Sunday, August 28, 2011

Interesting Links 29 August 2011

Hurricane Irene was the big news on the east coast of the US and parts of the Caribbean last week. Oh and there was a surprising east coast earthquake last week as well. Quite some week. But I still managed to collect some links to share. If you were in the storm area I hope you weathered the storm.


The new  Microsoft in Education blog aggregates blog posts from a number of the education related blogs by Microsoft people and teams. This blog is one of them but there are many more. From this blog I found a link to a post on the Office in Education blog called A teacher’s thoughts on Windows SkyDrive (video)  If you don’t use SkyDrive for cloud storage and sharing with others check out that video.

The latest in a series of videos by the people at Channel 9 focusing on tours of the Microsoft campus show how the Building 4 remodel made room for The Garage. Don’t miss the special Coca Cola machine they have there. Pretty much every flavor Coca Cola has in one machine.

For some kids, back to school means back to cyberbullying. Microsoft is helping to Stop Cyberbullying – Read more about it on the official Microsoft blog.

I found this post at the Communications of the ACM blog pretty interesting - Password Policies are Getting Out of Control  There are lots of discussion points there especially around the trade offs between ease of use and security.

Ed Donahue collected a bunch of links to Windows Phone 7 icons libraries. If you are developing for Windows Phone 7 you may find these links particularly useful

Check this video out -- Microsoft U.S. Education CTO, Cameron Evans interviews Johnny Kissko,  Johnny is doing some interesting things with Kinect in the classroom. Speaking of Johnny be sure to check out his Kinect in Education website.


Start with this blog post titled  Kinect in Education: How to Create Content-Relevant Games

Last but not least, from @SpringboardBlog a blog post by one of our summer high school interns - Windows Phone Student App of the Week: Free Dictionary


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interesting Links 20 August 2011

No out of the area travel for me last week. It was nice to sleep in my own bed every night. This is not to say that I wasn’t busy. I had some meetings with the people at FIRST robotics for example. They are doing some pretty interesting things with technology these days. They are a Microsoft shop and their whole operation runs on Microsoft software including their impressive field management system for their competitions. It’s always exciting to hear what they are up to. I also kept my eyes open for interesting things to share and have a reasonable list again this week. Hopefully you find some of it useful.

Microsoft runs a small high school internship program mostly in the Redmond WA home office. Recently Hélène Martin (aka @purplespatula on Twitter) wrote about her student’s summer as Microsoft High School Interns 

In a change of pace from strictly computer science related things here is a post on Microsoft software for various college majors  Just in time for back to school and lots of it relevant for high school students as well.

Great minds need great notebooks. See how OneNote could've helped make a better light bulb A fun little look at how OneNote can be used.

New Book: FRIENDLY F# through Game Development and XNA Looks interesting for people interested in this powerful functional language and game development.

Super-Detailed First (MashUp)Windows Phone 7 App Walkthrough –this post by Randy Guthrie shows one easy way to create Windows Phone apps.

New Blog Post from one of our Microsoft high school interns is  Windows Phone Student App of the Week: Liverpool Chants Lite, Juventus Chants Lite, Barca Chants Lite These are football (soccer for us Yanks) chants for various British teams.

Nice article about a pilot teaching programming in High Schools using Microsoft .NET Gadgeteer. This hardware is coming soon and it looks like it will find a place in a lot of schools over time.

Official Building Window 8 twitter account at @BuildWindows8 The official Building Windows 8 blog is at So if you are interested in keeping up with the official news on Windows 8 now you know where to look.

There is a new computer science teacher blog out.  Check out Doug Bergman's new blog. He's an innovative educator & part time alligator catcher. I met Doug this summer and am enjoying his posts so far.

You’re seen all sorts of work cloud generators in the past but how about one that works on source code? Well there is a Source Code Word Cloud Generator out now. I’ve only played with it a bit but I see some interesting potential here. And some fun.

