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Delivering information and eliminating bottlenecks with CDC’s COVID-19 assessment bot – The Official Microsoft Blog

In a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not only important to deliver medical care but to also provide information to help people make decisions and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed.

Microsoft is helping with this challenge by offering its Healthcare Bot service powered by Microsoft Azure to organizations on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response to help screen patients for potential infection and care.

For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a COVID-19 assessment bot that can quickly assess the symptoms and risk factors for people worried about infection, provide information and suggest a next course of action such as contacting a medical provider or, for those who do not need in-person medical care, managing the illness safely at home.

The bot, which utilizes Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service, will initially be available on the CDC website.

Public health organizations, hospitals and others on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response need to be able to respond to inquiries, provide the public with up-to-date outbreak information, track exposure, quickly triage new cases and guide next steps.  Many have expressed great concern about the overwhelming demand COVID-19 is creating on resources such as urgent, emergency and nursing care.

In particular, the need to screen patients with any number of cold or flu-like symptoms — to determine who has high enough risk factors to need access to limited medical resources and which people may more safely care for themselves at home — is a bottleneck that threatens to overwhelm health systems coping with the crisis.

Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service is one solution that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help the CDC and other frontline organizations respond to these inquiries, freeing up doctors, nurses, administrators and other healthcare professionals to provide critical care to those who need it.

The Healthcare Bot service is a scalable Azure-based public cloud service that allows organizations to quickly build and deploy an AI-powered bot for websites or applications that can offer patients or the general public personalized access to health-related information through a natural conversation experience. It can be easily customized to suit an organization’s own scenarios and protocols.

To assist customers in the rapid deployment of their COVID-19 bots, Microsoft is making available a set of COVID-19 response templates that customers can use and modify:

  • COVID-19 risk assessment based on CDC guidelines
  • COVID-19 clinical triage based on CDC protocols
  • COVID-19 up-to-date answers to frequently asked questions
  • COVID-19 worldwide metrics
COVID-19 assessment bot screenshots
Screenshots from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 assessment bot.

Providence, one of the largest health systems in the U.S. headquartered near Seattle and serving seven Western states, had previously used Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service running on Azure to create a healthcare chatbot named Grace that could help answer patient’s questions online. Using CDC guidelines and its own clinical protocols, Providence was able to build a similar Coronavirus Assessment Tool in just three days to help people in the communities it serves know whether they should seek medical attention for their respiratory symptoms.

The tool, which launched in early March, can bring a prospective patient directly into a telehealth session with a clinician to get immediate care.  It also aims to prevent healthy people or those with mild symptoms from showing up at clinics and emergency departments, which helps to limit community infection and save hospital beds and equipment for those who need it.

Other providers who are now using Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service to respond to COVID-19 inquiries include:

Virginia Mason Health System, based in Seattle and serving the Pacific Northwest region, has created a patient assessment Healthcare Bot to help its patients understand whether care is needed. The instance is live and has thousands of daily users.

Novant Health, a healthcare provider in four states in the Southeast with one of the largest medical groups in the country, has created a Healthcare bot for COVID-19 information that went live on its website within a few days, with thousands of daily users since its launch.

Across all users, customized instances of Microsoft’s Healthcare Bot service are now fielding more than 1 million messages per day from members of the public who are concerned about COVID-19 infections — a number we expect to escalate quickly to meet growing needs. We hope the answers it can provide will curb anxiety that the “worried well” may experience without clear guidance and save lives by speeding the path to care for those who need it most.

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Ended support for Windows Server 2008 leaves clients circumspect

It’s understandable that organizations haven’t immediately parted with Microsoft Windows Server 2008.

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2008 in January, forcing organizations to consider making wholesale changes to how they manage and control their technology stacks. But as with any trusted technology, the server operating system has been a reliable backbone since its release more than a decade ago, a timeframe that coincided with enterprises increasingly depending on applications and networks to drive business.

Change is always hard, and a change of this magnitude won’t happen overnight, especially when the alternative could mean shifting a large chunk of operations to the cloud, which is what Microsoft hopes for as it promotes its Azure cloud platform as an option. A big embrace of the cloud is a big step for companies that still depend on on-premises mainframes.

“Even though it’s the end of life for 2008, many still think it’s not necessary to move yet,” said Craig McQueen, vice president of innovation for the Toronto-based MSP Softchoice. “Some customers don’t want to move too quickly because it’s difficult to see the business benefits.” And even if a company recognizes they’re more susceptible to security risks with Microsoft no longer providing patches and updates to Windows Server 2008, “the life of an IT person is so busy that migration drags on,” he said.

Customers weigh Window Server 2008 transitions

Craig McQueenCraig McQueen

McQueen and representatives of three other Microsoft partners didn’t offer a number on how many customers have shifted or will soon shift away from Windows Server 2008. But they all said the majority of their customers will, for a little while longer, operate on the side of familiarity.

