Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Education. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

iXplain helps you explain, recording your voice, screen and pen (think "Killer Surface Pro app for anyone teaching or explaining about anything")

Australian Teachers Blog - Creating Tutorials using the Record Voice and Pen App

This post follows on with our focus on sharing tools which can help you make engaging tutorials for your classroom.

If you’re currently using a Windows 8 device and need to create a tutorial that records your voice, writing or annotations, it’s time to master the Record Voice and Pen App.

Since first exploring Record Voice and Pen, I have put it in my must-have apps for Windows 8 in Education. It is such a simple and effective app that suits a variety of skill levels. I also like that you are given the ability to save your video onto your device, then share it through whichever platform you currently use in your classroom. It is a great tool for the Flipped Classroom.

Some handy uses for tutorials made with this app include:

  • Flipped Classroom style tutorials
  • Mathematic tutorials showing working out
  • Explanations of diagrams in Science or Geography
  • Discussions of Sport positions and movement
  • Script writing for Foreign Languages studies
  • Students creating their own tutorials for each other
  • Students creating presentations which describe images, diagrams or concepts


Step 1

Install the Record Voice and Pen app onto your Windows 8 device. You can access Record Voice and Pen via the Windows Store.

Step 2

Watch video...

Step 3

Plan the tutorial that you would like to create. Here are some questions to help you plan your tutorial


Step 4

Use record Voice and Pen to create your tutorial. Save and upload to your video to YouTube, Vimeo, or your own online space for students to access it.

Optional Activity

Share with your peers for feedback to help you improve your tutorial style.

Record Voice and Pen is a great way to make classroom tutorials more engaging and memorable whilst also having a resource for future use. So why not have a go and share your experiences in the comments section below.




Explaining something in a presentation or a classroom is easy when you can use your voice, use images, and can annotate on them, all at one go. In iXplain you can record all this at once. It creates a video file which can be shared through email, Facebook or YouTube, or used in a presentation or a classroom.


  • Recording of your voice and pen drawings at the same time

  • Import images

  • Export recordings to video files (mp4)

Supported processors

x86, x64, ARM


This and the Surface Pro and you've got a cool, fairly inexpensive, teaching tool... (and the app's price of Free doesn't hurt).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Visit the MIT OpenCourseWare eBook Shelf (Computer, Nanoelectronics, Languages and much more)

Beyond Search - Free MIT Textbooks

More free books! On its blog, Open Matters, MIT OpenCourseWare shares a long list of materials on its OCW Bookshelf. This would be one to both explore now and note for future reference. The page’s introduction tells us:


The resources touch on a wide range of subjects taught at MIT. ...

Open Matters - OCW Bookshelf

MIT OpenCourseWare shares the course materials from classes taught on the MIT campus. In most cases, this takes the form of course documents such as syllabi, lecture notes, assignments and exams.

Occasionally, however, we come across textbooks we can share openly. This page provides an index of textbooks (and textbook-like course notes) that can be found throughout the OCW site.  (Note that in most cases, resources are listed below by the course they are associated with.)






This site alone should keep your brain busy for months, if not years...


Related Past Post XRef:
Five Online Education Resources (from colleges you may recognize)

Academic Earth - Free and easy access to full video courses and lectures (from Yale, UCLA, Harvard, Berkley, MIT, Stanford and more)
Stanford Web Application class available online free (and more in their OpenClassroom too)
Free online class, "Introduction to Databases," coming this fall from Stanford University
Open Learning Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, January 06, 2014

Speaking of ducks... The Rubber Duck edition of the Yellow Book (That learning to program with c# book), a 2014 refresh, Kindle version and a new cover - C# Yellow Book


The C# Yellow Book is used by the Department of Computer Science in the University of Hull as the basis of the First Year programming course. You can download your own copy from here.

We give away a free printed copy to students when they arrive in the department, and we also give a copy away to anyone who comes to see us on an Open Day. This is the 2014 version of the book, the Rubber Duck edition.

The material in the Yellow Book is Copyright (c) Rob Miles and the University of Hull 2014. If you find any mistakes in the text (it has been known) then I would be most grateful if you could send me an email to so that I can put it right.


Kindle Version

There is now a Kindle version of the text available. You can find it here.


I directed a co-worker to Rob's site and this book today and noticed that there was very recent, days old, refresh and a very reasonable kindle version. How reasonable? $0.99! Yeah, the entire book for less than a buck. Now that's a deal! (Yes, I bought one and sent it too all my devices... ;)

Speak of Ducks, you ask? If you have to ask, you didn't get it... ;)


Related Past Post XRef:
C# Yellow Book 2012 RTW - Want to learn how to program, using C#, Yellow's your color...
The C# Yellow Book gets a 2011 refresh...
New C# Yellow Book version available - Yeah, big, yellow, ebook, 197 pages, C#, free…

The Blue Book gets Mango'd! Rob Miles' "Windows Phone Programming in C#" Blue Book updated for Windows Phone 7.1(5) And so do the lab's and demo's too!
“Windows Phone Programming in C#,” the Curriculum (think “Stuff to help teach Windows Phone Dev… Code, Demo’s, Pptx’s, Labs, 152 page eBook, etc”)
16 hours, 2 Days, 1 Mango - Online, live and free training, "Building Applications for Windows Phone Mango Jump Start" August 23 & 24 (i.e. next week)

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

200 C# Video Tutorials? 200 VB? JavaScript? PHP? C++? Python? All that and more on 'thenewboston'

thenewboston - Videos & Tutorials




Videos & Tutorials - C#


About thenewboston

How it all began...

