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  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Kinect in teaching with curriculum materials



    Creative uses for Kinect in teaching with curriculum materials

    The Kinect sensor, the "Fastest Selling Consumer Electronics Gadget in History," adds a new dimension to Xbox 360 gameplay through its ability to read its environment and track the body movement of players.

    It is also a creative device that can be a great teaching tool. Rob Miles from University of Hull (UK) has created a set of curriculum materials that show how you can harness this creativity and get students enjoying themselves while writing programs that make use of the unique abilities of this sensor and Kinect for Windows software.

    These resources are now available via Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Share your curriculum materials with your peers



    Whether you’re using existing curriculum materials you found on Faculty Connection or created your own lectures, labs, or tutorials, we'd like you to please take a few minutes to contribute to our global repository so that others can leverage your insights in their own teaching.

    Registered Faculty Connection users are especially interested in lecture materials that teach students to use Visual Studio to build applications using Windows Phone, Windows Azure or Windows 8, including suggested class projects and labs.

    Additional guidance for students ready to build commercial applications for the Windows Store or Windows Phone Marketplace, and training aids for students preparing for the Imagine Cup are among the regularly requested materials. All contributions are welcome in any language.

    We are continuing to improve our rating system and build features such as a new curriculum alert to help authors track related materials and stay up to date.

    Additionally we have improved the search which now uses the new Silverlight powered Visual Search to quickly find new contributions from faculty around the world.

    So please do get in touch which any questions or suggestions and help to contribute to our global repository of teaching, learning materials which are provided by academics for academics.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Imagine Cup 2012: Don't miss out!


    This year's Imagine Cup is already underway with teams preparing to compete for a chance to travel to Australia with their mentor for the worldwide finals in July.

    The last date for competitors to register and submit the software design preliminary summary is March 13. The last date to submit entries for Windows Phone Challenge and Windows Azure Challenge is also March 13.

    Local country/regional competitions and online finals begin March 22.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Developing Windows 8 applications for education



    If you’ve installed and started playing with Windows 8 Consumer Preview. You will be aware there is lot of interest in new applications which run in the Windows 8 Metro interface. Microsoft UK is organising a series of Windows 8 Developer Camps. The events are all free and run by developers for developers. The events will teach and demonstrate the technologies, tools and skills for developing Metro style apps, and you can put theses skills into practice on the day. So all you need to bring is your laptop, with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview installed.

    You have to register to get a place the first batch of events are already filling up with  and  if your already a Windows Phone developer you should consider migrating your Windows Phone app to Windows 8.

    These events aren’t specifically about developing Windows 8 applications for education, but everything which is taught and demonstrated will be relevant to developing specific applications for teaching, learning and research.

    When and where we’re running the Windows 8 Developer Camps

    (London, Manchester and Edinburgh) This tour focuses on creating broad awareness and excitement around the Windows 8 opportunities for developers.

    These are 1 day events which are delivered by our Windows 8 Champs with the goal of providing accelerated learning to Windows 8 application development.

    You can register for all of these events on the UK Tech.Days home page.

    London, Friday, 30th March 2012 – Register

    Manchester, Friday, 27th April 2012 – Register

    Edinburgh, Tuesday, 1st May 2012 – Register

    Windows 8 Camp – By UK Tech.Days

    Registration for these camps will be going live in late March at UK Tech.Days home page.

    London, Wednesday 8th May 2012, Thursday 10th May 2012 & Thursday 17th May 2012 – Coming Soon

    Birmingham, Monday 21st May 2012 – Coming Soon

    Manchester, Wednesday 23 May 2012 – Coming Soon

    Edinburgh, Friday 25th May 2012 – Coming Soon

    Why you should be developing Windows 8 applications for education

    If you’ve read this far, you might be wondering why you, or your colleagues, might want to spend a day learning about developing Windows 8 applications for education. Here’s my list of 3 key reasons:


    • The earlier you have an application in the Windows 8 marketplace, the more exposure you are going to get. Today the marketplace has a limited number of applications, so new ones are getting a high profile.
    • We are looking for a number of Academic and Student showcase applications so if you or your students are working on exciting/interested Windows 8 application let us know at
    • Our Education account teams are currently installing Windows 8 onto their laptops and starting to demonstrate it to their customers. If you create an education specific app, then its a good chance that the UK education team will be demonstrating your software to a lot of our early adopter customers in the next few months.
    • You’re demonstrating your innovation, to innovative customers (the people installing Windows 8 right now are the leading edge innovators)

    Even if you can't get to the workshops, do you know about the MSDN Windows 8 Metro App Development Centre?