Many of those customers indicated they will eventually start migrating to Azure or another cloud computing platform, perhaps later this year or next year, but many others still need to make a decision. Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on Jan. 14, coming off the heels of a July 2019 end-of-life date for SQL Server 2008.

Rob LeachRob Leach

Companies that haven’t yet committed to halting use of Windows Server 2008 aren’t ignorant of security risks, according to Microsoft partners. For every day that passes, they know threat actors increase their efforts to exploit vulnerabilities in the old operating system. “[Windows Server 2008 users] know all about security breaches, and they should do everything necessary to protect themselves. They don’t want to be on the front page of The Wall Street Journal,” said Rob Leach, the North American Azure lead for the Seattle IT consulting company Avanade.

But the desire to break free of Windows Server 2008 and other mainframe servers is often tempered by contractual and budgetary considerations, Leach said. Many Avanade customers haven’t yet entirely shifted to cloud because they are contractually obligated to on-premises servers until those leases expired. But Leach said he expects to see an increase in cloud migrations over the next few years and Azure to be an attractive option because it would be a lift and shift within the Microsoft family.

Even when companies can immediately take advantage of cloud, they nonetheless proceed cautiously, Leach said. Customers want to see specific proof points for how cloud can boost the bottom line over the long haul. “It’s not just about technology,” he said. “It also has to make good business sense.”

David RodriguezDavid Rodriguez

David Rodriguez, the national director of cloud platforms for the consulting firm Core BTS Inc. in Garden City, N.Y., said the effective end of Windows Server 2008 support won’t be the sole driving force behind his customers’ shift to cloud, but having the end-of-service date “hanging over their heads” will be a factor.

How Microsoft partners can support Azure migrations

Core BTS helps customers overcome any hesitations about cloud, Rodriguez said. “We provide detailed reports with not only a line-by-line breakdown of what each [cloud] service will cost, but also what it will take to reinvest in a new VM host,” he said. “We compare side by side the estimated spend if you just upgrade hardware on-premises to what cloud costs.” Some are already making the move to a Microsoft cloud, migrating to either Azure VM or Hyper-V, he added.

With an opportunity to sell the benefits of cloud technology, Microsoft partners say they also have a legitimate opening to upsell other services that are related to cloud, including microservices, containers and AI-supported applications.

“The journey to the cloud is crawl, walk and run,” Rodriguez said. “With the ‘walk’ phase … you start to take applications they have in a VM, in the cloud, and look for more platform offerings.” For instance, some proprietary applications might work well with containerization. The “run” phase could mean making better use of the data in the cloud by integrating it through a suite of AI applications. “The journey to the cloud can be a complete transformation,” he said.

Rory McCawRory McCaw

Rory McCaw, president of enterprise advisory services at Green House Data, a Cheyenne, Wyo., enterprise advisory service, likes to point to client success stories to assuage doubts about cloud migration. One such story centers on an agricultural company in Omaha, Neb., that had relied on mainframe servers, including some usage of Windows Server 2008. The company recently shifted to Azure, on which it built a mobile application that lets its trucking fleet better manage its transport of soybeans, he said.

Still, even though the end of support for Windows Server 2008 is a bridge to cloud, companies will always keep some applications running on premises, McCaw noted. Some applications are so critical and embedded in processes that it sometimes makes sense to leave them alone, at least for now.

McCaw knows some companies that still run Windows 2000 to accommodate those unique apps. “It is firewalled but still going due to the type of application running on it or an inability for it to be modernized,” he said. In some instances, he added, the critical application was built internally, but its creators have since left the company and took their knowledge of the program with them.

Determining what migrates and what stays is part of Microsoft partners’ migration plans for their customers. Executives don’t anticipate problems migrating from Windows Server 2008 as long as the planning process is thorough and the client’s goals are considered. “It’s really just about trying to understand what they want to accomplish,” McCaw said. “It’s collecting as much information as possible, and not [really] selling anyone … anything, but instead presenting them with ideas they haven’t considered … [so] they can then decide with their knowledge of their own business.”

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For Sale – Oculus Rift VR headset

Hi

Selling my Oculus Rift as it’s just not getting used that much. I have only used it to play the occasional game of Beat Sabre and Project Cars VR and so the condition is very good, it comes boxed with everything apart from the lens cleaning cloth.

If anybody is looking to get into PC VR then this is still a great starting point.

Pictures below.

Thanks for looking.