My name is Bucky Roberts. I grew up in northern New York until I was 21 and then I moved down to Raleigh, North Carolina, where I live now. I began going to college down here but soon dropped out once I realized it wasn’t for me. Sure, I was interested in computers and web design, but most of the courses I was taking in college were totally unrelated. I dropped out figuring that I would be able to learn more on my own than any college could ever teach me. So I began reading computer books. A lot.

Shortly after reading a few books on web design, I was hooked. I wanted to know everything and anything about it. I was designing websites any chance I could. I spent almost all of my savings buying more books on different programming languages and other nerdy computer gear. I was addicted. The whole concept of computer and programming fascinated me. As I continued to study more and more, I began to realize that most of the books seemed to lack excitement. The material was useful, but they were far from entertaining. I tried to look online for a more interesting source of learning but to no success. That’s when I discovered YouTube.

My Youtube Experience

Sure, I’ve heard of YouTube before. Even watched videos on there sometimes. Most of them were music videos and of crazy cats, but I began to notice that some users were posting videos about computer topics as well. I soon found out that people were able to record their computer screen without a camcorder at all. I later found out that you could do this for free! Lucky for me, having spent all my money, and curious about anything computer related, I decided to give it a try. I tested out my new software by making some tutorials on web design. I created a YouTube account and decided to name it “thenewboston”. Sounded like a cool name at the time, right?


I soon realized that these videos were something more than just another cat video on YouTube. They were a gateway to a higher education, for free. While Universities and Corporations were charging like crazy for people to receive an education, people could come and watch my videos and get the same information for no cost at all. I decided that this is the way it would be. An education should be free for everyone who desires one. It should not be a business. And quickly, that became my goal.

The future of thenewboston

So here I am. 4 years / 178,000 Subscribers / 53 Million views later. I have expanded out of my bedroom to an office in a small town nearby. I have used my personal funds as well as the donations from my website to hire a two additional people to begin making tutorials, as well as purchase better equipment in order to make better quality videos. All of this, yet the costs remains the same for you all, free.


So this is my promise to you all. I will continue to work each and every day of my life until this goal is met. I will never sell out to a bigger corporation and I will never charge a single penny for any of these videos. There are some things that are much more important than money, and I believe that this is one of those things.

So to everyone, welcome to the beginning. The beginning of a new kind of education. Welcome to the beginning of an education revolution.

Welcome, to thenewboston.

This site came across my stream today and at first I wasn't so sure about it. I didn't really get why it was cool. Then I started looking at it a little longer. Slowly, slowly it began to dawn on my that this was actually a pretty awesome resource, all done my one guy and all free...

Then I read the About. NOW I really see the awesome that is this site. Drop by and check it out. I bet you'll find a great resource just waiting for you...

Friday, November 15, 2013

Kodu Game Lab v1.4.1.0

Microsoft Downloads - Kodu Game Lab

Kodu is a visual programming language made specifically for creating games.


Date Published: 11/15/2013

KoduSetup.msi, 196.9 MB

Kodu is a new visual programming language made specifically for creating games. It is designed to be accessible for children and enjoyable for anyone. The visual nature of the language allows for rapid design iteration using only an Xbox game controller for input (mouse/keyboard input is also supported).


Been a while since I've blogged about Kodu here, though I've blogged about it a few times on the Coding4Fun blog, so this MS Download drop seemed like a good time to do so. This is an interesting way to create some pretty cool and fun games, and the price is just right (free)


Related Past Post XRef:
Are you an Educator/Teacher? Microsoft has free software just for you!
Kodu, the Microsoft Research visual game programming language targeted at beginning programmers, now available for PC’s (Tech Preview)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Whoa there's allot of the free NOAA [resources]

Government Book Talk - Be a NOAA-it-all with these FREE NOAA resources about the weather and oceans

In the morning when I get on the elevator up to my office in GPO headquarters, when they aren’t talking about sports, everyone is chatting about the weather. My colleagues compare the day’s weather with previous years and talk about what’s coming in the days and seasons ahead. Since Washington, DC’s weather varies greatly throughout the year (even through the day!), people in this area are always taking the pulse of the outdoors and our world. In a similar vein, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA, the U.S. Government’s oldest scientific agency, is taking the pulse of the Earth, for our benefit.

You can be a NOAA-it-all with these FREE online resources

NOAA says that “Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep citizens informed of the changing environment around them.” As such, its mission is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.

Once they’ve taken the Earth’s pulse, of course NOAA wants to share the output of their studies. The data the agency gathers when studying the Earth’s atmosphere and oceans is comprehensive, and it is a global leader in communicating how Earth’s atmosphere and water systems influence people’s lives and how they influence those systems. If you learn how to navigate the range of NOAA’s free online resources, including real-time and archived information, you will get the full benefit of this rich data.

NOAA educates and disseminates data from its many valuable services, including the National Marine Fisheries Service, the National Ocean Service, the National Weather Service and others. Their information comes packaged in videos, weather alerts, digital coastal charts, entire databases, atlases, podcasts, screensavers, sea sounds, field reports, tagging data, and an entire education Web site for teachers and kids. NOAA has resources for children that are as unique and valuable as their science.

Whether to Weather

For instance, NOAA’s Weather Systems and Patterns page has a multimedia, lessons and activities, real world data, background information and career profiles. A student who is interested in extreme weather can graph tornado air pressure in the lessons section, investigate the severe weather events page in the real world data, track a storm in the multimedia section, read the background on severe weather, and even flirt with future career possibilities in the career profile of the tornado chaser.



