Tag Archives: bringing

Easily integrate Skype calls into your content with the new content creators feature | Skype Blogs

Skype is used worldwide as a tool for bringing callers into a variety of different podcasts, live streams, and TV shows. Today, we made it even simpler to bring your incoming audio and video calls to life with the Skype for content creators feature.

Building off the Skype TX appliance for professional studios, we built the feature directly into the desktop app, so podcasters, vloggers, and live streamers can bring Skype calls directly into their content without the need for expensive equipment, studio setup, or multiple crew members.

From a one-on-one audio call up to a four-person group video—incoming calls are available for you to build your own content by integrating Skype calls.

The feature uses NewTek NDI®. You need an NDI-enabled application or device to use Skype for content creators.

There are a number of NDI-enabled software and appliances to choose from,* including:

  • NewTek TriCaster®
  • Xsplit
  • OBS with NDI plugin
  • Pro presenter
  • Wirecast
  • vMIX
  • Ecamm Live for Mac
  • Ovrstream

You will be able to edit, brand, and distribute your Skype content, which can then be sent to a group of friends, uploaded as a podcast or vlog, or live streamed to an audience of millions using platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and LinkedIn.

Skype for content creators is now available on the latest version of Skype for Windows and Mac. Visit Skype for content creators to learn more. We would love to hear from and see what you have created using this feature; email us at sfcc@microsoft.com.

*Third-party applications have not been checked, verified, certified, or otherwise approved or endorsed by Skype. Applications may be subject to the third-party provider’s own terms and privacy policy. Skype does not control and is not responsible for the download, installation, pricing, quality, performance, availability, support, or terms and conditions of purchase of third-party applications.

Kabbage: Line-of-credit product can boost channel margins

Kabbage Inc., a fintech company based in Atlanta, is bringing its style of digital disruption to the IT channel.

The company’s newly launched channel venture lets partners offer their small-business customers a Kabbage line of credit. The company said its financing product, which provides small businesses with lines of credit up to $250,000, boosts partner margins and provides a recurring revenue stream. Fintechs such as Kabbage are challenging traditional financial services firms.

Kabbage provides upfront commissions to partners that include the offering as part of a customer sale. The line of credit may be used to finance any product or service the channel partner provides. Beyond the initial transaction, however, the small business may continue to use Kabbage financing for any business need.

Partners receive recurring revenue based on a customer’s continuing use of the line of credit. Kabbage pays partners every time a customer uses the line of credit for the lifetime of the customer.

Noel Hillman, head of sales at KabbageNoel Hillman

Initially, Kabbage has primarily targeted telecommunications and unified communications agents and master agents with the financing product. Noel Hillman, head of sales at Kabbage, said the telecom orientation stems from his experience as a channel executive with a collaboration vendor. But he noted the Kabbage approach to small-business financing can also work with other types of resellers and managed services providers.

“What every company is really looking for is a new distribution channel,” Hillman said. “The IT channel was a good fit for Kabbage.”

Kabbage line of credit: Business, channel benefits

Hillman said the financing product helps channel-partner customers, noting that every small business “faces working capital issues day in and day out.” For partners, Kabbage’s commission structure provides incentives to offer Kabbage financing as part of their regular sales cycle.

The commissions add margin to a deal, and the potential for additional margin stems from the customer’s ability to purchase products and services through the Kabbage line of credit that they would not have otherwise.

The IT channel was a good fit for Kabbage.
Noel Hillmanhead of sales at Kabbage

The financing can help partners improve services margins, in particular. Hillman said small businesses’ typical financing options usually don’t cover services and apply only to certain products. This situation compels the channel partner to compromise on services in order to make the deal. But the ability to apply the Kabbage line of credit to services, as well as products, keeps margins intact.

“We can allow that agent to keep the margin and offer more services to the end customers,” Hillman said.

In the IT channel, distributors have traditionally played a financing role. Hillman said Kabbage can provide an alternative to distributor financing, but can also supplement what distributors offer.

“We can enhance that financing … if [agents] want to offer more services,” he said.

In addition to small-business customers, channel partners can also obtain a Kabbage line of credit. Partners may need funds to support a business model transition or a new line of business.

