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So how could you use Pex4Fun (Windows phone app) or PexforFun web app in your curricula?
The (RiSE) team has created these great tool to exercise your students brains, they help teach and reinforce the bit of code your delivering in lectures and allow them to learn self paced.
As I have stated in the previous blog you have two ways of using Pex. For the web version simply go to the PexForFun site http://www.pexforfun.com or for the mobile version install the Pex4Fun app onto your Windows Phone device.
So what is available?
There are puzzles, learning exercises, and duels. Register and you can create your own challenges. The puzzle structure is a great demonstration of Pex. When you start a new puzzle, you have a empty implementation. You can click Ask Pex to get some test results on the hidden successful implementation. Pex then executes those tests on your code.
Students will learn as they see some failures, and you can fix your code to make the tests pass. Student can click “Ask Pex” to see if a more extensive test suite still passes. Iterating this way not only helps students understand fundamentals but also enables them to write better code and its tested to see if their implementation gets closer to the expected solution. If you are not familiar with Test Driven Development, this is a great tools for teaching the concept.
All in all, there are several reasons you should consider integrating FREE resource like PexForFun into your curricula or vocational training resources:
Microsoft Research have come up with the following great tools for Windows Phone.
The Research in Software Engineering (RiSE) group at Microsoft Research have two great mobile programming apps TouchDevelop & PexforFun.
TouchDevelop (New name for TouchStudio) is an Windows Phone 7 App that allows the users to script with their phone. By bringing bringing programming to the Windows Phone it not only great fun but productive too, especially from a learning perspective. In the video below Nikolai Tillmann and Michal Moskal from Research in Software Engineering group (RiSE) at Microsoft Research give a demo of TouchStudio
In the video below Nikolai Tillmann from Research in Software Engineering group (RiSE) at Microsoft Research give a case study of TouchDevelop being used by School children developing an app in 45mins directly on the device
In this video, Grant Bronsdon, a intern at Microsoft Research, gives a quick tutorial on writing scripts in TouchDevelop
Download the app from here
Another great tool is Pex4Fun. Pex4fun is another project from Research in Software Engineering (RiSE). PexforFun have a dedicated web site application which allows programming in C#, Visual Basic, and F# from your browser. Now the team has released a Windows Phone mobile app which allows you to do the same in Windows Phone 7 titled Pex4Fun.
The difference between Touch Studio and Pex4Fun is that Pex4Fun is a learning tool, you can win points by writing code! You earn points when your code computes the right outputs for all inputs. Pex4Fun features a code editor with auto-completion, snippets and background compilation to make programming on the phone a reality. If you are new to programming in general, don’t worry: Pex4fun also features a set of courses to learn the basics and beyond right from your phone.
Download the app from here.
So if your a academic or student in the North East of England you need to be aware of the work which Sunderland Software City and Codeworks are undertaking in the establishment of a North East heat of the Microsoft Imagine Cup.
Imagine Cup North East - Are you up for a challenge? from Codeworks Ltd on Vimeo.
As part of helping inspire students Sunderland Software City and Codeworks worked to togther to help promote The Microsoft Imagine Cup to North East. As you know from my previous post the Imagine Cup is an exciting opportunity for students to work together in teams to solve some of the worlds toughest problems, learn new skills, make new friends, win prizes.
So today Ben Nunney from Microsoft will be working with the teams from Sunderland Software City and Codeworks informing Students of the North East what the Imagine Cup is all about then on Friday 17th and Saturday 18th February particiaptes who except the challenge whisked off to a secret location for a 36 hour non-stop hackathon to work on their Imagine Cup projects
To find out more check out the Imagine Cup North East website - http://www.imaginecupnortheast.co.uk and follow the Imagine Cup North East on Twitter - http://twitter.com/imaginecupne
If you're not a student but would still like to get involved the competition is also looking for Mentors and Sponsors, so get in touch with the Imagine Cup North East team.
One of the key messages I hear when speaking with academics is, how can Microsoft help in inspiring my students? Well if you have students who are interested in technology how about setting them the following challenge!
Would you like the opportunity to change the world and potentially win a free trip to Sydney, Australia?
The Microsoft Imagine Cup, is the world's top student technology competition. Ever year Microsoft gives students a fantastic opportunity to envisage, create and deliver a technology solution that addresses the Imagine Cup slogan - "Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems!"
The Microsoft Imagine Cup is inspired by the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
If you interested in learning more watch the following video from academic Rob Miles from the University of Hull and also captain of the Imagine Cup Software Design competition. Rob shares his insight and gives you some more information on the Microsoft Imagine Cup opportunity.
Kinect for Windows is now Available!
Version 1.0 of the SDK and runtime are now available for download, and distribution partners in our twelve launch countries are starting to ship Kinect for Windows hardware, enabling companies to start to deploy their solutions.
Looking for great on content on how to build apps for Kinect? Visit Channel 9 where we have updated quick starts and open source projects.
Get Started Guides and Tutorials Kinect for Windows Quickstart Series
Write an App! - Sample Code / Open Source Projects
Kinect Service - A Windows Service so you can see Kinect data on your Windows Phone
Kinect Paint - Draw with your hands
Kinect Mouse Cursor - Control Windows with your hands
Coding4Fun Kinect Toolkit - Developer library for easy programming
Jellybean - Our famous drivable lounge chair code has been updated to the latest release of Kinect for Windows
Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface (SUR40) is now available for purchase through Samsung channel and reseller partners. The device, manufactured by Samsung, was selected as an International Consumer Electronics Show “Best of Innovations 2012” award winner. For updates, monitor Microsoft Surface.
The Surface 2 SUR40 is considerably less expensive than the first-generation device. Apart from the lower price, the main improvement is its much reduced size. The Surface 2 is now more like a coffee table with no bulky pedestal.