NOAA Education Resources


Multimedia Gallery



World Ocean Database 2013 (WOD13) is an update of World Ocean Database 2009 (WOD09). All data are available online presorted by 10 ° geographic squares, by year or by user specified criteria.

This is the World Ocean Database with data and quality control flags exactly as used for the World Ocean Atlas 2013 climatologies. It is a preserved record of input data. The main World Ocean Database dataset builds on this record and includes updates and new data.

Note: The WOD13 has extended standard depth levels. The 40 standard depth levels used in previous versions of WOD are all among the 137 standard depth levels used in WOD13, to provide continuity.


World Ocean Database and World Ocean Atlas Series


Hey, we're paying for it (at least those of us in the US) we might as well use what we can, right?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

UC Irvine, Canvas and AMC - "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead" online course...

DVICE - California university now teaching zombie survival online

UC Irvine has just announced that it will be extending its studies of the human condition into the undead. By partnering with online learning platform Canvas and AMC, UC Irvine has created a class called "Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC's The Walking Dead."

The course, while clearly a bit of a gimmick, will cover a wide range of topics pertinent to surviving a zombie apocalypse. By enrolling, you'll be signing up to learn about subjects from "Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world — are squirrels really good for you?" to "The spread of infectious disease and population modeling — swarm!"


Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead


From understanding social identities to modeling the spread of disease, this eight-week course will span key science and survival themes using AMC’s The Walking Dead as its basis. Four faculty members from the University of California, Irvine will take you on an inter-disciplinary academic journey deep into the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, exploring the following topics:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

Each week we’ll watch engaging lectures, listen to expert interviews, watch exclusive interviews with cast members talking about their characters, use key scenes from the show to illustrate course learning, read interesting articles, review academic resources, participate in large and small group discussions, and—of course—test our learning with quizzes. We recommend that you plan on spending about two (2) to four (4) hours per week on this course, though we believe the course is compelling enough you’ll want to spend more time.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how infectious diseases—like a zombie epidemic—spread and are managed
  • Apply various models of society and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to existing and emerging societies as a means for understanding human behavior
  • Analyze existing social roles and stereotypes as they exist today and in an emerging world
  • Debate the role of public health organizations in society
  • Describe how mathematical equations for population dynamics can be used to study disease spread and interventions
  • Apply concepts of energy and momentum appropriately when analyzing collisions and other activities that either inflict or prevent damage
  • Summarize multiple methods for managing stress in disaster situations

Of course I signed up! :)


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Want the world's best Science Fiction And Fantasy Library? Come to LA... The Eaton Collection @ UC Riverside

CBS Los Angeles - The Eaton Collection: The Best Science Fiction And Fantasy Library

Science fiction and fantasy fans rejoice and take some time to visit the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Yes, this impressive collection is the world’s largest collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian literature. Housed in the UC Riverside Library’s Special Collection and Archives, it is publicly accessible and a wonderful destination for any literature fan.

Just what will you find here? More than 100,000 hardcover and paperback books as well as almost 100,000 fanzines. You’ll find full runs of a lot of pulp magazines and more than 500 shoot scripts from many science fiction films. Add to all of that a huge collection of comic books, manga and anime as well as trading cards, posters, action figures and pins – and you’ve got one of the most exciting collections for any fan of pop culture and science fiction.


The Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy is the largest publicly-accessible collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror and utopian literature in the world. It is housed in the UC Riverside Libraries' Special Collections & Archives in the Tomás Rivera Library.

The collection is a major resource for research and is visited by scholars from around the world for both its American and international holdings. It features over 300,000 holdings including:

  • Over 100,000 hardback and paperback books.
  • Full runs of many pulp magazines.
  • Nearly 100,000 fanzines.
  • Film and visual material, including 500 shooting scripts from science fiction films.
  • Comic books, anime and manga.
  • Collectible ephemera and realia, including cards, posters, pins and action figures.


COLLECTIONS OF Authors' archives

The Eaton Collection is made up of a variety of smaller collections, including the archives (manuscripts and papers) of a variety of SF writers.

The collection is constantly growing with new items donated regularly. Here is a list of selected collections. Clicking on the link will take you to the main library website which features specific details on the collection.

To see the complete collection of all Special Collections holdings, please visit our Special Collections Archive Index page.


Lived in the greater Los Angeles area all my life and reading Science Fiction most of it too and never heard about this. Must plan a trip to see this...

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Learn how to learn, creatively with the free MIT Learning Creative Learning course

lifehacker - MIT’s Free Creative Learning Class Teaches You How to Learn Almost Anything

"Whether you need to learn a new skill or language to advance your career, or you just want to learn something new and broaden your horizons, lifelong learning is important. Still, picking up new things can be difficult, and the free Learning Creative Learning course from the MIT Media Lab aims to teach you techniques to easily pick up something new whenever you want to.

The course starts on February 11th, but you should up for the class now—sign-ups close on Friday the 8th. To get started, just hit the link below. Mitch Resnick, Director of Lifelong Kindergarten and the LEGO Papert Professor at the MIT Media Lab, is teaching the course. The class will be centered on picking up techniques that make learning new skills and keeping them for the long haul easier. Each week you'll focus on different types of learning and different types of skills, from learning on the internet, tinkering and learning from doing things yourself, and generating your own great ideas.


Learning Creative Learning

Free & Online!

You've been dying to take the MIT Media Lab course on creative learning, but you're not in Cambridge? Despair no more. We invite you to join the course right here, on the interwebs. It's free of charge and we hope you'll like it.

