as an Academic hero check out his blog at http://games4learning.co.uk/
If you have any interesting stories or events to share please do get in contact and ensure you join our linkedin group to share your experiences
We get lots of questions over what applications can be virtualised and supported by Microsoft…
The following web site from the Windows Server teams gives you comprehensive guidance on all Microsoft products and if they can be virtualised and support using products such as HyperV, VMWare, Citrix etc.
The 8th Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Forum is a one-day conference, free of charge to all teachers and educators who wish to attend. The workshops and keynotes this year have a STEM ‘flavour’ and address the theme of ‘Teach more, learn more, inspire more.’
This year the Forum is being held at the Microsoft Headquarters, Thames Valley Park in Reading on the 24th Nov 2011.
We have a rich agenda that includes as Keynote speakers, the world renowned Ian Livingstone OBE, Life President of Eidos , Alex Bellos, the author of the popular science book Alex's Adventures in Numberland and Ollie Bray, the National Adviser for Emerging Technologies at Education Scotland
In addition, delegates will be able to choose from a range of workshops. I would suggest that you sign up as soon as possible as places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
· Bringing classrooms together with Skype
In this interactive workshop, Jacqueline Botterill, head of social good for Skype, will explain and demonstrate how over 17,500 educators from over 170 countries are already using the free online community to connect with each other.
Using the Kinect SDK/Kodu in the classroom
Classroom Teachers Ray Chambers from Lodge Park Technology College & Nicki Maddams from Hartsdown College, give hands-on practical guidance on how to programme and create games in the classroom
Everyone is a Maths genius, can computer science/technology prove it?
Dr Chris Imafidon – is one of the “World’s foremost scholars on leveraging informatics for learning and exceptional achievement. This workshop will discuss how computer science/technology exposed the myths of natural Intelligence, genes, gender, IQ, age, background, post-code.
Computing: The Science of Nearly Everything?
Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff (UWIC), looks at the big question: How are we developing and encouraging the next generation of technology innovators in the UK?
Be a Maker: learn to build gadgets with .NET Gadgeteer
Dr Scarlet Schwiderski-Grosche from Microsoft Research.Do you like computer gadgets? Would you like to learn how to build and program gadgets to your own design? Then this workshop is for you!
Medicines and innovation – the missing link
Kandarp Thakkar - STEM Ambassador Programme - This workshop will introduce the STEM programme and give some ‘real-life’ case studies of successful use of this programme in delivering high quality university admissions.
Guerrilla Teaching & Learning
Daniel Raven-Ellison is a guerrilla educator, co-founder of The Geography Collective and creative director of Mission:Explore. Join this workshop to receive initial training in how to be a guerrilla teacher and learner.
Who’s afraid of the big bad ‘network’
Dan Roberts from saltash.net community school, presents light-hearted perspective and interactive & engaging discussion which considers the challenges & issues of schools using social networking, how these can be overcome?
Also, find out who are the recipients of this year’s Microsoft UK Partners in Learning Teacher Awards.The awards will be presented to Teachers who have submitted projects that illustrate the innovative use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. Not only will they receive award recognition, but have the chance to be invited to the next Partners in Learning Forum and win a Xbox 360 and Kinect package for their school. These projects will be on display at the event.
Don’t miss out, register today – Registration now open
Yippee Entertainment are launching a unique competition.
Yippee are offering one person in the UK and one in the US a chance to design a member of Chuck’s Chimpact family and have their design turned into a character in the Windows 8 & Windows Phone 8 versions of the game. Chimpact is available on a variety of platforms but this is an exclusive to the Windows game versions that will have this new character. What’s more the UK winner will get a chance to go to the Yippee Entertainment game studio in Manchester and see their creation turned into a video game character!
You can find details to enter at the website: http://www.chimpact.com/competition/
This competition is open to anyone in the UK or US who wants to draw, paint, crayon, use a software design programme or any art and crafts they fancy to design a new member of Chuck’s family on Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
We have three primary competitions: Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship.
