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!
You only have 2 more days to apply for 1 of the 500 spots in the program available to professional developers and others who want to build amazing experiences using Kinect including artists, students, and other creators who have great ideas to bring to life using the new Kinect for Windows v2 sensor and SDK.
Selected participants will get a Beta device before we officially launch the new sensor next summer.
The program fee will be US$399 (or local equivalent) and offers the following benefits:
Applications must be completed and submitted by January 31, 2014, at 9:00 A.M. (Pacific Time)
Register here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/kinectforwindowsdev/newdevkit.aspx
For more details on Kinect for Windows see http://www.kinectforwindows.com
View More details »
Customers expect engaging online experiences on all devices, but that doesn't mean you need to sacrifice time, budget, and brand consistency by creating individual sites for every device. Many organisation have now implemented strategies for Responsive Design to create one site that delivers a consistent brand experience on any device or screen size.
The Web Application Template is a very powerful tool and you can achieve a great Windows 8 app experience utilising your existing responsive web design.
Here are some highlights of using the Web Application Template to take your responsive web site to a Windows 8 native app:
You can configure any RSS feed to update live tiles for your app or easily setup your website to push notifications and update live tiles even when the app isn't running.
View details »
You can integrate the share charm so your users can share content just like they would on any other Windows app
You can search Web Application Template-based apps the same way you would in any Windows app - via the search charm. Try it now
You can add navigation bars which help users navigation around your app, just like in any Windows app
You can embed CSS styles which get inserted over the existing styles on your website. This is great for adjusting the style of the site when it is presented as an app
You can hide name HTML element from your site. Great for removing the top navigation, footers etc which you do not need when the site is presented as an app
You can configure which urls remain inside the app and which ones open in the browser
The config file is just a starting point. The app is a regular HTML Windows app which you can develop further to meet your requirements.
It is very easy to get started with Web Application Template. All you need is a web site and a bit of information on how to configure the json file and you can create your first app.
Download the source code or VSIX installers from the Web Application Template codeplex site.
Microsoft Project Siena is a Windows 8 app which allows you to develop more Windows 8 apps, no programming skills required.
The process starts by placing, moving and resizing assorted objects on your page: images, videos, buttons, lists, checkboxes, whatever they might be.
You can link your visuals to data sources: RSS feeds, an Excel file, Sharepoint, Azure services and more.
Next comes the tricky task of making sure the app works as you expect. And this isn't particularly easy, at all. You don't need programming knowledge, but there are lots of options and settings you'll need to learn in order to get everything working properly (as well as entering Excel code for more complex logic).
Once it's all done then you can use the app yourself, or share it with others. See the details below for more details
Microsoft Project Siena (code name) is the beta release of a new technology for business experts, business analysts, consultants, and other app imagineers. Now, without any programming, you can create powerful apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes.
Here are some examples of what people have already been building:
Building Siena apps is as easy as editing a document. Place some visuals on a canvas. Hook them up to your data. Customize how your app looks and works. Then, if you need special logic and intelligence, write Excel-like expressions. You can use your app immediately, or share it with colleagues or the world.
With Siena, you can conceptualize, validate, and build your app ideas almost as quickly as you can come up with them. And if your needs change tomorrow, updating your app is no problem. Open it. Change it. Share it again, and you’re off to do business.
Siena works well with corporate and web data and media content: SharePoint lists, Excel and Windows Azure tables, RSS feeds, and the gamut of RESTful services.
Install Siena, watch one of the how-to videos, and then build the app that you’ve been imagining—in less than an hour.
Tutorials and Samples
Forums and Help
There has never been a better time to learn how to program. Modern programming languages, coupled with powerful and widely available development environments, provide an excellent place to work.
A wide range of operating environments, including mobile devices, cloud computing, robotics, embedded devices, and games, means that you can apply your programming-acquired skills in a huge range of different areas.
Programming lets you bring your ideas to life, and with the launch of Xbox for Education, Microsoft is trying to making programming more exciting and interesting for students of all ages. With Xbox for Education and Microsoft DreamSpark we’re getting students coding in C# and XNA and we hope to aspire tomorrow’s games developer and help students learn a lot about how games work and even create totally new ones of their own.