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Moodle 2.0/2.2 OpenSource Solution for Azure



    The Microsoft CodePlex site is host to a wide range of open source projects and were pleased to announce the first beta release to allow hosting of Moodle 2.0 or Moodle 2.2 on the Windows Azure cloud service.

    As the project notes says, The MoodleBuild toolchain patches and packages a Moodle source code directory into a Windows Azure Package using the Azure SDK directly, instead of relying on third-party tools. This allows an easier way to update and customize Moodle, components and the Windows Azure SDK without the hassle of using outdated and incompatible versions.

    The advatages of using Azure is that it means you can avoid the hassle of having to deploy in-house servers and complex infrastructure, and instead deploy Moodle in the cloud. This is ideal for agile projects, or where you expect the demand for the system to be variable, as a huge benefit of the Azure platform is that ability to scale it up and down as you want, rather than having to build a system.

    Download the Moodle 2.0 resources for Windows Azure from CodePlex

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    UK Student’s – Develop portfolio’s demonstrate your skills and competences



    From our Windows Phone Camps we know a lot of students like writing Apps for mobile devices. Microsoft UK have put together a competition to help students demonstrate skills to potential employers. The Win a Windows Phone reward is only available to students aged 16 or over in the UK, we want to encourage students to produce real portfolio of work demonstrating skills, experiences and competences and building Mobile Apps which is potential used by 1000’s of users is a great way of doing this.

    We want students to design, develop, build and submit Windows Phones applications using the FREE Windows Phone development tools available on DreamSpark and learning materials on Faculty Connection.

    Students then simply need to upload their apps via App Hub into the Marketplace. For more details see the following Web Site (including T&Cs)

    For more information about Microsoft UK Student offers and services see

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 (RDS)


    There has been tremendous excitement with Microsoft Kinect within the robotics space signalling the potential opportunities that exist in transforming robots to low-cost mainstream consumer devices. RDS 4, with support from the Kinect sensor, aims to make it easier for developers to build applications, including those directed at personal robotics and consumer scenarios, both in hardware and in simulation.


    • With RDS 4 simulation tools, you don’t need physical hardware to develop a Kinect-based robot!
    • For hardware design, Microsoft has published the Robotics Developer Studio: Reference Platform Design specification for a standardized Kinect-based robot, to work with RDS 4. Parallax, Inc has manufactured a hardware kit based on the reference platform design specification which is available now.
    • RDS 4 also adds support for Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, XNA 4.0, and Silverlight 4.0.
    • Developers can use the tool to build commercial products based on the RDS 4 platform.

    Watch the following video for examples of what can be done with RDS 4:


    As before, it remains completely free, and it's also now compatible with the release version of the Kinect for Windows SDK so simply Download Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 4 (RDS 4)

    Product Information

    To understand more about the benefits that Robotics Developer Studio 4 (RDS 4) can offer to the robotic application developer, start here with background about the product.

    Learn More

    Whether you're using RDS 4 as a hobbyist, in education, as a professional roboticist, or within a research context; this section can help guide you through content that will help you get up to speed faster.


    Looking for product support options? Looking for knowledge from your peers? The Support section can help get you connected with the support you need.

    Get Started

    Looking for more information about prerequisites, installation, simulation, robot hardware and code packages? Getting started with RDS is easy with these step-by-step tips.

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcut keys combinations



    Last week I  attend a number of events, which involved discussions in relation to using Windows 8 with a Keyboard and mouse. I mentioned the fact that Microsoft had introduced a suite of keyboard shortcuts to help you manage its classic and metro interfaces.

    So here is the list of Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts

    For more details on Windows 8 see.

