Tag Archives: TEALS

Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition

From a huge effort to help kids realize their potential to a celebration of our dear old planet, this week brought plenty of interesting and inspiring news around Microsoft. We’ve rounded up some of the highlights in this latest edition of Weekend Reading.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced grants to 100 nonprofit partners in 55 countries as part of YouthSpark, a global initiative to increase access for young people to learn computer science. In turn, these nonprofit partners — such as Laboratoria, CoderDojo and City Year — will use the power of local schools, businesses and community organizations to empower students to achieve more for themselves, their families and their communities.

The nonprofits will build upon the work that Microsoft already has underway through programs like Hour of Code with Code.org, BBC micro:bit and TEALS.

Every young person should have an opportunity, a spark, to realize a more promising future,” Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. “Together with our nonprofit partners, we are excited to take a bold step toward that goal today.”

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Wondering what the next wave of breakthrough technology will be? Harry Shum, executive vice president of Microsoft Technology and Research, calls it an “invisible revolution,” and it’s transforming farming, allowing people from different cultures to communicate, helping people breathe healthier air, preventing disease outbreaks and much more.

“We are on the cusp of creating a world in which technology is increasingly pervasive but is also increasingly invisible,” Shum said.

This week on the Microsoft Facebook page, we joined the invisible revolution to preview the latest, most cutting-edge developments in artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud computing. The possibilities are endless.

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Computer industry luminaries honored Dave Cutler, a Microsoft senior technical fellow whose impressive body of work spans five decades, as a Computer History Museum Fellow. The 74-year-old has shaped entire eras. He worked to develop the VMS operating system for Digital Equipment Corporation in the late 1970s, had a central role in the development of Windows NT — the basis for all major versions of Windows since 1993 — and helped develop the Microsoft Azure cloud operating system and the hypervisor for Xbox One that allows the console to be more than just for gaming.

“The Fellow awards recognize people who’ve had a tremendous impact on our lives, on our culture, on the way we work, exchange information and live,” said John Hollar, the museum’s president and CEO. “People like Dave Cutler, who probably influences the computing experiences of more than 2 billion people, yet isn’t known in a way he deserves to be, in proportion to the impact he’s had on the world.”

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Microsoft Philanthropies sponsored the annual We Day, supporting exciting events Wednesday in Seattle and earlier this month in Los Angeles. Nearly 30,000 attended the shows, which celebrate young people who are making a difference.

In supporting We Day, Microsoft aims to help young people drive the change they would like to see in their neighborhoods, schools and communities. Our photo gallery captures the highlights, famous faces and young people who were involved in this year’s events.

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In advance of Earth Day on Friday, Microsoft kicked off this week with inspiration and information about the company’s sustainability programs and initiatives, including ways you can take part in the efforts. The  brand new Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft website details how Microsoft’s company-wide carbon fee have financed significant investments in renewable energy to power its data centers, improved building efficiency and reached more than 6 million people through the purchase of carbon offsets from community projects around the world.

Microsoft, which has been a carbon-neutral company since 2012, is continually finding ways to make its products and their lifecycles more earth-friendly. Learn more about how Microsoft is commemorating Earth Day on the Microsoft Green Blog.

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Microsoft is also constantly working to help students achieve more. Some all-new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update are specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students. A “Set Up School PCs” app lets teachers set up a device themselves in mere minutes, and a new “Take a Test” provides simple and secure standardized testing for classrooms or entire schools.

Learning will also get a big boost with Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, a OneNote Class Notebook that now has Learning Management System (LMS) integration and — perhaps most exciting to students — the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” Educators will be able to give it a test run in the summer months and provide feedback and suggestions.

In apps this week, the powerful mobile photo-editing app PicsArt is marking Earth Day by offering a series of green- and outdoorsy-themed photo frame and clip art packages. Several are exclusive to Windows customers. The PicsArt app is free in the Windows Store.

Need a little help juggling projects, priorities and other moving parts in your busy life? The Todoist Windows 10 app can help you stay organized, collaborate with colleagues and even empty your inbox by turning important emails into tasks.