Qualifying for credit

Small-business customers can qualify for Kabbage financing in about seven minutes, according to Hillman. The company uses integrations with Intuit’s QuickBooks accounting software and other financial applications to obtain a small business’s revenue and transaction data. The data is then loaded in Kabbage’s underwriting algorithm to determine the amount of credit for which the small business qualifies.

As of December 2017, the company had extended more than $4 billion in financing to small businesses.

“Our qualification process is extremely data-driven versus the old-school banking method,” Hillman said.

However, the finer points of financing arrangements will be left to Kabbage and not the channel partner.

“The way we set it up, we are handling the more difficult financial conversations that go along with the product,” Hillman explained, noting that agents can focus on the other products and services they offer customers.

Alteryx 2018.3 gives users new data visualization options

The general release of Alteryx 2018.3 is now available, bringing with it more data visualization tools in an effort by Alteryx Inc. to give users of the data preparation and analytics platform a broader set of visualization capabilities.

The quarterly update became generally available on Aug. 28. It also adds other new functionality to the Alteryx Analytics platform, including an analytics caching feature and a Python tool that will allow developers to write to Jupyter Notebook. In addition, Alteryx 2018.3 offers faster performance, more server management options and increased support for the Spark processing engine.

For users, the highlights of the new release are likely to be the additional visualization tools and the caching capability. The need for better data visualization is particularly acute. While Gartner ranked Alteryx among the leading vendors in its 2018 Magic Quadrant report on data science and machine learning platforms, it faulted the company for reporting and visualization capabilities that “remain comparatively weak.”

An increased focus on visualization

Alteryx 2018.3 clearly aims to address the visualization gap by expanding an embedded collection of tools called Visualytics, which Alteryx introduced last August.

Putting in visuals that allow customers to explore data sets has particular positive connotations to us.
Ryan Peelerdirector of network analytics at Voxx Analytics

Following user requests for more, Alteryx has added a tool for building and sharing interactive charts and graphs that resulted from a 2017 partnership deal with visualization vendor Plotly. Alteryx users can now also combine multiple interactive charts together and share them with other users for collaborative analysis, said Greg Davoll, vice president of product marketing at the vendor, based in Irvine, Calif.

Meanwhile, the new caching tool enables users to create caching points in the analytics workflow process. If the process is stopped, it will be restarted from the caching point, without the need to completely start over. That can help reduce processing times, as it has done for Alteryx user Voxx Analytics.

A Garden Grove, Calif., company that provides what it calls influence analytics services to help companies hone their marketing outreach efforts, particularly in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences industries, Voxx  was an early adopter of Alteryx 2018.3 as part of the beta program for the new release.

Ryan Peeler, director of network analytics at Voxx, said his team uses the Alteryx software to automate much of the name disambiguation process in analyzing data from social networks. Peeler added that the new caching tool has already saved him “a ton of time” on analytics processing jobs.

“Once I’ve pulled data once for a use case, I don’t need to keep downloading it,” he said. All that data now gets cached, “so the next time I run it, it picks up right where I left off.”

Still room for more improvement

The Visualytics enhancements are also of interest to Peeler, who said they have made it easier for him to create data visualizations for Voxx customers. Still, while he likes where Alteryx has gone with Visualytics thus far, he noted that if he could make a change to Alteryx’s software, it would be to further the platform’s visualization capabilities even more.

For example, Peeler said he would like to be able to export data visualizations from Alteryx to other analytics and reporting platforms, so they could be shared with corporate clients more easily. “Putting in visuals that allow customers to explore data sets has particular positive connotations to us,” he said.

Donald Farmer, principal of analytics consulting firm TreeHive Strategy, said the Visualytics components of Alteryx 2018.3 are notable enhancements.

“Visualytics recognizes what is too often overlooked in the data analysis user experience: that data preparation and analysis are two sides of the same coin,” he said. “These are really not separate processes. You prepare data with an analysis in mind, and as you develop the visualization or interpretation, you discover ways in which the data must be further prepared or refined to improve the analysis.”

The integrated capabilities provided by Alteryx are particularly useful for “data artisans, who are working hands-on with the data and not visualizing at the end of some other process,” Farmer continued. He also described the caching feature as “a significant enhancement for advanced users,” saying it will help ease the hassles of developing complex data flows.

Pricing in question

However, Farmer negatively noted the Alteryx platform’s pricing model, which charges users of the Alteryx Designer desktop tool an extra $6,500 per year for a feature that allows them to schedule analytics workflows and automate the generation of reports. That’s on top of the $5,195 annual base cost per user for the Designer software.