    Developing Apps for Windows 8

    Download Windows 8 Consumer Preview

    Building Windows 8 Blog

    Windows Store Blog

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Visual Studio 2011 BETA now available




    As many of you know, alongside the launch of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, we also released the beta for the next version of Visual Studio 11.   So whilst trying out the Windows 8 preview, there is No Better Time to Try Visual Studio 11 Beta, Team Foundation Server 11 Beta and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta are all now available and can be found here.

    The best development experience for Windows 8

    One of the goals for Visual Studio 11 is to help developers build stunning Metro style apps. When you install Visual Studio 11 Beta with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you’ll have an opportunity to try out the new tools, which are designed to help you, each step of the way. You can start off with one of the ready-made Metro style app templates, available in JavaScript, C++, C# or Visual Basic. Next, use Blend for Visual Studio 11 Beta to style and design your application, whether you’re using HTML or XAML. Debug locally, on the simulator, or attached to another device, and use the profiling and code analysis tools to monitor your app’s quality. Finally, once your app is ready and the Store becomes available, you’ll be able to use Visual Studio to package and upload your app to the Windows Store.

    Continuing to ALM maturity

    Visual Studio 11 Beta builds upon a strong legacy and with new collaboration capabilities to empower development teams, improved productivity through the core development experience resulting in delighted end-users with delivering modern, fast and fluid Metro-style, Windows Phone and Web apps. 

    There’s no solution on the market that can provide the depth and breadth of capability as Visual Studio across multiple platforms, and through Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) process maturity.  You can find out more about how your organisation approaches ALM, and then  make real improvements, by taking the ALM Assessment.  ALM as an approach to Development, to testing, and to IT and we hope it adds real value to you as well as open up your minds to talking about how then the relevant tools can support your move to ALM.

    What’s the new? 

    The new Visual Studio experience is built around three core pillars:

    · Delighting end users – end users, or customers, are the core reason any software project begins in the first place.  we know you want fast and fluid Windows experiences and web applications that feel modern and intuitive.  Business users want systems that simplify their day jobs, where the hard work is done for them. Visual Studio 11 Beta delivers these great experiences.

    · Development simplified – the most common, useful daily tasks are simplified with a new integrated development experience.  Focusing on simplification has enabled developers to save time and reduce risks, continuously enabling quality throughout the development process

    · Empowered teams – focusing on people, not processes.   Agile can be experienced throughout Visual Studio 11 Beta; we’ve taken the very best practices from agile and incorporated them throughout.  Every opportunity has been taken to eliminate waste and reuse and recycle code across projects.

    So Why Wait…

    We’re really excited about the release of Visual Studio 11 Beta, we are bringing the best experiences to developers for Windows 8 as well as building on the great work we started with Visual 2010 building towards a mature ALM Solution unparalleled in the market. Visual Studio, supported by DreamSpark, will continue to be the right choice for Academics and students who want to remain productive, efficient and skilled in modern and appropriate tools for employability.

    Download the VS11 Beta preview yourself and visit some of the key resources:-

    Read more details re Visual Studio

    Follow @VisualStudioUK on Twitter

  • Microsoft UK Faculty Connection

    Microsoft Technical Associate HTML5 exam now available



    About MTA

    Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) is an entry-level certification that validates the fundamental technology knowledge that students and other new entrants to IT need to start building a career in Microsoft technologies. MTA helps students explore career options in technology, prepare for advanced studies in IT, and is a stepping stone to MCTS exams. MTA is currently available to students, faculty, and staff of accredited academic institutions and to MCT’s.

    The MTA HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals exam is available!

    98-375 HTML5 Application Development Fundamentals has released through Certiport. This exam tests knowledge of fundamental HTML5 application development concepts, including understanding the platform, publishing an app to a store, choosing and configuring HTML5 tags to display graphics or play media, arranging UI content using CSS, etc. Candidates for this exam are seeking to prove core HTML5 client application development skills that will run on today’s touch-enabled devices (PCs, tablets, and phones). See what all is covered in the exam here.

    To see MTA commentary on LinkedIn, please join the MTA group at

    You can also see an announcement of the new exam on Born to Learn, posted by Kristi Svor, here.

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