A Big Experiment

This is a big experiment. Things will break. We don't have all the answers. Sometimes we plan to rely on you to make it work. But we'll try our very darndest to make sure you have a good time, and get something out of it.

Weekly Lessons

Make new friends, and start learning from weekly live videos, readings, discussions, and project-based activities. Open for signup now, course starts February 11th. Questions? Drop us a note in our Google+ community or send us an email at



Just-in-time learning is the watch word for any developer these days... Learning how to learn better sounds like a good investment, doesn't it? Now just to find the time...

Friday, January 04, 2013

Teachers and School Leaders, Microsoft has got your badges...

UK Schools Blog - Earn Microsoft badges for teacher and school leader professional development

We believe in anytime, anywhere learning. We also believe your achievements should be recognized so that you can share your accomplishments and knowledge with your colleagues and communities. That’s why the Partners in Learning Network awards badges for the skills and knowledge that are learned and shared through our online professional learning community, in our in-person events, and in school communities around the world.

Check out the badges you can earn and add to your Partners in Learning online profile. Earn enough and you can establish yourself as a Microsoft Expert Educator (more info to follow on this).



Once signed in, don’t forget to complete your profile. Check out this innovid created by Jonny Carter, from St-Malachy's Primary school, who demonstrates how easy it is to build your profile on


Given the blog source, I'm not sure if this is just for the UK or not, but I still think it's cool. I mean badges are cool, right? And schools are cool right? And educators? So that makes this triple cool?

Monday, August 06, 2012

Need some JavaScript Fun[damentals] with your HTML5? Bob, and the Channel 9 team, has your back...

Channel 9 - Javascript Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners

"Want to learn a different language? Over the course of 21 episodes, our friend Bob Tabor from will teach you the fundamentals of Javascript programming. Tune in to learn concepts applicable to web based videogames, enhanced user interfaces, and dynamic web pages.

We'll walk you through getting the tools, writing code, and much more! Each concept is broken into its own video so you can search for and focus on the information you need.

Download the enitre series source code here.


Now if only Channel 9 offered this as a "direct into brain" version... I need a new language, so given the new shiny that seems to be JavaScript.Today, this might be it.


Related Past Post XRef:
Bob's back and teaching us the HTML5/CSS3 with "HTML5 & CSS3 Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners"
Two new series of 25 episodes each from Channel 9: "Visual Basic Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners" and "C# Fundamentals: Development for Absolute Beginners"

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Free Learning? 250 Videos? 750 Lessons? From computer to General Ed stuff?!

What's On My PC - Absolutely FREE – Quality, Innovative Online Computer Skills Training

"was in the process of drafting a mini written tutorial on the usage of Microsoft Powerpoint for someone in my Church when I came across a really nice online training tutorial site that has a section totally devoted to computers skills. It is called, (Goodwill Community Foundation).

..." - About® creates and provides quality, innovative online learning opportunities to anyone who wants to improve the technology, literacy and math skills needed to be successful in both work and life. By delivering over 750 different lessons to millions of people in over 200 countries and territories ABSOLUTELY FREE, is a worldwide leader in online education.

View one tutorial. Complete a whole class. We believe there's freedom in the ability to learn what you want, when you want, regardless of income or circumstances.

A program of Goodwill Industries of Eastern NC, Inc.® (GIENC®), all® educational content is designed and produced in the GCF Global Learning® building in Downtown Raleigh, NC.


image - All Topics



I love finding new free learning resources like this. What caught my eye was that my Mom just joined Facebook and was asking me some questions about it, so the Facebook 101 reached out and grabbed me (Which I've just forwarded to her... not that I don't like talking with my Mom, but you know... lol ;)

Friday, July 06, 2012

Three classes, 23 modules, for Designing and App Development for Modern (aka Metro) UI and Devices

Designing for Modern UI

This curriculum contains 11 modules that provide tutorials on how to design for the Windows 8 UI METRO language. The content is 100 Level and can be used as part of a UI/UX class or for self-paced independent learning. The focus of the content is on METRO style design. This material is suitable for any college student, including business, social sciences, liberal or fine arts, students who may have little or no computer programming background

This curriculum provides tutorials on how to design for the Windows 8 UI METRO language. The content is 100 Level and can be used as part of a UI/UX class or for self-paced independent learning. The focus of the content is on METRO style design.

This material is suitable for any college student, including business, social sciences, liberal or fine arts, students who may have little or no computer programming background. There are no programming skills required and the early modules start from basics and build skills required for more advanced topics.

Because this content can be used as part of an Academic class it includes background information, describing problems that are being solved, and provides background information as well as terminology that relate to Human Computer Interaction (HCI).

The material contains an Instructor Guide and video files that accompany the exercise files.

Learning Objectives:

  • Module 1: The Metro Design Solution
    • Module 1 includes an overview of the Windows 8 platform, and how Metro style apps fit into the user experience. This module introduces components to designers that not only should they be aware of but that they should integrate into their own application designs.
  • Module 2: User Experience Design Fundamentals
    • In this module, your students learn the fundamentals of the user experience design process. This session explains and navigates your students a typical process that a UX designer might follow when creating any app. It is important that you frame this module as a precursor to creating Metro style aps. Metro style apps are rooted in good user experience and are the key to building apps that are successful.
  • Module 3: Applying User Experience Process to Metro Applications
    • In this module, your students take the principles covered in Module 2, “User Experience Design Fundamentals,” and apply them to building their own Metro style app. They can choose to build the app from one of the example concepts provided, or build from their own concept. Students will spend a considerable amount of time in the planning stages of creating a Metro style app, which might be different than any experiences that they have had in the past with building apps. The benefit to this planning is that development time should proceed more efficiently, due to their planning and preparation.
  • Module 4: Introduction To Metro Design Principle: Do More with Less
    • This module builds on the exercise in Module 3 where students created a “best-at” statement and then created scenarios that followed situations that the user might be in when using their application. In this module, students will start recognizing the relationship between the user experience process, discussed in Module 3, and how it relates to the features and organization of content in a Metro style app.
  • Module 5: Organizing Features To Fit The Scenario
    • In this module, students discover the relationship between the scenarios that they have created in Module 3, “Applying User Experience Process To Metro Applications,” and the related features they created in Module 4, “Introduction to Metro Design Principle: Do More With Less.” Students discover how to organize features as commands on the canvas, or in the App bar. The App bar is a unique method for presenting features in a Metro app that is only available in the Windows 8 platform.
  • Module 6: Introduction to Metro Design Principle: Pride in Craftsmanship
    • In this module students learn how the grid is used in Metro style design and how type is handled using the typographic grid and the type ramp. By the end of this module participants will feel confident in their understanding of the guidelines for using both the grid and type in Metro style applications.
  • Module 7: Being Fast and Fluid, and Authentically Digital
    • In this module students learn about two major components of Metro style apps: Animation and designing for touch interaction. These two components are part of a larger concept called “authentically digital.” Students discover how removing the traditional physical metaphors of application design allow them to create new and useful experiences for users.
  • Module 8: Winning as One: Using and Charms Contracts
    • In this module students discover how their users can take advantage of charms to enable unique integrated experiences between their app and the Windows 8 platform. Students also find out how charms are enabled by implementing contracts, agreements with other apps and the system UI. After this module, students will be able to create and implement scenarios where their app’s users can integrate with other apps or services on the platform. Students will also discover how they can design experiences for the results of those interactions.
  • Module 9: Introduction to Live Tiles and Notifications
    • In this module, students learn the role of live tiles in a Metro Style application and discover why it is important to invest in a tile on the Start menu. They also learn about the Metro templates that are available for use as well as the various features of the Live tile, such as peek and cycle. Additional topics covered include branding, badges, and notifications.
  • Module 10: Designing for Multiple Screens and Resolutions
    • In this module, students discover techniques used for designing an app that looks great and works great on all screens. They also discover how to take advantage of snap and portrait, new views that are unique to Windows 8 and the tablet form factor.
  • Module 11: App Submission Process
    • In this module, students learn about the Windows Store and how to submit apps for sale and distribution. Trial versions, monetization options, and the certification process are reviewed.

App Development for Modern UI

This curriculum contains 9 modules that provide an overview of Metro style app development using JavaScript and HTML/CSS. The scope of this curriculum covers the fundamental concepts of developing Metro style apps using JavaScript. This material contains an Instructor Guide and video files that accompany the exercise files.

This curriculum contains 9 modules that provide an overview of Metro style app development using JavaScript and HTML/CSS. Ideally, the lessons will be taught in order, since a common app is built; progressively starting with Module 4. However, you can use each lesson independent of the others if needed, as there are “starter” solutions for each module.

The scope of this curriculum covers the fundamental concepts of developing Metro style apps using JavaScript. Throughout the curriculum, you will find references to more advanced topics that are suitable for follow-up assignments.

This material contains an Instructor Guide and video files that accompany the exercise files.

Learning Objectives:

  • Module 1: Components of HTML5 and CSS3
    • In this module, students learn about core concepts of HTML5 and CSS3 as used in Metro apps, including layout models, styles, and animations. Specifically, they examine page layout using regions, grid layout, flexible box layout, multiple columns, text-wrap, and media queries. They also explore 2D & 3D transforms, transitions, animations, gradients, box and text shadow, border-radius, inline SVG and canvas.
  • Module 2: Creating App Layouts and Design Using HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript
    • In this module, students learn to create and modify page layouts of a Metro style app. Specifically they learn how to modify the rows and columns of a Grid Layout using Blend as well as to open a Metro style JavaScript project in Visual Studio.
  • Module 3: Advanced Adaptive Layout
    • In this module, students learn about the different views supported by Metro style apps, including Full Screen, Snapped, and Fill. They learn to use CSS styles to support these multiple views, and how to respond to View State changes in their apps.
  • Module 4: App Development Essentials
    • In this module, students learn the structure of a JavaScript based Windows Metro Style Project. They explore the tools used to create Metro Style Apps, look at the different templates available, and create a simple Grid app.
  • Module 5: Using JavaScript in Metro Apps
    • In this module, students learn how to add logic to their apps using JavaScript, how to create custom data entry forms, and how to use Metro-specific controls such as the Application Bar and Flyout control.
  • Module 6: Working with Files
    • In this module, students learn about the special security restrictions in Metro apps, how to configure the App Manifest to allow access to files, and how to use File Pickers to access user files. They also explore how they can use the StorageFolder class to save application specific data.
  • Module 7: Accessing and Displaying Data
    • In this module, students learn how to access data from web services, and display that data in a Metro Grid App project. They learn about the WinJS.xhr function, which makes it easy to call services in an asynchronous manner.
  • Module 8: Using Contracts and App Lifecycle
    • In this module, students learn how to implement contracts in our applications, such as the search contract. They will discover how to respond to lifecycle events so that users get the best experience when performing app switching.
  • Module 9: Selling Through The Windows Store
    • In this module, students learn about the Windows Store and how to submit apps for sale and distribution. Trial versions, monetization options, and the certification process are reviewed.