“In the 21st century, that’s like selling a car with a hand crank and charging extra for an electric starter,” Farmer said.

As for what users might expect beyond the Alteryx 2018.3 update, Davoll said to look for more automation and smart analytics capabilities. While not announced yet, the 2018.4 release will likely become available to beta users in the next couple weeks, he added.

On the data preparation side, vendors that Alteryx competes with include Datawatch, Paxata and Trifacta. In addition, self-service BI vendor Tableau, whose software is often complemented by Alteryx’s technology in user deployments, released its own Tableau Prep tool last spring, enabling  users to do at least some basic data preparation tasks directly in their Tableau systems.

According to Farmer, Alteryx 2018.3 could be seen partly as a response to Tableau Prep that’s designed to raise Alteryx’s analytics and data visualization profile with users. Although, he said the Tableau tool “has been less impactful on Alteryx than many expected.”

Xbox is at PAX West 2018 – Xbox Wire

Xbox is bringing games, gear, and more to downtown Seattle for PAX West August 31 – September 3. Whether you’re joining us in person or following along on social media and Mixer, here’s what you can expect:

Xbox Booth
North Hall, 4th Floor, Booths 403, 411, 417

Experience a few of the games that make up Xbox One’s diverse line-up at the Xbox booth. We’ll have playable demos of Forza Horizon 4, The Division 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Devil May Cry 5, NBA 2k19, Metro Exodus, Kingdom Hearts III, Tunic, Ooblets, Kingdom Two Crowns, Generation Zero, Bendy and the Ink Machine, Supermarket Shriek, My Time Portia, and some new DLC from State of Decay 2. You will also have the opportunity to earn a Cuphead Pinny Arcade pin, participate in a Tomb Raider-themed scavenger hunt, guess the amount of Nuka Cola caps in a Fallout 76 experience, visit the Game Pass vending machine, and pick up exclusive Xbox Official Gear for the first time at PAX.  (PAX Badge required)

Mixer
North Hall, 4th Floor, Booth #425

Drop by booth #425 in the North Hall to meet up with some of your favorite broadcasters and Mixer Partners, and for a chance to win swag in the HypeZone LIVE! In addition to that, there’s also going to be a main stage at PAX featuring our Mixer Partners, developers, and so much more. Can’t make it to PAX West in person? No problem! Watch all the action happening at PAX West via Mixer.com/Mixer and Mixer.com/HypeZoneLIVE!

Want the full rundown? Make sure to get all the latest details from the official Mixer blog, right here: https://blog.mixer.com/2018/08/22/mixer-pax-west-2018/

Xbox PAX West Panels

Find out more about streaming and the Xbox Adaptive Controller at these panels featuring Xbox and Mixer members. (PAX West badge required.)

Building Your Streaming Community
Wyvern Theater, Saturday, September 1 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Building a community comes with many challenges and hurdles, good news is we’re here to help! We’ve gathered a council of content creators to discuss the ins-and-outs of building a great online community in your own livestreams. We’ll be smashing myths and sharing the facts about streaming to help you set a foundation for a positive and effective community.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller: Designed with the Community
Sasquatch Theater, Sunday, September 2 from 12:30pm-1:30pm

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is the newest controller by Xbox, created to help people with limited mobility play. Larry Hryb will lead a conversation with pivotal community experts and representatives of game accessibility organizations like AbleGamers and Stack Up, along with one of the controller’s creators.  We’ll describe the journey of designing the controller leveraging the input of gamers with disabilities from the start… and where we need to go next.

Xbox One Summer of PUBG Tour

The Xbox One Summer of PUBG tour will be making their final stop in Westlake Center during PAX West. No badge required to visit! Check out the PUBG bus and enter to win it or one of many other prizes. More information can be found here.

Xbox PAX West Sweepstakes

PAX West 2018 Sweepstakes Image

Enter for a chance to win one of 11 Xbox Design Lab controllers, influenced by some of our favorite games. Xbox Design Lab allows you to create your own personal controller from over a billion different color combinations, metallic finishes, and rubberized grips. Check it out and design your own controller at xboxdesignlab.xbox.com.