Location
St.Helens
Price and currency
£190
Delivery cost included
Delivery Is Included
Prefer goods collected?
I have no preference
Advertised elsewhere?
Not advertised elsewhere
Payment method
PPG

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Live from BETT: What’s new in EDU–Fostering an accessible, inclusive classroom that works for all students | | Microsoft EDU

It’s Day 3 of Bett, where we’ve been bringing you updates and insights into how to use the latest and most effective ed tech tools and resources. It’s our final day live streaming from London. We explored how educators can help students develop communication, and collaboration skills while using free tools like Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams in our Day 1 episode here and we shared how you can prepare students for jobs of the future in our Day 2 episode here. Today, we want to talk about how to use built-in accessible tools at no extra cost and the power of joining an innovative and caring community of like-minded innovators in education.

Today, we’ll dive into ways to provide students with personalized learning, how to foster inclusion to meet the needs of all the learners in your classroom, and the power of joining a global community devoted to improving equity in education. At Microsoft, we’re committed to providing you and your students with built-in accessibility tools at no extra cost. These can improve language, literacy and numeracy skills and give students of all abilities independence and the opportunity to learn without stigma.  

In this episode we will show you how:  

  • You can use available Immersive Reader features in the new Microsoft Edge  
  • You can now use Office 365 Education online for free, from anywhere, with built-in tools for accessibility  
  • You can promote student confidence and capacity to learn and improve independently with powerful learning tools 

For starters, we want to share this inspiring story about Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where the entire community is focused on creating equitable, inclusive and accessible learning environments. Check out this case study and video below to learn about how the district went about meeting the needs of all students and how administrators support teachers in accessing education technology in ways that advance teaching and learning goals. 

Video for Live from BETT: What’s new in EDU–Fostering an accessible, inclusive classroom that works for all students

The new Microsoft Edge– supporting inclusive learning 

The web should have built-in flexibility and accessibility to support you and every student in your classroom. The new Microsoft Edge web browser supports inclusive classrooms with built-in Microsoft Learning Tools and helps every student learn and benefit from the web. Immersive Reader capabilities in Microsoft Edge help students, particularly struggling readers, stay engaged and promote reading skills. While using Microsoft Edge, teachers and students can use Immersive Reader to change text size to improve readability and hear text read aloud. Additional Immersive Reader capabilities that allow users to customize their experience will come later this year. 

Learning Tools 

Today’s classrooms have students with diverse learning needs, and as teachers, we know you have a strong desire to effectively reach every one of your students. Microsoft Learning Tools enable teachers to provide differentiated support to all students in reading, writing, and math as well as communication. We have updates below! 

Reading 

Immersive Reader 

We’re thrilled that the Immersive Reader learning tool continues to come to more platforms. The full-screen reading experience improves the readability of content in many ways, including by enabling users to tailor text size, fonts, spacing, line focus, read-aloud capabilities and more.

Here’s some additional Immersive Reader news: 

  • Spotlight on The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria and Azure AI partner Buncee: We’re inspired by the way that schools like the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria (TYWLS) are using Immersive Reader to empower readers of all ages and reading abilities. Learn more about their story and how Azure AI is enabling partners to build accessible applications in our blog.

Video for Live from BETT: What’s new in EDU–Fostering an accessible, inclusive classroom that works for all students

  • Six new immersive Reader partners: Today we are excited to highlight six new partners who are integrating the Immersive Reader: FlocabularyHaldorHelperbirditsLearningKidblog and Pear Deck.  These are the latest of six partners that have integrated the Immersive Reader, which is an Azure Cognitive Service.  To see the growing list of Immersive Reader partners, bookmark this link
  • Office Lens for iOS and Android both now have the full Immersive Reader experience integrated with the latest updates for both iPhone and iPad. Office Lens on Android (all platforms) will be shipping a similar update in spring. Office Lens is a free mobile scanning app. It offers a great way to capture text from a document or elsewhere without manually having to retype it. 
  • Language updates: Parts of speech in Immersive Reader allows students to label nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. We’ve rolled out parts of speech for Arabic. We’ve also added the ability to translate to and from the Maori and Gaelic languages in the Immersive Reader. These will also be available in Live Presentations in PowerPoint for the Web. 
  • Immersive Reader for Microsoft Forms is now available globally for students and educators, so they can leverage Immersive Reader tools as they create or take a quiz.  

Writing 

Dictation (speech to text) is an important technology that allows people to easily type with their voice. It is especially helpful for those with dyslexia, dysgraphia or mobility impairments. In addition to about a dozen languages already available, we are rolling out Dictation support in public preview for five new languages: Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish. These languages will start rolling out in Word, OneNote, Outlook and PowerPoint Desktop and web in late January.   

Math 

Equation Tools in OneNote for Windows 10  

We’re thrilled to let you know that we’re starting to roll out Equation Tools in OneNote for Windows 10. Equation Tools allows students to input and make changes to math equations more easily than by typing those in with a keyboard. To get started, all you do is press the Equation button in the ribbon Insert tab in OneNote on your Windows 10 device and choose from a range of structures and math symbols to build up equations.  