As part of its effort to further increase computational thinking and games development in young people, Microsoft is also introducing a discounted Xbox 360 programme to schools which includes a 3-Year DreamSpark subscription.
DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com provides the tools to help student’s designs and create applications and games for Microsoft Xbox, Windows Phone and Windows 8. DreamSpark equips students with professional developer software and resources to explore the world of computing and to develop their passions and skills – at home as well as at school. It also equips and supports teachers through the provision of software and lessons plans.
The Xbox for Education offer includes a 3-Year DreamSpark Standard subscription for the institution. To take advantage of this offer from Monday 27th January, schools and colleges should visit: www.Xboxforeducation.co.uk
Xbox for Education and the associated resources available at DreamSpark http://www.dreamspark.com and Microsoft Faculty Connection Resources http://www.microsoft.com/faculty provides teachers with resources from first principles to advanced techniques.
These resources will shows you how to use the C# language to solve problems and how C# is used within the Microsoft XNA Framework to create games. The games that you write using the resources available can run on a Microsoft Windows, an Xbox 360, or a Windows Phone.
C# is a popular programming language used by many software developers all over the world. The C# skills that you pick up from the Xbox in Education can also be used as the basis of a career in programming should you find that you really enjoy writing programs. Additionally the design of the C# language is very similar to C, C++, and Java you will find that your skills can be used with them too.
XNA is a framework which allows games to be written in C#. It provides all the “heavy lifting” concerned with creating a game framework. It drives the display, manages content, and provides an easy to use way of interacting with gamepads and other controllers. It also provides a common platform so that XNA games can run on a variety of different devices, games can also be distributed to Xbox users around the world using the Xbox Live service.
You won’t master DirectX/C++ game development in a day, but if you want some good resources to help you get rolling, there are two great resources you should check out:
Microsoft Virtual Academy offers a variety of live and recorded sessions on a variety of technologies. Tomorrow, Thursday December 5th, 2013. The session will be available on demand after the event, so if you miss the live date, you don’t have to miss out! Mickey Macdonald and Bryan Griffiths will be doing an introduction to C++/DirectX Game development.
Mickey & Bryan are well equipped to help you learn about building games from the ground up. They’ll cover topics such as game loops, input detection, basic shaders, and state management.
Mickey is an indie game developer and also a technical evangelist at Microsoft. Bryan is a video game design instructor at triOS college and has also worked on AAA title as well as smaller indie and web based games.
Watch the session on demand at Microsoft Virtual Academy
If you are interested in building a DirectX game for the Windows Store, check out the DirectX game learning template. You will find links to download, information about the template and the Getting Started Guide here.
The learning template extends the basic DirectX app template and adds additional components such as
Rapid2D is a fast, dynamic editor and game engine targeted specifically at Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.
Rapid2D takes care of all the complicated stuff such as the rendering pipeline, sound, managing image assets, and converting files to the proper format – all of this is done for you behind the scenes – but still gives you the raw power and control of native C++ code.
The Rapid2D editor is around a year old now, and has seen continued development and huge improvement since its initial release. Recently, the UI of the editor has been completely ripped out and redeveloped, giving it a much more professional look. The various UI components can also be undocked and customised, something which wasn’t possible before.
Rapid2D sports a sophisticated particle engine (complete with warp effects), one-click physics and custom colliders, and cool stuff like spatial sound. Probably the most attractive feature, though, is the ability to deploy the same game to both Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows RT and Windows Phone at the same time – with only one click. That’s just handy.
It may seem obvious, but Rapid2D creates projects which are fully compliant with Microsoft’s app submission policies.
And publish.. So you’ve made an awesome game, one which will turn heads and be that killer app you’ve always wanted to make. But suddenly, you’re hit with the thing that probably causes more frustration than anything else amongst app developers – it’s time to publish.
Luckily, if you’ve chosen to develop your game for the Windows 8 or Windows 8 Phone platform, publishing to the store is a really simple and stress-free process.
First things first, you will need to register for Developer account. Normally this costs $99 USD, but if you are lucky enough to be a DreamSpark or BizSpark member, you get registration completely free of charge.
Whether you are using Unity Pro or Unity Free, the add-ons for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store are available free of charge.
So why not give your app or game the maximum possible reach, by bringing it to the Windows stores. If you are a educator or student you can even get your store account for free through DreamSpark!