Or for a little fun this weekend, go way beyond retro to prehistoric days in “Age of Cavemen.” In this multiplayer strategy game, you’re the village chief in a dangerous world, and you need to keep your people safe. Build an army, create alliances and destroy your opponents in a wild and wooly free-for-all.

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And that’s a wrap for this edition of Weekend Reading. See you here next week for the latest roundup.

Posted by Tracy Ith
Microsoft News Center Staff

The post Microsoft grants help kids learn computer science, Earth Day is celebrated and influential engineer is honored — Weekend Reading: April 22 edition appeared first on The Official Microsoft Blog.

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Microsoft expands computer science education, partnership with Salesforce and your mind with Hacking Mars design challenge — Weekend Reading, Sept. 18 edition

TEALS, education, computer science, YouthSpark

High school juniors and seniors in TEALS classes at the public Boston Latin Academy last year took this photo to thank their TEALS volunteers for the computer science education instruction they provided.

The universe expanded in new ways, yet got more personal, this week at Microsoft. For one thing, CEO Satya Nadella announced a new commitment of $75 million to help young people around the world study computer science. Also announced: Microsoft’s strategic partnership with Salesforce will grow. And if you’re ready to help “The Martian’s” stranded astronaut Mark Watney get off the Red Planet, the Hacking Mars design challenge is your opportunity to come up with a solution.

Microsoft’s YouthSpark program will grow mightily over the next three years to increase access to computer science education for young people everywhere, especially those from under-represented backgrounds. In the U.S., where the TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program brings computer science education to both high school students and teachers, this flagship program of YouthSpark will spread from 131 schools in 18 states to nearly 700 schools in 33 states. Right now, computer science is offered in less than 25 percent of American high schools. Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, says Microsoft’s goal over the next decade is to reach 4,000 high schools.

Microsoft and Salesforce are strengthening their strategic partnership, which began last fall, to connect the Salesforce Customer Success Platform to Microsoft Office productivity apps and services. New solutions that integrate Salesforce with Skype for Business, OneNote, Delve and Windows 10 will empower companies to connect with their customers and collaborate more effectively. Nadella talked about the partnership and Microsoft’s mission at Dreamforce 2015 in San Francisco.

Salesforce, Power BI, business intelligence

Microsoft Power BI and the Salesforce content pack for Power BI.

No astronaut left behind: Enter the Hacking Mars design challenge. In the movie “The Martian,” coming Oct. 2, astronaut Mark Watney is trying to figure out how to get home from Mars after being left on the Red Planet, presumed dead by his crew. Gather up a team and enter the Microsoft Hacking Mars design challenge to come up with solutions to help Watney. You can also track his progress with a new interactive map from Bing. And teachers and students across the country will be able to download space-related curriculum through Bing in the Classroom.

The Super Bowl is going for the 50, and the NFL is using Surface to get there. The NFL is starting its countdown to a major milestone with Super Bowl 50 with some new Surface Pro 3s. The league provides the specially equipped devices, which include the Sideline Viewing System introduced last season, to all 32 teams. The Microsoft app lets coaches analyze full-color images from a previous offensive or defensive series, and plan their next plays more quickly. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told writer Athima Chansanchai that Surface has been “a game changer” for him. “The Surface has been exceptional to have on the sideline. When I get back to the sideline, I’m able to get the plays right away. Being able to zoom has a huge advantage, too. I can see everybody’s eyes, what they’re looking at.”

You can see everybody’s eyes and more with the official WWE Network app for Windows 10, our App of the Week. The free app lets WWE Network subscribers see all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania, groundbreaking original series, reality shows and documentaries. Want to catch up on the best of “Raw” and “Smackdown” replays? It’s there for you. Get the WWE Network app this weekend, and watch the WWE “Night of Champions” Sept. 20.

Windows, apps, Windows 10

The second annual Old Glory Relay, conducted by Team Red, White, and Blue and presented by Microsoft to benefit veterans, kicked off at sunrise on Sept. 11 in San Francisco. Fifty-nine teams of runners are on their way across country, with the 60-day, 3,540-mile journey expected to end at sunset on Nov. 8 in Washington, D.C. You can follow the runners’ travels and experiences by visiting the Microsoft Military Affairs blog.

military affairs, veterans, Old Glory Relay

This week we watched as Frederico Phillips and Maria Takeuchi redefined dance. Using Kinect for Windows, the two artists merge technology and dance as we’ve never seen before.