Here's the full list of the modules;

  1. App Development for Modern Devices: 1 of 3 (Networking)
  2. App Development for Modern Devices: 2 of 3 (NUI and Touch)
  3. App Development for Modern Devices: 3 of 3 (Augmented Reality)
  4. App Development for Modern UI: Module 1 of 9
  5. App Development for Modern UI: Module 2 of 9
  6. App Development for Modern UI: Module 3 of 9
  7. App Development for Modern UI: Module 4 of 9
  8. App Development for Modern UI: Module 5 of 9
  9. App Development for Modern UI: Module 6 of 9
  10. App Development for Modern UI: Module 7 of 9
  11. App Development for Modern UI: Module 8 of 9
  12. App Development for Modern UI: Module 9 of 9
  13. Designing for Modern UI: Module 1 of 11
  14. Designing for Modern UI: Module 10 of 11
  15. Designing for Modern UI: Module 2 of 11
  16. Designing for Modern UI: Module 3 of 11
  17. Designing for Modern UI: Module 4 of 11
  18. Designing for Modern UI: Module 5 of 11
  19. Designing for Modern UI: Module 6 of 11
  20. Designing for Modern UI: Module 7 of 11
  21. Designing for Modern UI: Module 8 of 11
  22. Designing for Modern UI: Module 9 of 11

Also available is one download for them all, Download all files associated with related objects (684.00 MB unzipped)

The thing I love about these is that they are great if you just want to learn it yourself, let alone using these as a teaching resource.

Hawaii goes v2.0 (as in Project Hawaii Cloud Services SDK 2.0)

Project Hawaii SDK 2.0

"With the Project Hawaii software-development kit (SDK), you can develop Windows Phone applications that take advantage of cloud services and Windows Azure for computation and data storage. Project Hawaii provides the tools and services; you provide the creativity and imagination.

Download Details

File Name: HawaiiSDKSetup.msi

Version: 2.0

Date Published: 7 June 2012

Download Size: 3.72 MB

Note This version of the Project Hawaii SDK is intended for academic use only.

What's New

In addition to the services available in the previous version (OCR, Speech to Text, Relay, and Rendezvous), Project Hawaii SDK 2.0 includes these new services:

  • Path Prediction—Predicts a user’s location given a trajectory.
  • Key-Value Store—Saves key-value pairs in a simple cloud-based hash table.
  • Translator—Translates text between any of 38 languages.
  • Text to Speech—Converts written text to spoken speech.

This release also offers infrastructure improvements for more reliability and availability of all services.


Project Hawaii

Project Hawaii Cloud Services

The Project Hawaii SDK for Windows Phone enables you to create of Windows Phone applications that take advantage of research cloud services.

The following cloud services are included in the Project Hawaii 2.0 SDK:

  • Path Prediction Service
    This service enables a mobile application to predict a user’s destination based on current route data.
  • Key-Value Store Service
    This service provides a simple key-value store for mobile applications. With this service, an application can store and retrieve application-wide state information as text by using key-value pairs.
  • Translator Service
    This service provides an interface to Microsoft Translator. It enables a mobile application to translate text from one language to another and to obtain an audio stream that renders a string in a spoken language.
  • Relay Service
    This service provides a relay point in the cloud that mobile applications can use to communicate. It provides an endpoint naming scheme and buffering for sent messages.
  • Rendezvous Service
    This service is a mapping service from well-known human-readable names to endpoints in the Hawaii Relay Service. This service uses well-known human-readable names as stable rendezvous points that can be compiled into applications.
  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Service
    This service takes a photographic image that contains some text and returns the text. For example, given a JPEG image of a road sign, the service would return the text of the sign.
  • Speech-to-Text Service
    This service takes a spoken phrase and returns text (currently in English only).

While this SDK is intended for academic use only there's still a number of items of interest (especially if you're in the academic space... funny that).

(via Microsoft UK Faculty Connection - More Cloud Services on Project Hawaii)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who need grades at school, when you can get badges!

ON Course - Release the Badges!

"After working on the badges system that I outlined in a previous post, it has finally reached a point where it is functional enough to be ‘released’. It should be noted, though, that it is neither fully functional ‘out of the box’ and is by no means a shining example of development practices at their best. The mini-project of looking at how a system such as the Mozilla Open Badges platform could be used in higher education has suffered tremendously from scope creep and the underlying code (at the moment) reflects this. Over the past few weeks I’ve been through the following phases:

  • Consider how Open Badges (or similar) could be used in higher education.
  • Create a prototype system to be used in higher education.
  • Develop a more stable system that could be used in a trial run within our university.
  • Develop the system in such a way that it could be picked up and used in a variety of institutions or situations with minimal reconfiguration.

Initially, I considered creating a small database to hold ‘objectives’ that need to be met in order to be awarded badges, along with the bare minimum of APIs in order to interact with the database and the Open Badges framework. After starting out down this path, I started to realize that there was far more potential in a badging system within a higher education institution than I had originally thought and began to think of more features that would be useful.



ON Course - Designing a Badge System for Universities

"Over the past week or so we have started looking at the Mozilla Open Badge platform and how it could, possibly, be applied to use within HEIs (and beyond). It started to become apparent, through reading other peoples blog posts and reading through mailing lists, that there is already some work going on to award badges for completion of modules of study or achieving particular learning outcomes. After looking at what information is required to award a badge using the Open Badge framework, I created a design for a platform that can be picked up and used within another institution or context with minimal customization required. The purpose of this blog post is to document the decision processes involved and to describe and show the resulting design.