There are two great sessions to help you learn the ins and outs of taking a Unity game to the Windows store:
Mickey MacDonald and Bryan Griffiths show you how to bring your Unity games to the Windows and Windows Phone platforms. You’ll see how easy it is to customize your app to take advantage of the built-in Windows 8.1 features; for example, increase user interaction by using Share and bring users back to your game by updating Live Tiles with the latest high scores or gamer info. If you already have a Unity game in another store and you want to increase downloads/revenue by adding it to the Windows stores, this is where you’ll learn how to do it.
You will learn
Watch the event on demand at Microsoft Virtual Academy website
You can see all the sessions at the Developer Dojo page on Channel 9. Check out the Developer Dojo session on Unity and Gaming.
There are two sessions of interest to Unity developers.
Fun trivia fact: Unity fans might be interested to know that the dojo background used to display the presentation was actually built by the presenter using Unity.
Introduction to Code Kwondo/A Close look at Unity for Windows 8 and Windows Phone
In part 1 of Jonathan Rozenblit introduces Code Kwondo, Mickey MacDonald then takes you on a close look at Unity and how you can bring in your Unity assets into Visual Studio 2013 to create Windows 8 and Windows Phone versions of your games/apps.
Unity to Visual Studio to Windows and Windows Phone store
In part 2 of this Mickey MacDonald and Jonathan Rozenblit will show just how easy it is to go from Unity to Visual Studio to the Windows and Windows Phone Stores. Watch this session to get checklist of things to check and do before submitting your game/app for certification and his recap checklist of things to consider before getting deep down into design and code.
Calum Cawley was a member of Team Hermes in Ireland in 2010, in this guest post he shares his experience with Imagine Cup and how it changed his career path. Take it away Calum!
I first heard about the Imagine Cup back in 2010 when I was starting a project for the 3rd year of my Bachelors in Mechatronic Engineering. During a brainstorming session, a friend said to me “You should enter the Imagine Cup next year.” To which I replied “Yeah, ok. What is it?” At that time and for quite a while afterwards, I don’t think I fully grasped what I had signed myself up for.
That Conversation took place here, at the Institute of Technology, Sligo, Ireland:
After that passing comment from a friend, I went on to get a team, Team Hermes, and competed in the Irish Imagine Cup finals. And everything kind of snowballed from there! To say that the Imagine Cup has brought me on a journey is a massive understatement. After months of hard work on our project, my team went on to win our national finals in Dublin. From there, we travelled to the 2011 world finals in New York City.
Imagine Cup events tend to make students, who are mentally exhausted after months of hard work on their projects, feel like celebrities. Even at the Irish finals that year, the competition was held in Microsoft’s European Development Centre and we had a party in a corporate box of a huge soccer stadium. Getting a chance to see behind the scenes of a technology giant like Microsoft is a huge treat for any techie. I remember there was a whole floor of a building with blacked out windows because they were doing work on the Kinect for Xbox which was top secret at the time. To me, that was cool to see and I remember feeling, even before we were announced as winners, like all the hard work gone into our project had been worth it. Just for that experience. It kind of goes without saying, but New York just blew that out of the water!
An Imagine Cup world finals event is something that can’t really be put into words. The energy, the ideas, the people. It’s simply inspiring. This competition attracts people from all around the world who all believe they can change the world with technology, people who are determined to make their mark on the world, and the Imagine Cup gives them an excuse to do it. This might make it sound like the Imagine Cup is just a load of delusional students thinking they can save the world and become millionaires with a few hundred lines of code. But is that really such a bad thing? A lot of today’s tech giants were founded by students, including Microsoft, so really the Imagine Cup just gives you that little bit of credibility that lets you call yourself a tech start-up founder rather than a mad scientist!
So, my team went on to win 1st place in New York. From the moment I first heard about the Imagine Cup to then, my life had been frantic. Every spare moment of each team member had been poured into our project. Obviously we had done something right during that time, we won, but it was only after then that the madness really started…
Over the next few months it was just like surfing a wave of press, publicity and conferences; presenting to thousands of people at conferences, talking to press from all around the world and even appearing on Irish TV. At that stage, the only thing that seemed reasonable to do was to start a company to commercialise our project. So we did! In Febuary 2012, Clevermiles was founded. The Hermes project, in the space of less than 18 months, had gone from a college in the west of Ireland, half way around the world and back again to land in Dublin at Startup Bootcamp, a start-up accelerator.