There are two ways to enter:

  • Take a photo of your favorite Xbox Design Lab controller in the Xbox booth and share via Twitter using #XboxPAX #XboxDesignLab #Sweepstakes. Don’t forget to follow @Xbox while you’re at it!
  • Follow @Xbox or @XboxCanada on Twitter and retweet one of their tweets mentioning the sweepstakes and including #XboxPAX #XboxDesignLab #Sweepstakes.

You have until September 3rd to enter. The contest is open to anyone from the US or Canada. Click through for the Official Rules.

See you at PAX West! For more Xbox news, follow @Xbox on Twitter, visit the Xbox PAX West website, and stay tuned to Xbox Wire.

Agile Networks and Microsoft announce agreement to deliver broadband internet access to rural communities in Ohio – Stories

The agreement will leverage underutilized infrastructure in counties across the state, bringing high-speed internet access to 110,000 people in rural areas without broadband

CANTON, OH (AUGUST 8, 2018) – Today, Agile Networks, a leading provider of telecommunications solutions, and Microsoft Corp. announced a new agreement to bring broadband internet access to rural areas in Ohio, reaching 110,000 currently unserved people and greatly expanding access in underserved rural areas. The partnership is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative, which is focused on closing the broadband gap by extending broadband access to 2 million unserved people in rural America by 2022.

This partnership leverages Agile’s robust network of telecommunications infrastructure throughout the state and cutting-edge technology, including TV white spaces, to provide more people living in rural Ohio with access to broadband internet over the next four years.

“People across the state, no matter where they choose to live, work and send their children to school, should have the same access to strong, reliable broadband service,” said Kyle Quillen, Agile Networks Founder and CEO. “This partnership will have an impact on more than 900,000 people across the state of Ohio, of whom 110,000 completely lack access to broadband. We’re excited to partner with Microsoft as part of this national initiative to ensure everyone has access to the information they need, when they need it.”

“In today’s digital economy, broadband access has become a necessity across industries including healthcare, agriculture, business and education,” said Shelley McKinley, Microsoft’s head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility. “Our partnership with Agile will help deliver broadband internet access to rural communities across Ohio so that they can take advantage of today’s and tomorrow’s opportunities and the latest cloud technologies.”

Across Ohio, there are critical functions in need of reliable, high-speed connectivity, including medical clinics and rural hospitals, schools, oil and gas wells, agriculture operations, and households. By equipping its towers with innovative TV white spaces equipment, Agile’s efforts, in partnership with Microsoft, will enhance public safety interoperability across the state of Ohio, while providing competitive, affordable broadband access options to rural consumers and businesses, as well as turnkey solution sets tailored to fixed and mobile wireless carriers. As a result, this project will serve as a catalyst for economic development and rural broadband deployment in Ohio.

The Microsoft Airband Initiative is focused on bringing broadband coverage to rural Americans through commercial partnerships and investment in digital skills training for people in the newly connected communities. Proceeds from Airband connectivity projects will be reinvested into the program to expand broadband to more rural areas.

About Agile Networks

Agile Networks is the premier provider of hybrid fiber wireless broadband data networks, supplying connectivity to empower individuals and transform organizations. Agile Networks’ hybrid network – The Agile Network – utilizes vertical infrastructure along with the latest in fiber-optic and wireless technologies to provide world-class data solutions. Engineered to the stringent specifications required to support public safety, The Agile Network boasts carrier grade performance and military-grade security. Agile’s Last-Mile Agility makes delivering solutions to rural areas just as feasible as major cities

About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

AGILE PRESS CONTACT:
Chris Herbert  614-448-8703  chrish@pendulumstrategygroup.com
Evan Weese  614-282-9822    ezweese@gmail.com

MICROSOFT PRESS CONTACT:

Microsoft Media Relations, WE Communications for Microsoft, (425) 638-7777,

rrt@we-worldwide.com

Google’s Edge TPU breaks model inferencing out of the cloud

Google is bringing tensor processing units to the edge. At the Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco, the company introduced Edge TPU, an application-specific integrated circuit designed to run TensorFlow Lite machine learning models on mobile and embedded devices.  

The announcement is indicative of both the red-hot AI hardware market, as well as the growing influence machine learning is having on the internet of things and wireless devices. But the Edge TPU also gives Google a more comprehensive edge-to-cloud AI stack to compete against the likes of Microsoft, Amazon and IBM as it looks to attract a new generation of application developers.

