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!
Guest post from Kimu Sulopuisto, team leader and game designer for Starcrossed
The Finnish student team Kind of a Big Deal was representing Northern Europe in the game development competition Dare to be Digital 2012.
I’m the team leader and game designer, and our game is called Starcrossed. When we were invited to Oslo, Norway for the qualifiers, we started with a rough concept for a 2D mobile platformer game where the player character uses a bazooka to launch himself from asteroid to another while avoiding the extreme temperatures of outer space.
We even brought the judges a Windows Phone and a playable version of Starcrossed to show them our idea. It was very barebones, but along with a fluent pitching presentation it was enough to impress the judges and qualify us to take part in Dare to be Digital 2012 in Scotland.
In the Dare competition we had nine weeks to bring Starcrossed to life. We went through much iteration in regards to the movement mechanics, art style, scoring system, level design and much more.
The mentoring we received from industry professionals (Ruffian, Cobra Mobile and Jagex to name a few) was invaluable and helped us shape the game into a cohesive product. Many also wanted to see the game published, and so we set ourselves the goal to have Starcrossed in the Windows Phone Marketplace by the end of the year.
As for the competition, it came to a close in the Protoplay event where the participating teams got to showcase their games to an audience of more than ten thousand visitors. We were announced as one of the three winning teams and returned home with a BAFTA “Ones to watch” nomination!
We then spent the autumn polishing our product and creating more content. The end result was a fast and whimsical space platformer game that attempts to charm with its polished presentation and simple mechanics. Now we have published Starcrossed on the Marketplace, and it’s been met with very positive end-user feedback. This isn’t the last you’ll see of Starcrossed, either. Other mobile devices are likely to get their version early 2013.
Check out Starcrossed on the Windows Phone Marketplace: http://www.windowsphone.com/s?appid=3de88f3f-5005-4019-be78-c39f8172d39e and check out this video
As the cloud transforms IT, the need for qualified IT professionals has never been more urgent, and certification has never been more valuable. Registration is now open for Certified Career Day, an interactive LIVE event for IT professionals.
Attendees will join a Live Industry Panel Broadcast comprised of industry experts who will discuss how the cloud is redefining IT recruitment and the growing need for certification. Then, Microsoft Product Specialists will host Live Product Sessions—in-depth depth discussions on Windows Server 2012 and SQL Server 2012 that will help attendees learn how to prepare to get ahead of the inevitable shift to cloud-based technologies.
So do you…
Want to be a leader in Cloud technologies?
Need training and tools you can use now?
Join us for Certified Career Day on March 12 at 8:30AM PDT 16:30 GMT
Registartion and further details here http://www.certifiedcareerday.com
Last year around 3,000 developers and IT pros joined us for a week of events designed to inspire and inform, showcasing the latest Microsoft technologies, products and platform investments.
This year, Tech.Days is expanding. Alongside the in-person events, we're running real-time webinars and supporting events run by the developer and IT pro community.
You'll be among the first to hear breaking news; see live developer demos from Microsoft experts; meet key players in the Microsoft team and be wowed by the phenomenal pace of the changes taking place in software and hardware.
Browse below for more details and subscribe to our newsletters for further updates. You can also connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We love Windows 8. The live tiles and the ease of operation makes it a magical operating system to work with…….. We are extremely proud of the Rapid2D engine and want as many developers, both professional and novice, to discover all the benefits of using it.” David Fletcher, Rapid 2D
This engine was initially developed by Rapid2D in support of the Guinness World Record Gamejam we did back in September last year. It was created to assist the Game Jam participants to rapidly develop their Windows 8 games within C++/DX. Since then the Rapid2D team have continued to develop and evolve the game engine to include Windows Phone 8 support and to come bundled with a series of plug-in and game templates.
For those who attend the Windows In Academia event last month and had the opportunity to see Rapid2D in action here is a copy of David’s presentation.
If your interested in Rapid2d simply visit Rapid2.com and check out the interview in this months Develop magazine which talks about the Rapid 2D game engine as they look to launch their Professional licensed version early next week with full support for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
The free version, which is currently available, is primarily aimed at the hobbyist or student so the perfect tool for C++ curricula and getting students looking to develop their programming understanding and capabilities of C++ and Windows 8.