If I had to describe myself concisely, I’d have to say I was a petrolheaded geek. My passions are cars, technology and ideally, I love working on some intersection of the two. I started with the Hermes project as an excuse to play with cars as part of my degree, I pursued that passion and it had landed me as co-founder of a company before I had even graduated. However, I took it one step further. I realised pretty quickly that having my own company wasn’t for me. My passion is the technology, but when you are one of three people in the company you aren’t just an engineer; you are the salesman, the accountant and the graphic designer. Some people love that, I didn’t. So, by the time I had graduated, I had won awards for my project, presented it to an audience of 15,000, started a company and left it! That experience made looking for a job pretty easy, but I managed to find one that fit me like a glove.
I currently work for MIRA Ltd, in England. We are an independent vehicle engineering consultancy, with over 100km of test tracks on site we work with companies from all over the world to shape the future of transport. Just a year before I took a job here, I didn’t even know places like this existed. Now I work on research projects around the next generation of vehicles, including self-driving cars. Having the experience of the Imagine Cup behind me allowed me to punch above my weight when it came to looking for jobs, my degree alone definitely wouldn’t have even got me an interview with the places I really wanted to work for. The fact I had won did raise a few eyebrows, but the thing that interviewers were always interested in was the soft skills that working on a project for this competition brings you. In a nutshell, the kind of people who work in a team on something like an Imagine Cup project are the kind of people that companies want and these skills will put you ahead of the other people with technical skills just as good as yours who applied for the same job.
I liked it so much I came back as a mentor. If you haven’t guessed by now, this competition left quite an impression on me, I actually do love it. In April 2013, I went down to London to the UK finals and I met some guys who had developed a phone app called SoundSynk. They won that day and they would be going to St. Petersbug, Russia in July for the 2013 world finals. A few weeks later I got a message from Ed, one of the guys on the team, asking if I’d be able to mentor them. After a few months of working with the team, we were sitting in the glamorous Alexandrinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg nervously sitting through the awards ceremony to find out if they’d won anything. They had. They had come 1st! It was slightly surreal to see them up on stage, collecting their giant cheque and going through the same emotional rollercoaster I had been on, on the other side of the world, two years ago. I was like a proud parent! (Of three people barely younger than me and one person older than me). It was like everything had come full circle and yet it seemed like no time at all since I hadn’t even heard of the Imagine Cup.
I said that this competition had brought me on a journey, and it has, both figuratively and literally. I’ve ended up getting paid to do the things I would want to do as a hobby anyway, something which I only dreamed of before I started on this amazing journey. All it takes to get started on a journey like this is a “why not?” attitude. If you have an idea you believe will change the world, then go out and get a team and with enough perseverance, you’ll end up with something awesome.
Calum Cawley on LinkedIn
ImagineCup 2014 Competition
This week we announced our next developer conference, Build 2014, which will take place April 2 to April 4 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Last year a number of UK Educators attended and I had lots of emails from the those who simply were unsuccessful in registering for the event.
SO PLEASE Save the date and mark your calendar for registration, which opens at 9 a.m. PT on Jan. 14 at www.buildwindows.com.
Build is a time when we share the latest products, platform advances, tools and offerings, all of which come together to create unmatched apps and scenarios.At this year’s event, we’ll talk about what’s next for Windows, Windows Phone, Windows Azure, Windows Server, Visual Studio and much more.
So keep an eye on www.buildwindows.com, and follow https://twitter.com/bldwin
Please be ready to register on Jan 14 2014 tickets will go fast, and join us for three days in April of immersive presentations delivered by the engineers behind our devices and services.
So last week I took part in the hour code to teach computer science basics to every student, CSEdWeek is a an event which runs from December 9 to 15.
Code.org, a new non-profit organization, initiated one of CSEdWeek’s prime events: the “Hour of Code.” The event aimed to introduce 10 million students of all ages to computer science ideas and tools.