We believe an inclusive math class is one where students have a variety of methods for inputting equations because we know different learners have different styles and needs, and we’re so glad to add this resource to the classroom toolbox!  

Math Assistant in OneNote for iPad 

We’re excited to announce we’re bringing Math Assistant in OneNote to iPad users this spring. We heard you say you wanted Math Assistant on this platform, and we worked hard to make it happen. It’s easy to use–all you do to get started is log into your Office 365 Education account in OneNote on your iPad and press the Math button on the ribbon Draw tab. 

You’ll be able to use the tool to help you solve equations and see solution steps to help build student understanding. Look out for additional updates to the app, such as the ability to graph equations and generate practice quizzes, which is popular on other platforms, after Bett and ahead of back-to-school season.  

For more on inclusive math tools, check out this interactive guide.  

Windows graphing calculator for Windows 10 

We’re excited to announce that Windows Calculator is getting a new feature: graphing mode. We’re adding this feature to every Windows 10 and 10S PC for students and teachers to help with instruction related to graphing concepts. Educators and students will be able to use this free tool right from their devices, without having to buy an expensive graphing calculator. It will help users plot and analyze multiple equations and manipulate equation variables to help understand how changes to equations affect graphs. 

The graphing mode in Windows Calculator is available now through our Microsoft Insider program and will be refined and released for a general audience before back-to-school season.  

We’re excited to make this feature available to Windows 10 users, offering a built-in, easy-to-use tool that can help create a more inclusive learning environment. Many of you have asked if educators can disable the feature if they need to, for assessments for example, and the answer is yes. It’s yours to use with your students, as that makes sense. 

We welcome your feedback. We’ve open sourced the Windows Calculator app on GitHub, which means those of you who are computer science educators, or have some background knowledge, can study the source code, build system, unit tests and product roadmap and offer new ideas for improvements. We always enjoy seeing educators, and sometimes their students, get involved in this kind of collaboration. If you see a feature that is missing, build it yourself and add it to the graphing calculator! You can read more here

Communication  

OneNote Live Captions. As we noted in our Bett kickoff post, a recent study at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP), found that 42 percent of students use closed captions to help maintain focus and 38 percent use interactive transcripts to help them better retain information. In addition, student outcomes improve with the use of transcripts. This month, we are rolling out a private preview of OneNote that allows any student to connect OneNote to a Microsoft Translator captions via a Join Code and receive the captions and translation stream.  

This allows captions from the educator speaking to flow directly into OneNote for reading, while still allowing the student to take notes. In addition, the student can pause the captions, highlight portions, and then have the entire transcription saved as a page into OneNote. This feature will benefit all learners but especially those who may be hard of hearing or speak multiple languages. We’ll start by rolling out OneNote Live Captions in private Beta in early February with more general availability to follow.  

Empower Every Voice with Flipgrid: Microsoft’s free video discussion platform!

NEW! Edit captions, launch the Immersive Reader on video transcripts, and more. Flipgrid enables you to empower every voice in your classroom by recording and sharing short, awesome videos … together! Since last year, Flipgrid revolutionized the camera, adding trimming and rearranging clips, whiteboard mode, live inking, and more. Furthermore, every video is now automatically transcribed and close-captioned by Microsoft Azure. Take engagement to the next level by “sticking” videos ANYWHERE with the transformative Flipgrid AR. Inspired by your feedback and ideas, the Flipgrid team is constantly innovating and improving for you, your community, and your peers from 190 countries around the world.

Wrapping it up 

Thanks for checking out our latest episode of What’s New in EDU, live from Bett 2020 and those we brought you earlier in the week. We’ve enjoyed meeting so many innovative and passionate educators here in London. And we hope you found the information we brought you to be helpful. Please check out our new tech tools, free teacher training resources, STEM and computer science materials and advice on boosting future-ready skills in your students. As always, share your feedback with us on Twitter by tagging @MicrosoftEDU! 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

Live from Bett: What’s new in EDU– Change within the Microsoft Educator Center and fostering future-ready skills in students | | Microsoft EDU

It’s Day 2 of Bett and we’re back, ready to share the latest innovations in education technology and helping you get you started using the new tools and resources we announced last week. You can tune in live to watch special episodes of “What’s new in EDU” each day of Bett at 5:00PM Local London time or noon EST and 9 am PT. Here’s where you go on Thursday  and Friday. In our episode yesterday, we talked about choosing and managing devices and various ways educators can help students strengthen their communication and collaboration skills while using free tools like Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams. If you missed that episode, you can check it out here

Today we want to show you how to create learning experiences that inspire creativity, deepen student engagement and develop high-level cognitive skills. And we’ll tell you about free resources you can use to ensure your students are developing the future-ready skills they need to be prepared for success in college and careers.   