Analysts called the move a good one. “This fills in a big gap that Google had,” said Forrester’s Mike Gualtieri.

Spotlight on model inferencing

Google’s cloud environment is a fertile ground for training AI models, a nontrivial process that requires enormous amounts of data and processing power. Once a model has been trained, it’s put into production where it performs what’s known as inferencing, or where it uses its training to make predictions.

Forrester, AI, Machine learning, edge TPUMike Gualtieri

A growing trend is to push inferencing out to edge devices such as wireless thermostats or smart parking meters that don’t need a lot of power or even connectivity to the cloud, according to David Schatsky, managing director at Deloitte LLP. “These applications will avoid the latency that can be present when shuttling data back and forth to the cloud because they’ll be able to perform inferencing locally and on the device,” he said.

But Google customers who wanted to embed their models into edge devices had to turn to another provider — Nvidia or Intel — for that kind of functionality. Until now. The Edge TPU will give Google customers a more seamless environment to train machine learning models in its cloud and then deploy them into production at the edge.

Deloitte, AI, machine learning, GoogleDavid Schatsky

It also appears to be a nod to the burgeoning relationship between AI and IoT. According to Schatsky, venture capital funding in AI-focused IoT startups outpaced funding to IoT startups overall last year. “AI is so useful in deriving insight from IoT data that it may soon become rare to find an IoT application that doesn’t use AI,” he said.

A competitive stack

They’re not just saying this is a TPU and you can run it on the edge. No, they’re saying this is a fundamentally new chip designed specifically for inferencing.
Mike Gualtierianalyst, Forrester

The Edge TPU is in the same vein as an announcement Microsoft made last year with Project Brainwave, a deep learning platform that converts trained models to run more efficiently on Intel’s Field-Programmable Gate Arrays than on GPUs, according to Gualtieri. “There is a fundamental difference in training a model versus inferencing a model,” he said. “Google recognizes this. They’re not just saying this is a TPU and you can run it on the edge. No, they’re saying this is a fundamentally new chip designed specifically for inferencing.”

Indeed, Gualtieri said, the Edge TPU makes Google more competitive with Microsoft, Amazon and even IBM, all of which made moves to differentiate between model training and model inferencing sooner. “This is an effort, I believe, for Google to make its cloud more attractive, oddly by saying, well, yes, we have the cloud, but we also have the edge — the non-cloud,” he said.

James Kobielus, lead analyst at SiliconAngle Wikibon, also sees the Edge TPU as a strategic move. He called the Edge TPU an example of how the internet giant is creating a complete AI stack of hardware, software and tools for its customers while adding a force multiplier to compete against other vendors in the space.

Wikibon, AI, machine learning, GoogleJames Kobielus

“Google is making a strong play to build a comprehensive application development and services environment in the cloud to reach out to partners, developers and so forth to give them the tools they need to build the new generation of apps,” he said.

Kobielus highlighted the introduction of the Edge TPU software development kit as another example of how Google is planning to compete. The dev kit, which is still in beta and available to only those who apply for access, shows a “great effort” to convince developers to build their apps on the Google cloud and to catch up to Amazon and Microsoft, both of which have a strong developer orientation, he said. “They needed to do this — to reach out to the developer market now while the iron is hot,” he said.

What is the Google AI stack missing? It’s too soon to tell, both Kobielus and Gualtieri said. But with innovation in AI happening at breakneck speed, companies should see this as a part of an evolution and not an end point.

“Different applications are going to require even different chips,” Gualtieri said. “Google is not behind on this. It’s just what’s going to happen because there may be very data-heavy applications or power requirements on smaller devices. So I would expect a whole bunch of different chips to come out. Is that a gap? I would say no because of maturity in this industry.”

What’s New in EDU: Live from ISTE 2018 |

Educators from across the globe are bringing their passions, experiences and big-change ideas together again for the 2018 ISTE Conference and Expo, kicking off this week in Chicago, Illinois. And if forward-thinking teachers and time-saving tech advancements are going to be there, that means What’s New in EDU is going to be there too.