The Basics

The basic premise of the system is fairly simple: create badges and award them to individuals who meet the criteria for each badge. These awarded badges can be ‘baked’ (to include the relevant information) and sent to individual’s ‘backpacks’ – be that the OpenBadge backpack or an internally hosted version.

This suggests that data pertaining to the following is required: Badges, Objectives and Earned Badges.


This is a PHP based system and not one I'm likely to play with myself, but I really like the thought of this, the gamification of school. If grades themselves are not enough to engage our students, then maybe badges/achievements can?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Layerscape escapes (into a public release) [Think "Earth Science visualization and story telling set of tools based on the WorldWide Telescope" ]



Microsoft Research Connections Blog - Data Visualization Reaches New Heights with Layerscape

"In December, I blogged about the beta release of Layerscape, a free set of research tools from Microsoft that enable earth scientists to visualize and tell stories around large, complex data sets. The full release is now available to the public at Layerscape.

We’re calling Layerscape an “ecosystem” to emphasize its focus on earth science and to communicate that Layerscape’s research tools include a community-based content sharing website, powered by Windows Azure. I’m pretty excited about Layerscape because it offers researchers new ways of looking at lots and lots of data, both above and below the earth’s surface—but also because the community site provides a great venue for learning how people are actually using Layerscape. Our collaborators are starting to gain new insights into their data and make use of our communities to share and collaborate.


In addition to rendering data in 3-D space and in time, Layerscape has what we call freedom of perspective and free narrative. You can place your virtual eye anywhere you like and connect a sequence of perspectives and automated transitions that emphasize what the data is doing and what story you want to communicate. Such storytelling is ideal for educational outreach, enabling you to share your results with the scientific community and the general public.

Layerscape consists of three parts. Part one is the WorldWide Telescope visualization engine, and part two is the website that supports communities of users and the content they (you!) generate. The third part is a tool for getting data into Layerscape. This tool is built on Microsoft Excel, so if your data is already in an Excel spreadsheet, you simply click a few buttons to send it to the visualization engine. The link from Excel is dynamic, meaning that as you change the data in Excel, your Layerscape rendering changes automatically.


Microsoft Research News - A New Way to Visualize Earth

"As the state geologist for Arizona, Lee Allison knows granite from sandstone, a syncline from an anticline. But he has lacked the ability to look through rocks to visualize the inner workings of the Earth.

Until now.

In the past year, Allison has been using a Microsoft Research-developed tool called Layerscape. Based on the popular WorldWide Telescope, also developed by Microsoft Research, Layerscape is a cloud-based instrument that enables earth scientists to analyze and visualize massive amounts of data. With Layerscape, scientists can create three-dimensional virtual tours of the Earth; explore new ways of looking at Earth and oceanic data; and build predictive models in areas such as climate change, health epidemics, and oceanic shifts.

In Arizona, Allison is using Layerscape to create detailed models of the state’s landscape to help policymakers create ways to manage groundwater, map geothermal resources, and more.

“With Layerscape, we can look not only across the surface and bring in all the geologic maps,” he says. “We’re also bringing in the subsurface data—the millions of boreholes, water wells, oil and gas wells—and looking down in 3-D and bringing that information together to create a 3-D visualization that we've never been able to do before.

“Layerscape is giving us a visualization capability to show decision-makers, to show industry, to show the public how to use this scientific data and what the implications of it are to their lives.”


Get It Now

Layerscape is available as a free download to run in conjunction with WorldWide Telescope.

“We believe the earth sciences are an important space in research, and we know that, for most researchers, money is tight,” Fatland says. “We believe these people are worth supporting.”

Although downloadable by anyone, Layerscape is aimed primarily at scientists, who can sample the program and provide more feedback. That will help Microsoft Research build features in preparation for a future release.

Certainly, if the success of WorldWide Telescope is any indication, Layerscape in time will prove popular with the public as well as the scientific community. WorldWide Telescope has been downloaded 4 million times and is used by researchers and educators, as well as people simply interested in exploring space from their desktop.

Using Layerscape, that exploration now extends to a planet—our own—that is well-known to most people, but not really well-understood."

Something different to check out at least... :)


Related Past Post XRef:
Cool Earth-Science storytelling with the new Layerscape from Microsoft Research (powered by the WorldWide Telescope)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Helping Office Moodle... Free Office Addin that lets you Open From and Save To your Moodle with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint

Education - The Office Add-in for Moodle - free software for teachers in February

"If you use Moodle, you may be familiar with grumbles from staff about the number of steps involved in creating documents and getting them onto your Moodle site. Teachers often create their teaching materials, and student materials, in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. And then they have to save it somewhere, then log into Moodle, find where they want to put it onto Moodle and then upload it. So why shouldn’t it be as easy as saving the file to your desktop, or your SharePoint?

That’s exactly what the Office Add-In for Moodle does - adds a “Save to Moodle” and “Open from Moodle'” button to all of your Office applications.

Uploading files to Moodle has never been easier. The Office Add-in for Moodle is an add-in for Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, that allows teachers to open and save Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents to a Moodle website. Today, teachers who use Office and Moodle have to switch back and forth between their web browser and Office applications. With the Add-In, teachers can create, open, edit, and save Moodle documents from within the Office applications. You no longer need to use your web browser when working with Office documents stored in Moodle.

It doesn’t require anything to be installed on the Moodle server. Anyone who is the teacher or owner of a Moodle course can install the Add-in and access their documents. Once installed, there are two menu items ‘Open from Moodle’ and ‘Save to Moodle’ (see right) under:

  • the File menu in Office 2003
  • the Office Button in Office 2007
  • the File tab in Office 2010



Where can I find out how to use it?