Wherever your journeys take you this weekend, near or far, enjoy! And join us again next Friday for Weekend Reading.

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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Increasing access to computer science for all youth

Last evening, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced our commitment to increase access to computer science education for youth worldwide, with a special focus on those from under-represented backgrounds. We believe this is a significant commitment that will create opportunities for young people everywhere to help build the future of our increasingly digital world.

Computer science education, and the computational-thinking and problem-solving skills they involve, are critical to the future of technology. The world needs a diverse talent pipeline that will advance innovation in ways that better serve the diversity of customers everywhere. This is important not only for the technology industry, but for all industries across the global economy.

In the U.S. alone, the economy will create 1.4 million new computing jobs by the year 2022. Yet, less than a quarter of U.S. high schools currently teach computer science. That’s not enough and we’re working with schools and policy-makers to change that. One of the programs that we’re enthusiastic about is Technology Education and Literacy in Schools (TEALS). It’s an initiative that pairs volunteer computer science engineers with classroom educators to team-teach students across the country.

Last year, TEALS volunteers from across the tech industry helped teach 6,000 students in 131 high schools. We’re increasing our investment to expand our reach five-fold to reach within three years 700 high schools per year and 30,000 students annually. In fact, our goal is to reach 4,000 high schools – 10 percent of all in the U.S. – over the next decade.

To do so, we’ll need to partner even more with volunteers from across the industry. That’s why Satya has called upon everyone to join this effort, highlighting that one of our industry’s greatest opportunities is to ignite the next generation of boys’ and girls’ passion for computer science.

And, we know that when we ignite the passion of one young person, there’s often a great ripple effect among their friends and fellow students. One story that struck me is that of Victoria Tran of San Francisco, who is the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. Not only did Victoria discover new possibilities for herself through the TEALS computer science course, she’s now sharing her passion with other young women and teaching them to code.

This week’s announcement kicks off a series of initiatives that Microsoft will drive to create even more opportunities for youth of all backgrounds to see what’s possible for themselves and for their future….and for ours.

We’re looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks and months….

 

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Bringing computer science to kids, Sway for iPad and Microsoft employees’ Pride in who they are — Weekend Reading: June 26 Edition

The summer solstice has come and gone, but our days are still long on news. Lots of great people stories this week. Check it out.

“We are far from done,” is something you may often hear Microsoft’s Kevin Wang saying. The founder of TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools), a program supported by Microsoft YouthSpark, Wang has the kind of determination and laser focus it takes to succeed. And succeeding he is, perhaps because of proclamations like the one above. Wang was named to Fortune’s “Heroes of the 500” list, for his work on TEALS.

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Speaking of the importance of computer science, also hot off the digital presses this week, an inspiring tale of how the Miami-Dade school district is using Windows devices to make a difference in the lives of its students.

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This time of year means long, sun-filled days (even in the great Northwest). It also means Pride, and Microsoft employees around the world are gearing up to participate in the weekend’s events. This year’s theme: “This is me. Do great things.” Participation in the parades is part of Microsoft’s global effort to celebrate diversity and inclusion, which has resulted in the company consistently ranking as a top place to work for LGBT equality.

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Sway, which, like magic, makes content beautiful, is now available for iPad, and optimized for the larger screen. The app allows you to create, view and share Sways in landscape and portrait mode, and includes a few additional capabilities. A new Sway native app experience is also in the works this summer for Windows 10.

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Every day, Bing’s home page takes you to different places around the world with amazing images and videos. The search engine home page now has sound to immerse you even more in the experience. The feature debuted Thursday with a video of geese taking flight over the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. A new audio enhancement will be offered every day. To hear it, click the sound bar circle located at the bottom-right of the page.

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In apps this week, journey to a realm where great battles are fought over kingdoms and crowns, challenging millions of players in fast, tactical combat as you break through their castle defenses using both raw might and your mastery of magic in “Siegefall,” free from the Windows Phone Store. Even heroes need to rest. After all that adventure, ensure you still get some Zzzzzzs with Sleep Machine, a new Windows Phone app with customizable white noise and ambient music options, as well as a clock and silence timer.