We’re debuting brand new episodes of What’s New in EDU, our round-up of the latest efforts and products from Microsoft Education, throughout the week of ISTE. You can tune in to each episode live, even if you’re #notatISTE, so keep an eye on the schedule below:

What’s New in EDU: Live from ISTE on Monday: 5:00 PM CDT on Facebook Live

What’s New in EDU: Live from ISTE on Tuesday: 5:00 PM CDT on Facebook Live

What’s New in EDU: Live from ISTE on Wednesday: 5:00 PM CDT on Facebook Live

There’s a lot of exciting news to cover this week, including our announcement of Minecraft: Education Edition’s Update Aquatic and our partnership with BBC Learning on new, cost-effective STEM lesson plans. We also have an update on free workshops coming to Microsoft Store locations that help educators attain Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) certification.

If you’re an educator:

Office 365 Education helps create engaging learning experiences for today’s classrooms. Using the products you already know and love like Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint, reach students with features that help you create personalized learning experiences.

  • Dictation: This simple yet transformative tool helps students write freely and conquer the blank page using their voice. Dictation is now available for Word and PowerPoint on Win32 as well as OneNote for Windows 10.

New OneNote Sticker Packs: Have you ever been to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest canyon in the world? Did you know that an octopus can collect shells to make armor to fight off sharks? We’ve created four new sticker packs that explore the ocean and the marine life that call it home! We take a look at coral reefs, tide pools, the deepest parts of the ocean, and those larger species that need a little more space in the open ocean.

Learning Tools:  13,000,000 people round the globe regularly use Learning Tools to help them achieve more in school and at home. As part of Learning Tools, Immersive Reader implements proven techniques to improve reading for learners regardless of their age or ability.

  • Parts of Speech symbols: Teachers and students have the option to enable symbols for nouns, verbs, and adjectives over the highlighted part of speech. This is especially useful for readers who are color blind.
  • Adverbs: The Immersive Reader has had the ability to highlight important parts of speech, including nouns, verbs, and adjectives. We listened to valuable feedback from teachers that adverbs are also an important part of speech that should be highlighted and now adverbs are available in over 10 languages.

 

Microsoft Teams is the digital hub that brings conversations, content, assignments, and apps together in one place. Educators can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, and communicate with school staff – all from a single experience in Office 365 Education.

This month, Teams celebrates its first-year anniversary! Read more about the news, including new educator stories – and discover free teacher training materials.

  • Rubrics Grading: Utilize rubric grading and skills-based grading of your assignments making it easier to deliver feedback to your students. Students will also be able to see how they’ll be assessed upfront, before they start working on the assignment. Teachers can save a lot of time with a grading tool that’s easily applied to multiple assignments at once.

  • Forms in Assignments: In Assignments, you’ll be able to add a Form to a new assignment for your students to fill out and return. Leverage features of Forms reporting functionality, like auto-grading, feedback, and scores, directly in the Assignments grade book and keep track of scores across many Forms-powered quizzes.

  • Join Codes: Create a simple code for members to join your Class, PLC, or Staff team. This makes it easy for many people to join your team all at once. Display the code in ‘projector mode’ so that everyone in the classroom can see it and join the team.
  • Reusing a team as a template: Teachers can reuse an existing team as a template when creating a new team, then customize what they want to copy over: channels, team setting, apps, and even users.
  • Mute all students: There’s a time for conversation, and there’s a time for focus. You can now pause students from posting in the conversation tab.
  • Page locking in OneNote assignments – For teachers creating OneNote assignments, the pages of the student will now automatically “lock” as read only when the due date/time passes. The teacher can still edit and annotate these OneNote assignment pages with feedback.
  • Archive teams: Safely store your Class, PLC, or Staff team content in read-only mode. Easily reference archived teams while you are setting up your Teams experience for the next school year.

Open Up Resources:  Open Up Resources is a nonprofit working to develop the highest quality full-course Open Educational Resources (OER) curricula, standards-aligned, and provided for free to promote instructional equity. This curriculum was developed by Illustrative Mathematics, and currently covers 6th – 8th Grade Math. Recently, EdReports gave this curriculum their highest rating ever.

 OneNote empowers teachers and students to capture information and stay organized in their digital notebook.  OneNote allows students to organize their notes, ideate with others, and sync their notes seamlessly via the cloud.

  • Math Assistant Understanding the steps of a complex math problem is key to finding a solution. Math Assistant in OneNote Online helps this process by showing solution steps, as well as providing a graph for easier visualization. Read more about Math Assistant in OneNote online here.

OneNote Class Notebooks helps teachers capture and organize class content, create and deliver interactive lessons, provide feedback, and collaborate. Teachers can create a personal workspace for every student, a content library for handouts, and a collaboration space for lessons and creative activities. This school year, 25,000,000 student notebooks have been created!