The licensed Pro version to be launched later this month will look to support more advanced game developers and small indie studios as they look to develop game titles for both Windows platforms.
Rapid2D is being extensively now used by Train2Game which have over 9,000 game dev students they have enrolled on their courses and a number of gaming Universities in the UK are now utilising the engine to enhance teaching and students ability to create real portfolio's of apps which are available in the Windows 8 Stores. Rapid2D also have plans to take the engine Global and build a large community around it to help generate 3rd party plug-in and gaming templates. It helps that they have over 40,000 game dev students enrolled on their courses across the World so have a good starting point as they not only look to build that community but also integrate the game engine within their Degree and Masters courses on games development and encourage their students to develop a portfolio of game apps on the Windows platforms which demonstrate their skills to potential employers.
So how is this being used… today there are over 300 game apps in the UK Windows 8 Store!
Additionally Rapid2d recently ran a competition, where they looked for the Rapid 2D engine to be used by UK game dev students in developing and publishing Windows 8 game app titles. Rapid2d have had over 150 teams enter the competition and utilise the game engine to develop a range of game apps.
Windows 8 offers unparalleled new opportunities for application developers to build and sell apps world-wide via the Windows Store. In this event, we'll deliver developer-level, demo-driven sessions that give you an accelerated entry into what it means to design, develop and publish exciting, modern, polished, world-ready applications for next-generation devices running Windows 8.
Were hosting a special one day event for UK Students only at
1. Beginners Welcome.
2. A familiarity with .NET development and Visual Studio would be advantageous but not required.
Register Now to avoid disappointment
Agenda (subject to change):
09:30 – 10:00 - Registration Opens
10:00 – 11:00 - Windows 8 for Modern App Development
11:00 – 12:00 - Metro Design Language
12:00 – 12:30 - Lunch
12:30 – 13:30 - "Metro Style" Apps - The Power of the Device
13:30 – 14:30 - “Metro Style" Apps - The Power of the Cloud
14:30 – 15:00 - From Idea to Store – Next Steps on the Journey
Design and build your own electronic devices http://www.gadgeteering.net
NET Gadgeteer is a platform for creating your own electronic devices using a wide variety of hardware modules and a powerful programming environment. Students with little or no electronics background can design and build devices that sense and react to their environments using components such as switches, displays, buzzers, sensors and more. Using cables these various modules are plugged into a mainboard which is programmed to make everything work together. Devices can be programmed using Visual Basic or Visual C#.
How to learn .NET Gadgeteer
.NET Gadgeteer can be incorporated into the teaching of programming at GCSE and A-Level, or introduced in extra-curricular clubs at KS3. Teaching materials for .NET Gadgeteer are available at http://www.gadgeteering.net
These are structured around key programming principles including selection, iteration, arrays and file handling, so that students can learn all the key concepts they need whilst having fun!
What to buy
.NET Gadgeteer is open source hardware that is available from a number of manufacturers. For our Visual Basic teaching materials one suggestion is to buy a Fez Hydra kit, and also a small display, SD Card module and button. However other mainboards can be used just as well. Gadgeteer components are available from the following manufacturers/suppliers: GHI Electronics, Love Electronics, SyTech, Proto-Pic, Cool Components and Mouser Electronics, amongst others. Students can work in groups of four to build a Gadgeteer project.
How students benefit
.NET Gadgeteer is a motivating environment for teaching programming and is ideal for collaborative projects, where students share out tasks and work together to build a device of their own invention. Crucially, it also gives them a better understanding of how the devices and technology all around them work, as well as the skills to create their own.
Heading to BETT http://www.bettshow.com
NET Gadgeteer can offer exciting possibilities for teaching computer programming, electronics and computer-aided design. Once the device is built and programmed, a housing can be built for the device to enable ease of use, which also helps students to learn about human-computer interaction.
If your attending BETT See .NET Gadgeteer in action at the AQA stand and for more information contact: Dr Sue Sentance, Schools outreach for .NET Gadgeteer, E-mail: email@example.com, http://www.gadgeteering.net
We are inviting educators to complete a short survey to help us better understand how the DreamSpark programme is supporting skills development, learning outcomes and career potential in your institution.
We would like to understand what range of applications and tools have been of use, how often they are used and how effective they have been in supporting skills development.
Most importantly, we would like to understand how effective access to DreamSpark has been in supporting 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.