Don’t forget about Windows Phone Mango Jump Start developer training August 23-24! Register for LIVE & FREE expert-led training from Rob Miles & Andy Wigley. I understand it will be recorded but the video will not be available for a couple of weeks. So if you are in a hurry to learn try and attend while it is live.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ready or Not–New School Year About To Start

Well according to my Twitter feed a lot of schools in the US south are back to school. Teachers are reporting for duty and students are expected any day now. My post from 2007 called What Do You Do the First Day of Class is getting a surprising amount of traffic. Posts with programming projects (that link brings up a list of posts tagged for projects or visit my Interesting Projects–A Collection post) are also getting more than the usual amount of traffic. So I’m pretty sure that a lot of people are getting ready for the new school year. Maybe you are all ready for school. Maybe you are not. Maybe you are one of those people who just never starts preparing. But ready or not students are going to be showing up soon. Are you excited?

If you do nothing else I urge you to get excited. If you can’t actually be excited, summer is after all hard to give up, please prepare to act excited for your student’s sake. As the expression goes “fake it until you make it.” Students are going to assume that if the teacher isn’t excited about what they are teaching that they don’t need to be excited either. That can be a poor way to start off  the school year.

I’m excited about the new school year. I hope to visit more schools and talk to more students than ever before. If you are in the New England area and would like a guest speaker let me know and we’ll see what we can work out. Perhaps for Computer Science Education Week? (see a recent CSTA blog post on CS Ed Week for more ideas and the CS Ed Week website for resources.)  This can be a great week for expanding knowledge of and interest in your school’s computer science courses.

How are you fixed for software? For you labs make sure you have a subscription to MSDN AA for great professional level software from Microsoft. And make sure you sign up your school for DreamSpark. More software than even you geekest student can use all of – and for FREE! Doesn’t get much better than free. The image below only shows some of what is available.


Curriculum resources? Visit the Faculty Connection page and load up on free curriculum resources. XNA for game development? We’ve got it! And more coming. Expression Studio for web design courses? We’ve got that too! Kodu for the very young? Got it! Small Basic for middle school and high school? Got that too! In fact check out this post for Microsoft software for various college majors Just in time for back to school and much of it useful in high school as well as college.

There are a lot of resources out there and a lot of them are free. Take advantage of as many as you need or can use. Let’s get students excited! Have a great school year everyone!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Windows Phone Development Training Online

SO you probably know that a new version of the Windows Phone software is coming very soon. If you are planning on teaching phone development you may also be thinking “I wonder how I can get some training on this?” Well you are in luck. Online training is coming!

“Mango” Jump Start! Aug. 23-24! Pass it on…

That's right, Microsoft MVPs Rob Miles and Andy Wigley are back! Microsoft Learning hosted a Windows Phone 7 Jump Start (plus an update course) last year and it was an absolute smash. Mobile application developers raved about the fast-paced, demo-rich approach, the timeliness of real-world content on new technology, as well as the engaging and often-times humorous delivery. Now that "Mango" has made such a huge splash, they have put together another great course.

This two-day live virtual class, Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start, is specially tailored for developers looking to build cool applications and games for the new Windows Phone Mango Platform.

Dates: August 23-24, 2011
Time: 8:00am – 4:00pm PST
Duration: 8 hours/day, including hour lunch break
Registration Link:

Mango is an important leap forward in Microsoft’s overall mobile strategy and the developer community has taken notice. Now is the time to embrace the “tile-and-app” UI and reap the rewards Mango provides your development team and user community. Here's an overview of what Rob and Andy will cover:

Day OneAugust 23, 2011 | 8am-5pm PDT | Live online training
• Building Windows Phone Apps with Visual Studio 2010
• Silverlight on Windows Phone – Introduction
• Silverlight on Windows Phone – Advanced
• Using Expression to Build Windows Phone Interfaces
• Windows Phone Fast Application Switching
• Windows Phone Multi-tasking & Background Tasks
• Using Windows Phone Resources (Bing Maps, Camera, etc.)

Day Two August 24, 2011 | 8am-5pm PDT | Live online training
• Application Data Storage on Windows Phone
• Using Networks with Windows Phone
• Windows Azure and Windows Phone
• Notifications on Windows Phone
• XNA for Windows Phone
• Selling a Windows Phone Application