In this episode we’ll show you how:  

  • You can help teachers adopt new technology with free teacher training online in the improved Microsoft Educator Center and from Microsoft Stores
  • You can access STEM Lessons from Discovery Education directly from within Teams using the new Discovery Education app for Teams 
  • You can inspire creativity and professional skills for the Windows Video Editor 
  • Coming soon: You can teach students how to code using Python with Minecraft: Education Edition and Microsoft MakeCode 
  • You can use Minecraft to develop social-emotional skills like digital citizenship and mindfulness

 

Microsoft Educator Center 

We’re introducing an updated and improved MEC. The Microsoft Educator Center is a platform designed to address the needs of educators. It’s a digital hub where you can find free content, training and support to help you use technology effectively and drive improved student outcomes. 

The MEC is home to innovative courses and resources built by teachers for teachers. You can earn badges, go deep on topics through learning paths, build your transcript and grow your expertise. It’s a resource to help you gain new skills related to bringing technology into the classroom, fostering student-center learning, developing future ready skills, creating inclusive and accessible environments and more. Check out the new MEC experience here

STEM and CS 

We’re excited to announce that Discovery Education– the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content, and professional learning for K-12 classrooms– is releasing a new app for Microsoft Teams, the digital hub for bringing classroom content, conversations, assignments and apps together. If you’re using Discovery Education’s high-quality, digital resources for instruction, we know you’ll be thrilled to see those materials available within Microsoft Teams. This integration will save you time, help keep your classes organized, and provide greater opportunities to collaborate with your students and colleagues. 

You’ll be able to access Discovery Education’s rich, standards-aligned STEM, Science, Math, Social Studies content and more from within Teams from your device and, connect to the largest educator community of its kind, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), and very soon, share content with students as an assignment within Teams. We’ll have more to come on that, so keep an eye on our Microsoft Educator Center for training opportunities. And check out the steps below for how to get started. 


MakeCode News 

We’re excited to announce the release of Microsoft MakeCode Arcade for general availability. Microsoft MakeCode Arcade is a new online game development environment for simple, visually appealing 2D sprite-based games. Students use drag-and-drop blocks or JavaScript to design and build games and collaborate with friends. Microsoft MakeCode is an open source, free platform for creating inclusive computer science learning experiences that support a progression from blocks to real-world text-based programming. Educators around the world have been using MakeCode for the micro:bit or MakeCode with Minecraft to introduce computing concepts into their classrooms.  


We are thrilled to have this new member of the Microsoft MakeCode family in MakeCode Arcade. It’s a great next step up from MakeCode for micro:bit, a development environment that’s popular with educators and students just starting off with coding. The early feedback from MakeCode Arcade Beta users has been positive. Educators say they’re finding MakeCode Arcade to be a draw for diverse learners, and that students love designing their own characters and bringing special effects and music into their games. For those ready to give MakeCode Arcade a try, you can find the latest updates on free curriculum resources here. And you and your students can get started now with this free tutorial here. No login needed! 

And in another exciting MakeCode development, we are thrilled to announce that MakeCode will support the Python programming language alongside support for JavaScript and Blocks. Python is a widely used programming language in education and data science, and we heard from many computer science teachers around the world, that they would like to see MakeCode support for Python.  


Minecraft: Education Edition 

Computational thinking is a vital skill to develop in students as we prepare them for the workplace, especially since the vast majority of future jobs will require digital skills. Teachers can introduce computer science to students of all ages with Minecraft: Education Editionwhich also now supports the Python programming language for MakeCode alongside JavaScript and block-based coding.

From easy Hour of Code tutorials to Computer Science curriculum based on CSTA standards, Minecraft offers all you need to teach coding across the STEM curriculum. Download a free coding demo lesson here for all Windows, Mac, and iPad users—no login required.

In addition to developing STEM skills, students are building social-emotional competencies with Minecraft: Education Edition. A new set of SEL lessons for Minecraft: Education Edition offers special lessons and immersive Minecraft worlds to help educators teach these skills and create inclusive classrooms. Discover the Mindful Knight—an interactive world that introduces mindfulness and self-regulation—and lessons on digital citizenship and empathy.

Curious what else Minecraft offers? Now you can access more than 200 lessons and 50 build challenges with the new and improved in-game Library. Whether you teach history, math, language arts, technology, or biology, Minecraft is an effective tool for engaging students in immersive project-based learning across the curriculum. Check out this story from educators in Ireland and learn how to get started with Minecraft: Education Edition in your school here.

STEM Lesson Plans

Microsoft Hacking STEM is a collection of free, standards-aligned lesson plans that bring project-based learning to the classroom using inexpensive, everyday materials.    

In November 2019, the world celebrated the 20-year anniversary of humans living aboard the International Space Station. To inspire and engage students, Microsoft Education and NASA have partnered and developed eight new lesson plans focused around the complex issues to think about when living in space. The collection of middle and high school materials connects core academic concepts with hands-on experiences. Students are challenged to design in 3D, analyze data, build sensors, and use virtual reality and work with machine learning and AI while engaging in discussions about living in space. 