  • Page Locking: Page locking allows teachers to prevent unwanted editing by students. Teachers can lock pages as read-only after giving feedback to the student but can still edit the locked pages themselves. Read more about Page locking in OneNote Class Notebooks here.
  • Teacher Transfer: This highly requested tool allows school IT professional to help transfer Class Notebooks from one teacher to another or to different schools when teachers change positions, saving valuable time and information.

Page Locking in OneNote for Windows 10

Microsoft Forms helps teachers quickly create polls, quizzes, and assessments, and see results as they come in. Microsoft Forms is simple to use, works on any browser and device, and lets you assign points for automatic grading.

  • Math Quiz: With additional tools to create math questions and worksheets, teachers can broaden the type of questions they ask in Forms to better assess Math skills. Read more about Math Quiz in Microsoft Forms here.

Microsoft Sway helps teachers and students easily create immersive, interactive presentations with images, text, videos, and other multimedia.

  • Refreshed iOS app: Updates to the iOS app include new commands that make it a breeze to add and organize content on-the-go.  Students and teachers will be able to easily incorporate their mobile captures, use drag-and-drop, tap to resize content, and instantly work together by using Sways Near Me.  Read more about the updates in our latest blog post.

Microsoft MakeCode brings computer science to life for all students with fun projects, immediate results, and both block and text editors for learners at different levels. MakeCode takes a unique approach to Computing Education by combining the magic of Making with the power of Code as a way to make learning about computers and technology more accessible, and interesting to a wider audience of students.

  • MakeCode for LEGO MINDSTORMS: Microsoft MakeCode provides a very easy on-ramp into robotics with LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 by providing students with both a block-based, and text-based coding environment.  And because it’s browser-based, schools can use MakeCode for MINDSTORMS on any computer. For more details view this blog post.

 

 The Microsoft Photos app features a built-in video editor, making it easy for you and your students to create movies using photos, video clips, music, 3D models, and Hollywood-style special effects. Whether it’s a group history project, a lab report, or a music video just for fun, you can quickly sequence your project, add titles, drop in music, and enhance your story with special effects.

  • Timeline scrollbar: The new timeline scrollbar makes it easy to jump to a specific month or year to see the photos and videos you captured on a that date. The scrollbar is tailored to your collection, showing you at a glance where your biggest capture sessions have been and how your photos and videos are distributed over time.

Change the date on a photo or video: Have you ever taken pictures on a camera that didn’t have the date and time set correctly? Now it’s easy to get that media showing up correctly in your collection. Just right-click on an image or video to change the date.

Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. are offering free MIE workshops:

You might already be familiar with the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) program, which teaches educators of all levels how to integrate technology and Microsoft tools into the classroom to improve their students’ learning experience. This program was previously only offered online, but now for the first time ever, Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. are offering free MIE workshops for educators who prefer an in-person learning experience.

Workshops are taught by associates who are certified MIE Experts, and just like the online MIE training programs, educators earn credit to become a certified MIE. To learn more, educators are invited to stop in anytime at their local Microsoft Store and speak with the Community Development Specialist.

If you focus on IT:

Intune for Education makes it easy to set up and manage Windows 10 devices in just a few steps, including deploying apps or settings to users, and managing shared devices.

  • User and Device Details Pages: At a basic level, administrators want to be sure that everything is working as expected so that the in-classroom experience is focused on learning. The basic question we hear from these admins is: “When student ‘X’ signed in to device ‘Y’, what should have been applied and what was actually applied?”  To help resolve this requirement, we have added a key feature for admins: Once they find the user/device in the management console, they can now see which settings and apps should be applied plus the deployment status for a user/device.

School Data Sync (SDS) simplifies class creation and management in Office 365. SDS reads from your Student Information Systems (SIS) and creates classes and groups for Microsoft Teams, OneNote Class Notebooks, Intune for Education, and third-party applications. Best of all, it’s free!

  • Education Security Groups: SDS creates new Education Security Groups by default. The new groups will include the All Teachers, All Students, Teachers of School, and Students of School. These groups can be used for Intune for Education device policy, Group Based Licensing, Conditional Access Policy, and several other O365 security management features.
  • Expired Class Management: SDS provides options to rename expired classes, remove student access from expired classes. This new experience simplifies class management for term transition and back-to-school cycles.