We are only looking for a few minutes of your time and all responses remain anonymous.
The educator questionnaire is at http://nerp241b2.questionpro.com
IT Administrators can control the availability and functionality of Windows Store to client computers based on the business policies of their enterprise environment.
I have had a number of queries how Educational establishments can limit or manage Windows 8 Clients access to the store, the following TechNet articles cover some of the frequently asked questions which I have had in relation to managing aspects of client access to the Windows Store in an educational or enterprise environment.
Today at BUILD we announced the availability of the Windows Phone 8.0 SDK.
- Announcing the new Windows Phone 8 Developer Platform by Kevin Gallo - http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2012/10/30/announcing-the-new-windows-phone-8-developer-platform.aspx
- Windows Phone 8 SDK at the Download Center - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35471
- Updated Windows Phone Dev Center - http://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us
- What’s new in Windows Phone 8 - http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/windowsphone/develop/jj206940(v=vs.105).aspx
- Visual Studio Blog – Introducing Windows Phone SDK 8.0 - http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudio/archive/2012/10/30/introducing-windows-phone-sdk-8-0.aspx
- .Net Framework Blog – Announcing the release of the .NET Framework for Windows Phone 8 - http://blogs.msdn.com/b/visualstudio/archive/2012/10/30/introducing-windows-phone-sdk-8-0.aspx
- Windows Phone Blog – Meet Windows Phone 8 - http://blogs.windows.com/windows_phone/b/windowsphone/archive/2012/10/29/meet-windows-phone-8.aspx
- Windows Phone 8 Developer Videos - http://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us/featured/videos
- Windows Phone Dev Center Twitter Feed - https://twitter.com/wpdev
- Windows Phone Twitter Feed - https://twitter.com/windowsphone
Download Windows Phone 8 now
The Windows Phone SDK 8.0 has been released to the web and is immediately available for download via MSDN Subscriber Downloads, as well as via the Microsoft Download Center using the following links:
- Direct link: http://wpdev.ms/wpsdkdl
Due to my role, I have interactions with Universities across the length and breadth of the UK. I have the great fortune of seeing best practices and some truly transforming faculties, departments and schools. From my visits I get to hear and learn from educators and I’m always inspired and amazed with the activity which is being undertaken. However innovation in education is a global issue and something we all must work to solve and identifying innovative teaching practices and the impact that they can have on student outcomes is a great place to start.
There is now a real need to transform education to align with the realities of life and work in the 21st Century. This is not just about the effective use of technology but about developing the future generation to be deeply engaged in the learning process and taking the initiative to learn and to continue to have the desire, passion and want to learn throughout their career.
As part of Microsoft’s commitment to education transformation, Microsoft have initiated the Innovative Teaching and Learning (ITL) Research project http://www.itlresearch.com
The purpose of ITL is to contribute information and policy insights on where and how effective education transformation is taking place around the world. ITL Research is a multiyear global research program designed to investigate the factors that promote the transformation of teaching practices and the impact those changes have on students’ learning outcomes across a broad range of country contexts.
Microsoft is working with global and local education leaders such as UNESCO and local Ministries of Education and will be sharing data and results openly with all research partners and with the broader academic education community.
The goal of ITL is to recognise the importance of innovative teaching practices, inspire others to commitment to scaling innovation and creating a foundation for holistic education transformation. Another exciting component of this project is the opportunity for individual schools and leaders to take part. Microsoft’s Partners in Learning School Research is a self-assessment survey research system that helps educators and school leaders understand and measure innovative teaching practices that develop the skills students need for life and work in the 21st Century.
The online tool is an incredibly powerful tool that will give individual leaders an opportunity to measure and identify innovative teaching practices and compare and measure against the global survey results.
The process is also very easy to administer…
1. A school signs up on this website. 2. A administrator from the school sends out the survey to all educators and leaders. 3. Each educator and leader takes a 15 to 20 minute online survey about innovative teaching practices. 4. Once the surveys have been completed, a research report based on the responses is sent to the administrator within 24 hours, who can then share it. 5. The report shows measures of innovative teaching practices and examples of innovative teaching practices. 6. The surveys can be repeated each year to track and measure progress.
Visit http://www.pilsr.com to learn more about this project and how your school can take part.
Also you can watch the video below which provides an overview.