We are also excited to share that  Carolina Biological Supply Company is launching three new classroom kits to support projects from the NASA collection. These projects include:  

  • Designing Astro Socks to protect astronauts’ feet in microgravity: This project has students investigating solutions to reduce the impact of working in microgravity on the astronauts’ feet.  
  • What is the electromagnetic spectrum: This asks students to measure radiation in our environment and examine the light waves and frequencies within the electromagnetic spectrum. Students use sensors to capture live data and relate their observations about life in space to their own on Earth.  
  • Using materials science engineering to determine heat resistance: This asksstudents to explore the properties of different heat shield construction materials to protect crew and cargo returning from the International Space Station from the heat generated during the capsule’s descent.   

These kits will be available on the Carolinawebsite soon. We hope you leverage these resources to inspire, educate and engage your students.    

Data Streamer

The Excel Data Streamer provides students with a simple way to bring data from the physical world in and out of Excel’s powerful digital canvas. With a sensor connected to a microcontroller that is attached to Excel, you can introduce students to the emerging worlds of data science and the internet of things.  

We are continuing to add key STEM Partners that support streaming of real time data in Excel using the Data Streamer Add-in. At Bett, Vernier, Pasco and Sphero are showcasing new applications integrated with Excel. This will enable educators to use their existing professional sensors and probes with Excel and modernize their classrooms with live data to transform how students model modern scientific and engineering practices.  

An innovation story 

We love hearing stories about educators who use new tech tools in innovative ways to inform instruction and improve teaching and learning. One such story is that of Assistant Principal Lauren Taylor of Manitou Park Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington. She used Microsoft PowerApps, which allows you to build your own mobile apps using templates, to create an app for her school that helps teachers input and evaluate student reading assessment data. Read more about Lauren’s inspiring story here.  

New and immersive tools 

HoloLens 2 is now available and bringing immersive mixed-reality experiences to colleges, universities, and K-12 classrooms. Educators are turning to this new tool to enhance key experiences in areas such as life sciences and career and technical education. Some of the upgrades to the new HoloLens include an increased field of view and an enhanced ability to see intricate details on 3D images.  

Some examples of HoloLens in use in educational settings include Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, where students use it in anatomy classes. You can learn more about that here. And we’ve seen exciting examples of the HoloLens bringing lessons to life with younger students as well. Ewout Warringa recently offered insights into how he uses it to teach construction and technology coursework to 13- to 17-year-old students in the Netherlands in this inspiring blog post

And if you want to read up on various ways to bring immersive experiences to education and the potential benefits, please check out this white paper we previously released on the subject. 

New 3D Models in Windows and Office 

We are excited to announce we now have more than 600 new 3D education models available in Office 365 Education and Paint3D, a built-in creative app that comes with Windows 10. You read that right—more than 600!  

To learn more about how you can insert 3D models directly into Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook on Windows and macOS, please check out this post. It’s relatively easy. You insert 3D models much like you insert other images.  

3D models can enhance lessons in biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, the humanities and more. Research has shown that providing 3D visualization for students can lead to greater understanding around shapes and spatial relationships. 

Inspiring Creativity and offering new ways for students to share what they know 


Video Editor 
 

We have updates to Video Editor that we know you and your students will enjoy. Video Editor for Windows 10 is our full-featured set of video creation and editing tools for digital storytelling, and it’s free with every Windows 10 device. Students love to use it to create films with background music, text effects, 3D models and special effects. Now with Video Editor you can: 

  • Split video clips into two or more segments for easier editing 
  • Back up projects to share with peers and teachers, create templates, and import projects in progress to create a more efficient workflow 
  • Add content to your video project directly from Bing image search with Creative Commons licenses as captions  
  • Speed up and slow down video clips to create slow motion or time lapse content  
  • Rotate photos and videos between landscape and portrait for easier use in your projects
  • Have card thumbnails for a video project that reflect edits a user has done to that specific card  

If you haven’t tried Video Editor yet, look for it in your Start Menu or search for “Video.” And check out this guide for more details on how to get started using this creative tool. 

Up Next… 

Thanks for checking out our latest episode of What’s New in EDU, live from Bett. We hope you got some useful information about teacher training, bringing STEM resources into your classroom and ideas for boosting future-ready skills in your students. Please join us tomorrow live from Bett when we’ll look closely at specific ways to foster inclusion and accessibility in the classroom with the help of new ed tech resources. As always, share your feedback with us on Twitter by tagging @MicrosoftEDU! And be sure to sign up for the Microsoft Educator Newsletter here. 

