Does Academia Know What Technology Employers are Looking For?

It started two years ago. I stopped using my laptop or tablet at home, and only used my phone to Google, shop, scroll through Instagram, or check email as I’d wind down at night. Now, I still use my phone, but I mostly rely on Siri to do my Googling for me.

Now, with Google Assistant, Cortana, and Alexa, the talk-to-tech trend is taking off – it’s easier and faster than finding your phone, unlocking it, opening an App, or tapping any keys.

Now that Amazon allows programmers to connect existing services to Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers the Echo, every-day programmers can build entirely new voice-powered experiences, called Skills, with “just a few lines of code,” for free. Voila! Alexa now opens and uses Apps for us!

Alexa is taking over home appliances, too.  Appliance makers LG, Whirlpool, GE, and Samsung introduced products, like a vacuum, that starts by issuing a command to an Echo. LG’s forthcoming Smart InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerator will connect to Alexa, so users can ask her to pull up recipes on a touchscreen, or order food.

It’s still the early days with voice command services, but what does this mean for education? I think it means Computer Science & Programming education is more important than ever. STEM job growth will surpass all other jobs at 18.7% between 2010 and 2020, leading to 1.1 million computing jobs by 2024.

Does the academic community know what technology employers are looking for? Last week’s post discussed the relevancy of the computer lab in today’s schools – Cengage author Mark Frydenberg shared his Sandbox mission – should more schools get onboard?

New Microsoft Office Updates for iOS

THIS JUST IN: Good news for iPhone and iPad users, Microsoft is working to deliver new updates for Office on iOS.

As part of their September updates, Office for iOS will get support for Edmodo and Tencent, which means iPhones and iPads will now be allowed to store and access documents through Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Microsoft Word is getting Smart Lookup which will allow users the ability to look up a word instantly. By simply pressing and holding on a word or phrase, users can search image information, word definitions, and more without leaving the document.

PowerPoint is also getting an update in the iOS platform. IPhone users can now use their smartphones as laser pointers by simply pressing and holding in the notes section while in presenter mode.

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The Mac platform of the office suite will be updated as well. PowerPoint Designer will be getting a bit of a face-lift and will have improved color guides as well as new audio and video trim options.  Additionally, Office 365 subscribers will get access to a new “focus mode,” which is designed to “remove distractions and improve concentration at work.” There isn’t a concrete release date for this update, but it should go live early September.

For additional information on Microsoft updates for iOS, visit their website.

O365 Ed News App

Screenshot: Home Screen

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Looking for tips to help stay current on the rapid innovations in Office 365? You can check out the Office 365 Road Map and follow the Microsoft’s Office Blog, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter… or you can now visit the Windows 10 store to download O365 EDU News and have all of that info right in one place!

O365 EDU News is an education focused Office 365 news aggregator. It will compile news related to Office 365 in Education from from Microsoft’s Office Blog, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter all in one convenient app.

Nerds: the Bill vs Steve Musical

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It’s ultimate Computing showdown: the Nerds Musical pits Bill Gates and Microsoft against Steve Jobs and Apple. The new musical comedy about the rise and rivalry of these two tech luminaries will open on Broadway in April.

Broadway World has a glimpse of what audiences can expect:

“Before Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were the undisputed titans of technology, they were Nerds. Join America’s favorite garage inventors on a hilarious musical journey from the floppy disc era to the iPhone phenomenon, and the epic competition in between, that would revolutionize modern culture as we know it. Fittingly, the production will feature the most progressive technology seen on Broadway, including: on-stage holograms; projection mapping; and an enhanced theater-going experience through app integrations that allow users to interact with the set and other audience members, choose the show’s ending, and more special features soon to be announced.”