General information on these competitions can be found on our website at http://www.imaginecup.com
Here a quick summary of the 2014 competitions.
World Citizenship: This category is most similar to past Imagine Cup contests which emphasized solving global problems in areas such as health, the environment, and human rights. Projects in this category are primarily judged based on the problem they’re addressing and the likely impact the project will have. This category tells the Imagine Cup social-good story.
Innovation: This category is not based on global problems at all. Instead we are looking for projects with a strong consumer appeal and a gee-whiz quality that will surprise and delight a broad audience. Projects in this category are primarily judged based on the creative innovation they offer. Projects in the Innovation category that attempt to address global problems do not receive any points for doing so; those projects really belong in World Citizenship and will probably not be competitive in Innovation. The Innovation category tells the Imagine Cup cutting-edge tech story.
Games: The global videogame market is now estimated at $66 billion dollars, that the number of schools with game programs or degrees has increased rapidly The Games competition was the most popular Imagine Cup contest last year according to both student registrations and number of projects submitted to our Online Finals. Students are highly motivated to make games and with your help and support, they will do so on Microsoft platforms.
Every year Imagine Cup offers a variety of global online challenges.
This year’s three challenges are designed to teach students about the software development lifecycle and get them started early on their projects for our three main competitions. Each challenge includes Games, Innovation, and World Citizenship categories and the top team in each category will win $3,000.
These challenges are completely optional for students. A team can do one, skip one, do them all, skip them all, whatever. The challenges have no impact on the three core competitions. However, we expect that teams who participate in the challenges will end up with stronger projects for their chosen competition than teams who skip the challenges.
Pitch Video Challenge: Student teams create a five-minute video explaining their project.
Launch: September 13, 2013 - End: October 25, 2013
Project Blueprint Challenge: Student teams create a ten-page document presenting their project in detail.
Launch: October 29, 2013 - End: December 17, 2013
User Experience Challenge: Student teams create a set of user flows, wireframes, and a visual target for how their project will look, feel, and flow.
Launch: January 3, 2014 - End: February 21, 2014
Best of luck to UK Entries full terms and conditions are available at http://www.imaginecup.com
Call for 2013 SEIF Award Applications
Microsoft Research Connections issued a Request for Proposals for the 2013 Software Engineering Innovation Foundation (SEIF) Awards. The foundation supports top researchers who are conducting academic research that primarily involves Microsoft technologies. Each award is for US$25,000 and includes access to relevant collaborations and workshops.
This year, the requested proposal topics include software engineering for gaming and assistive technologies for digital inclusion. The 2013 SEIF Awards will include a new grant that is designated for a project from Brazil. The application deadline is January 25 and results will be announced on March 28. Learn more or read our blog.
In the summer of 2012 The University of West London set out to harness the immense potential of the free Cloud-based suite of collaboration tools, provided by Office 365, to create a personalised, interactive, social platform to support the institution’s mission to raise aspiration through the pursuit of excellence. Allowing students to combine social learning with academic study. The University won the UCISA Award for Excellence, 2012 for the service they have created.
This event will provide detail on what UWL wanted to achieve, how they accomplished it and a demonstration of capability and features. In addition Microsoft will share latest features for Office 365
Event Location: Wednesday 10th July, Building 3, Memphis Microsoft Campus Thames Valley Park Reading
9:30am – Arrive and refreshments
9:50am – Welcome to Microsoft
10:00am – Introduction by VC of UWL
10:15am – Office 365 latest information– Microsoft
10:45am – UWL – Highway to Heaven– Adrian Ellison CIO UWL
11:30am – Break
11:45am - UWL – Presentation/Demonstration of environment
12:45pm – Lunch and networking
1:45pm – Fulcrum – Developing the portal (partner who worked with UWL)
2:30pm- Open Questions on UWL environment and Office 365
3:00pm- Janet Amendments for Office 365 and Janet/Microsoft Alliance Agreement
3:20pm – Office 365 user group – introduction – Group discussion
Please register using the following link . There are only 65 spaces available, so please ensure your customers register
Registration/Invitation Code - 7EA736