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Author: Microsoft News Center

For Sale – Dell 9370 i7 FHD, Dell 7590 i7 UHD touch, Alienware m15 r1 GTX 1070

Hi Adam

I’ll make an offer of £800 for the 7590.

Before you jump to the conclusion it’s a lowball offer it’s because I can get the same spec direct from the Dell outlet for £1295.

Refurbished Cheap Laptops and 2-in-1 PCs: Dell Outlet | Dell UK

The offer is based on the fact that I’d have a contract with Dell so if there’s any repeat of the expanding battery issue (or any other potential long term fault) I can go after Dell from a legal viewpoint, I can’t do that if I buy a unit second hand from a private individual. Legal liability is over and above warranty coverage and is worth that level of difference to me, simplistically if they decide not to undertake a warranty issue as they don’t ‘agree’ with the claim then there’s nothing I can do unless I bought it from them directly.

I realise you’re pretty unlikely to accept the offer but put it out there for you to consider.

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Author:

Veeam’s Timashev discusses selling company, next steps

It’s the end of an era at Veeam Software.

Ratmir Timashev and Andrei Baronov are stepping away from the backup, recovery and data management company they founded in 2006. Private equity firm Insight Partners said last week it would acquire Veeam in a transaction that valued Veeam at $5 billion. Timashev said it was his decision to step down from the board of directors and from his position of executive vice president of sales and marketing. He will remain in those roles until the sale closes, likely by the end of the first quarter. Baronov has left his CEO position and will relinquish his spot on the board.

Timashev held the CEO job from 2006 to 2016, and has been the most public face of Veeam. Timashev said he feels he’s leaving Veeam in good hands. For example, William Largent, who has served in various positions since the beginning of the company, returned to the role of CEO.

“At some point, the founders have to step down,” Timashev said in an interview.

He expressed confidence in Insight Partners as the new owner. The firm had invested $500 million in Veeam a year ago and first invested in the company in 2013.

Timashev seemed excited for the future of Veeam, which started in backup for virtual infrastructure and has since expanded to cover cloud and physical environments. It has grown in that time into a billion-dollar annual revenue company and claims 365,000 users and 70,000 partners.

Timashev said Veeam has conquered the VMware backup market and will next tackle the hybrid cloud in its “act two.” He specifically called out four targets in Veeam’s focus: AWS, Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Google. The transition includes a move to subscription pricing.

Timashev, 53, this week discussed why the founders decided to sell the company, what the sale could mean for customers, and what he plans to do next.

What was behind the decision to sell the company now?

Veeam's Ratmir TimashevRatmir Timashev

Ratmir Timashev: We felt that it’s good timing for us to accelerate our growth globally, but also specifically in the U.S. Insight has been our strategic partner since 2013. But I’ve known Insight since 2001.

We believe right now the whole industry, as well as Veeam, is in a transition to what we call “act two.” For us, “act one” was dominating the highly virtualized, modern, on-premises data center, from the data management and backup point of view. And we’ve done a great job in the last 10 years.

The whole industry and also Veeam is going through a large transition to a hybrid cloud and pay-as-you-go subscription model. It’s a difficult transition, but we believe that we will be successful.

So, we thought that Insight, with the industry experience — and experience with different business models and software companies — would be a great partner to take us to this next level.

Will you still be involved in Veeam?

Timashev: I will be involved in the transition and then my role will be more on a consultant basis.

How long do you see the transition lasting?

Timashev: We don’t know — [at least] until the deal is closed, which is expected by the end of Q1. The transition might [end] sometime after that. But I will not be employed by Veeam when the transaction closes. 

What would you like to see during the transition period? What are some of your goals while you’re still employed with Veeam?

Timashev: We want to make sure that employees understand that not a lot of changes will occur. This acquisition is not about reducing the cost or shrinking the expenses. It’s about growth.

Sometimes when a private equity firm buys a company, in an industry or segment that is not growing, their goal is to reduce the costs. That’s not the case with Veeam because we are in a high growth area with a leading position. And we’re extremely well-positioned to capitalize on this expanding market for us.

We believe that we have a very strong executive management team.

Considering your relationship with Insight, could you have stayed on after the deal closed, as an executive?

Timashev: I could have, but that’s not our plan.

Why, since you’ve been there from the beginning, why is now the time that you want to step away?

Timashev: In general, I want to spend more time with my family and kids. I worked very hard in the last 20, 30 years building two companies. [To start Veeam, the two invested the money they made from selling their first company, Aelita Software, to Quest in 2004.]

Andrei is in a similar position — we are the same age. And we have kids and want to spend more time with family.

Since you’ve been with the company since the beginning, will it be hard to step away?

Timashev: It’s always hard, it’s like a baby. Friends of mine are asking how difficult it is. I asked them, ‘Is it difficult to sell your child for $5 billion?’

Is there anything that’s unfinished that you wish had been completed by now? Do you have any concerns that you hope get resolved in the near future?