A really nice example of Surface + Microsoft technology application is a retail example was produced by Razorfish
Basically the surface 2 is an amazing device which simply can be used to do anything however you need to develop specific applications for the surface using the Surface 2 SDK see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/uk_faculty_connection/archive/2011/07/12/surface-2-0-sur40-sdk-now-available.aspx
As the previous post state the Surface 2 requires custom development. If you do not have these skills in house we would recommend using a Surface 2 application development partner such as:-
XFACE Suite 420 4th Floor, Davis House Business Centre, Robert Street, Croydon, CR0 1QQ Or
Black Marble Woodland Park Bradford Road Chain Bar, West Yorkshire, BD19 6BW
The Surface can also be purchased with a selection of custom apps for less than >£7k
The Microsoft Surface team have a number of You Tube videos see http://www.youtube.com/user/surface
Kinect for Windows Product Available February 1st
The Kinect for Windows product group announced the upcoming release of their full commercial product in an official blog post on January 9. The new Kinect for Windows hardware and accompanying software will be available on February 1. It will be supported in 12 countries (United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and United Kingdom) at a suggested retail price of US$249.
Academics will still be able to use the Software Development Kit (SDK) with current Kinect for Xbox 360 sensors for non-commercial purposes and existing deployments that are licensed until 2016.
You now also have a route to write commercial applications. Monitor the Kinect for Windows site for updates.
• The announcement is here.
As the Kinect for Windows blog states, many improvements to the SDK and runtime have been made these include:
The Channel 9 folks have some great content that went live today as well.
As Andrew states in his original blog Agility is essential to cope with the new influx of students every year as well as is the need to deploy every more applications to keep up with the latest standards for the curriculum and the way each subject is taught.
Some of these examples below are relevant to my previous discussions in regards to System Center 2012, curricula enhancements and training so I am sure you find them of interest in preparation for this years refresh plans.
The following blog is by Microsoft UK IT Pro Evangelists Andrew Fryer. Originally posted on the UK Technet Blog Insufficient data from Andrew Fryer IT Pro Evangelist
Teaching the next generation of IT Professionals.
There was a lot of coverage in the press last week about teaching coding and development as part of ICT, however I had two separate requests from ICT educators about teaching how to maintain and fix problems on PCs, because that’s what their students had asked for. We discussed setting up virtual machines on Hyper-V and using snapshots to allow a damaged desktop to be fixed and then being reset with the problem for the next lesson. I also think some of the information on clustering and virtual machines on the Microsoft Virtual Academy could be reused in class rooms or certified training via Microsoft IT Academy in the form of MTA.
Remote Desktop Services & App-V.
One way to deal with the problem of matching up students and teachers to the applications they need , irrespective of where they are working is to use App-V (application virtualisation) as this deploys a virtual copy of an application to a desktop based on the groups a user belongs to i.e. it won’t show up in programs in control panel and can run side by side alongside earlier versions of the same application which it would normally conflict with.
Another approach is to use Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and it was no surprise at BETT to see all the hardware vendors sporting their latest thin client devices, and personally I like the LG and Samsung offerings where the thin client was just part of the LCD panel. However not every application likes running as a remote desktop and you can end up creating a lot remote desktops for each type of user. The trick here is to use App-V with RDS so that the applications run virtually inside the remote desktop session and a given user only gets the applications they need even though you only have one or two standard desktops in RDS (the guidance on how to do this is here).
Another good thing about RDS is that it reduces heat in the classroom if thin client devices are used and also reduces the background noise, although the noise from pupils will still be the same! It is possible to implement RDS without also deploying Citrix or Quest technologies on top, however both of these partners’ offerings add ease of use and manageability to what the raw RDS experience delivers.
RDS can be setup so that these personalised remote desktops are available to staff & students working at home or other locations and this means they can use their own devices to interact with a school. Of course laptops are expensive and can be difficult to justify on a limited budget, so to level the playing field there is Get On Line @ Home, which provides affordable reconditioned hardware with Windows 7 + Office 2010 with telephone technical support included.
Thanks to Andrew for producing this post. For a list of upcoming events which the UK TechNet team are delivering see http://uktechdays.cloudapp.net/home.aspx and for details of your education account managers to discuss this further see http://www.microsoft.com/uk/education/
With the launch of Office 365, which includes Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online, there is a now a huge requirement and market for graduates with the skills of how to develop for Office365. The following blog outlines a number of great resources available for developers to help get you started developing on the platform.
So what is Office 365
Office 365 provides a communication and collaboration service in the cloud that you can leverage to build custom solutions for SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. In this session, you’ll learn about this new cloud service and the breadth of solutions that can be developed using the same skills, tools and SDKs you use today when building on-premises solutions.
I have Live@edu and not Office365 what is the difference?
for more details on see - www.microsoft.com/liveatedu/office365
So how do you develop for Office365
First, for Office client-related development, there is a short white paper Guidance for Office Development in Office 365 this paper identifies a number of things which you need to have top-of-mind relating to the Office clients and Office365 SharePoint Online. The most significant callout is managing remote authentication in your Office client add-ins. Since Office365 SharePoint Online is not in your Active Directory domain, you need to be able to pop the credential prompt for Ofiice365 when you need to access data in your add-in for the end-user. This white paper points you to a code sample you can use with the SharePoint Client Object Model and talks you through the pattern for how to implement it in your add-in. Additionally, you should keep a copy of the SharePoint Online Developer Guide handy to use as a reference for all things related to basic SPO development. Or you can access it online as well.
Some videos available on Channel9 you might want to watch for Office365 information are:
Dedicated Office365 training resource - http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/Office365TrainingCourse