To learn more about Microsoft Education and our tools and technology that help foster inclusion and support personalizing learning for every student, click here.

Microsoft Buys GitHub for $7.5 Billion, Going Back to Its Roots

Microsoft Corp. is buying GitHub Inc. for $7.5 billion in stock, bringing in house a community of 28 million programmers who publish code openly and extending a shift away from a strategy of shrouding its software in secrecy.

The move is both a return to Microsoft’s earliest software-development roots and a sharp turnaround from its stance on open-source software a decade ago. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said the deal, expected to close by the end of this year, will speed moves into the cloud and artificial intelligence.

“Computing is becoming embedded in the world, with every part of our daily life and work and every aspect of our society and economy being transformed by digital technology,” Nadella wrote in a blog post Monday. “Developers are the builders of this new era, writing the world’s code. And GitHub is their home.”

GitHub, a 10-year old San Francisco-based startup, was founded as a way for software developers to share and collaborate on coding tools and is an essential platform for many open-source programmers.

Microsoft wasn’t always so welcoming to such coders, who were seen as a threat to the company’s business as a commercial software company. Co-founder Bill Gates and former Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer championed developers building proprietary software for Microsoft, not the kind of open-source projects found on GitHub.

In fact, in the early 2000s, Ballmer and his team were highly critical of that kind of a project, calling it a “cancer” and saying that it went against “the American Way.”

A lot has changed since then. Under Nadella, who took over four years ago, Microsoft has been increasingly relying on open-source software to add programming tools, and the purchase of GitHub lets it tie up with a company that has become a key part of the way Microsoft writes its own software. Microsoft is now supporting many flavors of Linux, an open-source operating system, and has used open models on some significant cloud and developer products itself. This deal will mark another dramatic step in that direction.

The acquisition reflects Microsoft’s “ongoing pivot to open-source software, seeking to further broaden its large and growing development community,” said Richard Lane, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft is now one of the biggest contributors to GitHub, and as Nadella moves the company away from complete dependence on the Windows operating system to more in-house development on Linux, the company needs new ways to connect with the broader developer community.

Not all the developers are happy about being controlled by the world’s biggest software company. “Anybody active in the open source community should be upset that Microsoft is going to be the steward of this large body of code,” said coder Jacques Mattheij. He said he deleted his GitHub account.

Nadella acknowledged that he’ll have to earn the trust of GitHub’s users, but also said that Microsoft is “all in on open source.”

Satya Nadella

Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg

“Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness and innovation,” Nadella said in the statement.

The deal will add to Microsoft’s operating income in its fiscal year 2020, the company said in a statement Monday. The shares were up 0.6 percent to $101.38 at 9:55 a.m. in New York.

For GitHub, which has been trying for nine months to find a new chief executive officer and has yet to make a profit, the acquisition provides a new way forward.

GitHub, which will operate independently, will be led by Nat Friedman, the former CEO of Xamarin and a current Microsoft developer-tools executive. It will continue to support the programming languages, tools and operating systems of the user’s choice.

GitHub preferred selling the company to going public and chose Microsoft partially because it was impressed by Nadella, a person familiar with the deal said on Sunday.

While GitHub is used by Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Microsoft to store corporate code and collaborate, the company’s losses have been significant — it lost $66 million over three quarters in 2016. It had revenue of $98 million in nine months of 2016.

Microsoft has talked to GitHub on and off for a few years. Recently they began talks about a partnership but progressed to discussing an acquisition, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The deal is the third of Nadella’s four-year tenure that’s valued at above $2 billion, following LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion and the maker of the Minecraft video game, Mojang AB, in 2014 for $2.5 billion.

“The company gained, we understand, confidence in their ability to make large successful acquisitions with first Minecraft and more recently LinkedIn,” said Mark Moerdler, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., in a note to clients. “Each acquisition has been defined by an asset that was unique in its own way and could be leveraged in multiple parts of Microsoft. We can understand why GitHub would show that same level of uniqueness as it is the primary repository and cloud service developers use to store and share their code.”

GitHub was last valued at $2 billion in 2015, making today’s deal a win for GitHub backers like Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Morgan Stanley acted as GitHub’s banker, while Fenwick & West LLP served as legal adviser. Microsoft’s legal adviser was Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.