Whoever wins this new market is going to dominate. Veeam won the VMware market. When a new market opens up, you only have two, three, four years to win that market.
Ratmir TimashevCo-founder, Veeam Software

Timashev: Not really — right now, we are going through a major transition, which represents some challenges, as well as opportunities. Whoever wins this new market is going to dominate. Veeam won the VMware market. It took us two or three years to win that market and then we basically rode the wave.

When a new market opens up, you only have two, three, four years to win that market. And there will always be three winners — number one, number two, number three, and then there will be a whole bunch of others.

We’re very well-positioned.

So you don’t have your third company in the works yet?

Timashev: We always have some ideas — always definitely to find another billion-dollar market opportunity. And I always say it takes three things to create a successful technology company — to be at the right time, at the right place, and create a brilliant product. And me and Andrei have done it twice now.

So, I’m sure that at some point after taking some time off, we might come up with a new idea.

What do you think the sale means for your customers? Have they expressed any concerns going forward following this news?

Timashev: No, they look very positively [on the sale], especially the U.S. customers. As part of this transaction, we are going to become 100% U.S.-shareholder owned. And with the executive management that is primarily U.S.-based, that news is very positive, especially for our U.S. customers. We have lots of large enterprise customers in the U.S., as well as federal customers, and they are taking this very positively.

What will it take to make your product the best for the hybrid cloud era?

Timashev: We have to follow our playbook. We have done it twice. Back in the ’90s, we won the hearts and minds of Windows administrators [with Aelita]. And then 10 years later in 2008, 2009, we won the hearts and minds of VMware administrators. Now 10 years later, we just have to win the hearts and minds of AWS, Azure, Office 365 and Google users.

What does it take? First, the product has to be brilliant, simple, and we have to listen to our core customers. Our core customer used to be [running] VMware. Now it’s going to be a different buyer — AWS, Azure, Office 365, Google buyer. They have their own budget. Sometimes they belong to IT. Sometimes they belong to DevOps.

We have to offer them the simple, flexible and reliable product. That’s what Veeam is known for: simple, flexible and reliable.

Can you give more detail on what your consultant work for Veeam might entail?

Timashev: Just sitting down with [Insight Partners managing director] Mike Triplett, with Bill Largent on a regular basis, and advising them how to attack this new market, how to play the Veeam playbook to win the new markets of AWS, Azure, Office 365 and Google. Those are four big markets.

Will there be any big changes in terms of Veeam offices? What will happen to the headquarters in Switzerland and the people who work there?

Timashev: No, no big changes. We will be looking at U.S. headquarters. We already have two very large offices in Columbus, Ohio, and in Atlanta, Georgia. We have probably around 400 people in each office. So probably one of those will become the U.S. headquarters.

Our office in Switzerland will continue to operate the way it is now. We are unique in the sense that we have always had our management team very distributed. We don’t really have a single office where everybody needs each other.

What do you see generally, for the future of the backup and recovery market and data protection?

Timashev: The market, if you look laterally, it’s backup and recovery, [but it’s also] data management. We believe that there are other components to data management in addition to backup and recovery — [for example] replication, cloud mobility, governance and compliance, analytics.

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Author:

For Sale – Dell 9370 i7 FHD, Dell 7590 i7 UHD touch, Alienware m15 r1 GTX 1070

Hi Adam

I’ll make an offer of £800 for the 7590.

Before you jump to the conclusion it’s a lowball offer it’s because I can get the same spec direct from the Dell outlet for £1295.

Refurbished Cheap Laptops and 2-in-1 PCs: Dell Outlet | Dell UK

The offer is based on the fact that I’d have a contract with Dell so if there’s any repeat of the expanding battery issue (or any other potential long term fault) I can go after Dell from a legal viewpoint, I can’t do that if I buy a unit second hand from a private individual. Legal liability is over and above warranty coverage and is worth that level of difference to me, simplistically if they decide not to undertake a warranty issue as they don’t ‘agree’ with the claim then there’s nothing I can do unless I bought it from them directly.

I realise you’re pretty unlikely to accept the offer but put it out there for you to consider.

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Author:

For Sale – 2015 iMac 5K – 24gb Ram, i5, 1tb, Boxed.

Hi all,

Due to a job change, resulting in a work pc, my iMac 5k is surplus to requirements. It’s in great condition, no issues with the screen and will come wiped ready for the new user to setup (as new from Apple). I have the magic mouse and keyboard to go with it (the ones with a lightning charger), along with the original box.
Specs are as follows;
3.2ghz Core i5,
24gb DDR3,
1tb Hard drive,
Radeon R9 M380.

Pictures below show the rest – please note I was using an external Samsung T5 SSD to boot from, which I have subsequently removed. I could include this in the sale if requested.

Any questions please ask.

Collection only from Clapham Junction, London.

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