This year my focus was building games and apps using Touchdevelop.com and the excellent resources from UK Microsoft Partners In Learning Teachers
Simon Johnson @clcsimon http://touchdevelop.weebly.com/
David Renton @drenton72 http://drenton72.wordpress.com
Ray Chambers @Lanky_Boi_Ray http://raychambers.wordpress.com
We held a number events with students of all ages teaching them coding for one hour by using TouchDevelop. Touchdevelop is as ideal as it a web based product so works on any device and is FREE.
I hope our effort into the The Hour of Code helped demonstrate to parents, teachers, and students how accessible coding can be and, at a deeper level, we hope it will drive demand for expanded computer science courses and activities in secondary schools.
Read more from Microsoft Research Hour of Code Activities…
Learn more about exciting teaching tools.
· Hour of Code
· TouchDevelop’s Hour of Code page
· Kodu Game Lab
· .NET Gadgeteer
· Building your first windows 8 or Windows Phone app using Touchdevelop
· Get all your developer tools for FREE including Visual Studio Professional via DreamSpark
Here is a quick list of the 2014 Imagine Cup Challenge Competitions for more details see http://www.imaginecup.com
Team Competition - Project Blueprint Challenge
Competition Year: 2014
Active Dates (GMT):
Mon, 28 Oct 2013 00:00 - Tue, 17 Dec 2013 23:59
You're going someplace new. Make your own map. You've got a great idea for a software project. But don't start coding yet – first, take the time for a deep dive and build a project blueprint. Who will your users be? What are your top features? And finally, how will you get your project to market and make enough money for you to support it?
Team Competition - Apps for Office Challenge
Mon, 2 Dec 2013 00:01 - Wed, 30 Apr 2014 23:59
Apps for Office is a platform for developers to create cloud-hosted web apps that work inside Microsoft Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint, Project, and SharePoint. These apps work seamlessly within the installed, desktop versions of Office 2013 and in the Office 365 cloud apps, adding new features, tools, and content to the software used by millions worldwide.
Team Competition - Visual Studio Online Boost
Fri, 15 Nov 2013 00:01 - Tue, 20 May 2014 23:59
Every 2014 World Semifinalist team is eligible to win the Visual Studio Online Boost. When you’re accepted as a World Semifinalist, you’ll automatically be entered in this contest. We’ll ask you to take a screenshot of your Visual Studio Online setup to demonstrate how you’re using these powerful tools at their very best.
Team Competition - Games Competition
Tue, 10 Sep 2013 00:00 - Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00
The Imagine Cup Games Competition is a global contest for the best new student games and the winning team will take home $50,000 (US). Create a desktop or tablet game using Windows, or a mobile game using Windows Phone, or a browser game using Windows Azure and you could win big at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle 2014.
Team Competition - Windows & Windows Phone Challenge
Wed, 27 Nov 2013 00:01 - Wed, 30 Apr 2014 23:59
In this contest we want you to get out there and find someone in your community to partner with. It could be a family business, a restaurant, a new startup, an artist or musician you know, or a charity working to make a difference. Use your networks, find someone to partner with, and make your case: you’ll develop a set of Windows & Windows Phone apps that meet their needs and both of you come out ahead.
Team Competition - Innovation Competition
Tue, 10 Sep 2013 00:00 - Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:00
The Imagine Cup Innovation Competition is a global contest for the best new innovative software and the winning team will take home $50,000 (US). Create a desktop or tablet project using Windows, or a mobile project using Windows Phone, or a browser project using Windows Azure and you could win big at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle 2014.
Team Competition - World Citizenship Competition
The Imagine Cup World Citizenship Competition is a global contest for the best new software to address social issues and the winning team will take home $50,000 (US). Create a desktop or tablet project using Windows, or a mobile project using Windows Phone, or a browser project using Windows Azure and you could win big at the Imagine Cup World Finals in Seattle 2014
Individual Competition - Brain Games 2.0 Challenge
Tue, 5 Nov 2013 00:01 - Wed, 30 Apr 2014 23:59
Can you beat our toughest trivia challenge yet? From November through April win monthly cash prizes as you follow the Imagine Cup Starman on his journey through time and space to explore the history of Microsoft!
Each month there will be two quizzes on a different theme. The student with the best score and the fastest completion time across both quizzes is our winner for the month and gets $1,000.
Even if you don’t win the monthly contest, you’ve still got a shot. When Brain Games 2.0 concludes in April 2014, we’ll choose one student at random from all those who completed a quiz and award that person $5,000!