Step-by-step instructions to help setup the system, as well as how users will use it, are on the website.

Where do I get Office Add-In for Moodle from?

Either go to the Office Add-In for Moodle page on Education Labs, or download directly from this link


I've not blogged about Moodle yet, but I've been watching it and you're likely to see more from me soon on it. (For example these are in my "blog about these someday" queue, Project of the Month July 2011: Moodle, Hosting your Moodle on Windows AzureWhy Moodle is better on SharePoint, Installing Moodle on SharePoint).

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Add a little mischief to your next PowerPoint Presentation with Mouse Mischief (Think one computer, one presentation, many mice and an engaged audience)

Mouse Mischief Home

"Try a little Mischief.

Mouse Mischief integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, letting you insert questions, polls, and drawing activity slides into your lessons.

Students can actively participate in these lessons by using their own mice to click, circle, cross out, or draw answers on the screen




Mouse Mischief can transform teaching and learning in the classroom. Mouse Mischief integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, allowing teachers to create interactive presentations that engage and excite every student in the classroom. Approximately 525 students, each with his or her own mouse, can answer multiple choice questions and draw on a shared screen. You can download Mouse Mischief free of charge.

Three compelling reasons to use Mouse Mischief in your classroom
  1. Actively engages students and supports collaborative learning

    With Mouse Mischief you can spark student curiosity by incorporating interactive technology into the curriculum. Students have fun learning while seeing visual representations of their answers on a shared screen while using colorful mouse pointers (like a robot, snowflake, guitar, and many more shapes). You can enable collaborative learning when using Mouse Mischief in Team mode; in Team mode, all members of a team need to work together to agree on an answer before it can be selected.

  2. Improves classroom management and overall student participation

    With Mouse Mischief you no longer need to wait for raised hands; you can immediately see your students' answers on the screen. Mouse Mischief helps make it easy for all students,even those who are often quiet in class, to participate regularly without the fear of saying the wrong answer. This can allow you to have better visibility into the progress and comprehension of your entire class so you can adjust your lessons on the spot.

  3. Is familiar to use and easy on the classroom budget

    Because Mouse Mischief integrates into familiar PowerPoint technology, you do not have to spend time learning new skills to use it. Additionally, you can set up your classrooms to play Mouse Mischief lessons without purchasing expensive hardware; many schools already have mice, and both mice and USB hubs are available at many stores where computer accessories are sold.

Mouse Mischief Home - Get Lessons

Check out the featured lessons below, and discover firsthand how Mouse Mischief can bring PowerPoint lessons to life. For more lessons, visit and Microsoft Partners in Learning Network to download, upload, and search for lessons created by Mouse Mischief users around the world.


Mouse Mischief Home  - Download


Oh and this add-in is free. All you need is to add mice, just normal USB mice...

Forget the classroom (well don't but) imagine this at your next presentation at work or user group! Turn your boring presentation into an interactive and engaged session, all without having to leave PowerPoint or buy expensive hardware...

(via MicrosoftFeed - Download Microsoft Mouse Mischief and Enter the New Generation of Learning Solutions)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Using the Group Project Toolkit, Office Web Apps and SkyDrive to take some of the coordination nightmare out of group projects...

Tech Notes for Higher Education and K12 Institutions -Group Project Toolkit + Office Web Apps

"Make group work a breeze with the Group Project Toolkit and Office Web Apps. Microsoft's Group Project Toolkit consists of a group paper outline in Word, a group presentation outline in PowerPoint, a tracker for assigning group tasks in Excel and a notebook for group research in OneNote. Users are encouraged to view the document in Office Web Apps, download it to their PC and make their edits. Upload it to SkyDrive and share with the rest of the group.

[GD: I've reordered the below items...]


This Excel doc will help you track your project, assign tasks to group members and upload the document to SkyDrive so everyone always knows what to work on.


A great project starts with great research. Get started with this notebook and share with the group on SkyDrive so everyone can contribute and see each other’s notes


Hate consolidating and reformatting your group’s work before turning it in? Start everyone off on the right foot by using Word Web App and save the hassle.


Ready to share your work? This PowerPoint doc has what you need to start—everyone can work on the final deck together from almost anywhere.



Note: You can find the "Group Project Toolkit" here,



If you've ever done a group project (who hasn't?) you'll recognize how these free templates and hosting might be able to help save a little of your sanity (in short, STOP the emailing documents around nightmare!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Let Alice help you teach and learn programming...

Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a teaching tool for introductory computing. It uses 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop interface to facilitate a more engaging, less frustrating first programming experience

image - What is Alice?

"Alice is an innovative 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice is a freely available teaching tool designed to be a student's first exposure to object-oriented programming. It allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games. In Alice, 3-D objects (e.g., people, animals, and vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate the objects.

In Alice's interactive interface, students drag and drop graphic tiles to create a program, where the instructions correspond to standard statements in a production oriented programming language, such as Java, C++, and C#. Alice allows students to immediately see how their animation programs run, enabling them to easily understand the relationship between the programming statements and the behavior of objects in their animation. By manipulating the objects in their virtual world, students gain experience with all the programming constructs typically taught in an introductory programming course.


Teaching with Alice


Here's a snap of Alice from the freeware genius  post, Learn programming with 3D video producer ‘Alice 3’,


Looks interesting... Am more interested in Kudo, but still I think this is kind of cool and the price is just right for educators... :)

(via freeware geniusLearn programming with 3D video producer ‘Alice 3’)