WR_Sleep-Machine-640x364Wishing everyone long, sun-filled days, and the opportunity to do great things this weekend. More Weekend Reading, same time and place, next Friday.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff

 

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Skype Translator speaks Mandarin and Italian, Build 2015 plans a road tour, Star Wars movie collection comes to Xbox – Weekend Reading: April 10 Edition

The Force is with us big-time this week: We’ve got stories about Skype Translator debuting in Mandarin and Italian, Build 2015 making a first-ever road tour worldwide, and all six Star Wars films being available digitally for the first time on Xbox Video.

Skype Translator adds two more languages, Mandarin and Italian, joining Spanish and English in the preview program. Adding Mandarin Chinese is quite a feat; it’s a “very challenging language to learn, even for Skype Translator,” noted Yasmin Khan in a Skype blog post. “With approximately 10,000 characters and multiple tones, this is one of the most difficult languages for a native English speaker to master, along with Arabic, Japanese and Korean.” Microsoft researchers and scientists in Beijing, China, worked very closely with their U.S.-based colleagues to build the recognition, language and translation models for Mandarin.

Build is doing a road trip! Build 2015, the developers’ conference April 29-May 1 in San Francisco, is sold out, but if you want to see some of Microsoft’s latest technologies and hear Build speakers in person, you’re in luck: Build is going on the road. The Build Tour, from May 18 through June 15, will come to 10 cities around the world: London, New York, Atlanta, Austin, Sao Paulo, Berlin, Mexico City, Singapore, Auckland and Sydney.

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Pay it forward by helping teach computer science to high schools students. High schools around the country are in desperate need of your computer science smarts if you’re an engineer, software developer or programmer. An easy way to connect your talent and skills is through Microsoft’s volunteer TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program. More than 475 TEALS volunteers across the nation now are team-teaching Computer Science 101 and AP Computer Science with classroom teachers in more than 130 schools. Applications are being accepted through May 1. TEALS founder Kevin Wang shares appreciative comments from TEALS students at a recent event.

TEALS, education, computer science

A student participates in a coding activity during a recent TEALS field trip.

All six Star Wars films are available, starting today, for the first time on Digital HD and on Xbox. Also newly available is the Netflix original series “Marvel’s Daredevil.” For Star Wars, exclusives are being offered for Xbox customers who purchase the saga on Xbox Video, including R2-D2 as an Xbox Live avatar and the action-packed Star Wars Pinball Pack for the free-to-play game “Pinball FX 2” for Xbox One or Xbox 360. In “Marvel’s Daredevil,” join Matt Murdock – blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses – as he fights injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the Super Hero Daredevil. It’s Marvel’s first original series on Netflix, and is the first of four series to come.

Star Wars, Xbox

Office 365 introduced Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, a robust email filtering service that protects against specific types of advanced threats, including unknown malware and viruses. The system extends the protection already available in Office 365’s Exchange Online Protection. Also in Office news this week: Office Online and Dropbox expanded their ongoing partnership with integration between Dropbox on the Web and Office Online. Now you can browse, open and edit files in Dropbox online with Office Online. You can also create new files in Office Online and save directly to your Dropbox.

Our app of the week is the new Shazam, which makes exploring, buying and sharing music even easier for Windows Phone users. You can now preview favorite Shazams with Xbox Music Playbox and add your favorite songs from Shazam’s Charts to the My Shazam section. Meanwhile, if you’re just starting your taxes (*looks at self*), get some help from Mint, MSN Money and other apps, including TaxCaster, which lets you quickly calculate your estimated tax refund. If, after your tax prep, you’re not in the mood to cook for real, you can still have some fun with the game, “Toca Kitchen 2,” with some crazy new food combinations to try out. Or just let it go, and play the updated “Frozen Free Fall,” with 45 new birthday levels, three new game modes and dazzling dresses.

Shazam, Windows Phone, apps

This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we traveled to Brazil, where we met Rodrigo Rodrigues, a man of many passions. Follow us on Instagram to see his story.

DoMore, Instagram

That’s it for this edition of Weekend Reading. May the Force be with you for a great weekend, and we’ll see you next Friday!

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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