Microsoft Announces New Teams, Minecraft, and Surface Laptop

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened the company’s Education-focused event today by asking, “How can technology create opportunity for all?”

Believing that technology should help, not hinder, a teacher’s work in the classroom, Microsoft is releasing Windows 10 s this Summer in time for the new school year.

Microsoft said that the students entering school today is the first generation who speaks technology as their first language, and learns primarily by collaborating. An estimated 65% of students in school today, will have jobs that do not yet exist – STEM curriculum will set these students up for success in the future.

This new version of Windows will feature more security and faster load times, it’s streamlined for consistency, and provides superior performance.

Changes are coming to Teams too, designed specifically for education, and includes classroom chats (with emojis and gifs – FINALLY! I’ve been waiting!!! Outlook, where you at?), assignment submissions and more. Teachers will have special moderating and facilitating controls for “teachable moments”.

Windows 10 s will come with a free subscription to Minecraft Education Edition, free Windows 10 S for all schools on current Windows Pro PCs, and free Microsoft Office 365 for Education with Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft believes in Learning by Doing. Minecraft has over 100 million players worldwide. Microsoft gave an example of using Minecraft in the classroom from a teacher in the UK, who asked his students to create a livable habitat on Mars. Using math to manage their resources and figuring out how to grow food, students learned to code and used critical thinking skills to complete the project.

Microsoft also released their new Surface Laptop (with Windows 10 s), touting that this is the laptop that will last a student throughout their entire education. The product looks super sleek and nice, and I’d like one for myself.  I’m not a techy person, but Microsoft said that in designing this product, they wanted it to be more personal, and not design just another piece of equipment, and honestly, I got that sense from this Laptop.

Did anyone else watch the livestream this morning? What do you think of Microsoft announcements? Will Windows 10 S have an impact on the use of iPads and Google?

 

Is Windows 7 Dangerous to Use?

Microsoft is warning Windows 7 users that the platform contains security deficiencies and hardware restrictions that essentially make it more susceptible to cyber-attacks.

“Today, [Windows 7] does not meet the requirements of modern technology, nor the high security requirements of IT departments,” says Markus Nitschke, Head of Windows at Microsoft Germany.

Microsoft says that continuing use of Windows 7 will result in reliability and compatibility problems that will lead to “higher operating costs.”

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A lot of contributors to the tech blogosphere are calling this a “scaremongering” tactic by Microsoft to “drive more users to Windows 10,” given the recent announcement that Microsoft will end support for the aging operating system in January 2020.

I think that Windows 10 is a great upgrade. I think users will organically switch over, after the initial hesitation and potential risks for compatibility issues has subsided.

What version of Windows does your institution use? If you haven’t already, when will you make the upgrade to Windows 10?

Leaked Preview Hints at Option to Pause Windows Updates

If you’re using the Home edition of Windows 10, you know that you cannot defer the automatic system updates. However, according to leaked preview builds of Windows 10, Microsoft will soon release a new option to pause updates for up to 35 days.

The Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows 10 already allow users to defer updates, delaying upgrades for 30 to 180 days, depending on whether it’s a feature update, or a quality update.

Microsoft faced criticism over their handling of Windows 10 in 2016, with some accusing the company of “tricking” Windows 7 & 8 users to upgrade.  Microsoft CMO Chris Capossela owned up to this during the Windows Weekly Podcast, admitting to aggressively pushing users to upgrade to Windows 10.

What do you think of Windows 10 updates? So far, so good? Or are there other unresolved issues you think Microsoft should address?

Microsoft Joins the Linux Foundation

In an attempt to encourage and drive developers to make more use of the Microsoft Ecosystem, Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation.

The Microsoft Ecosystem is designed to make resources available to a wide variety of technology companies so that they can build solutions around Microsoft technologies. In this case, Microsoft wants to drive more use of Azure, Windows 10, and Office 365.

Linux is an operating system platform that is classified as a free and open-source software. This means that anyone is freely licensed to use and change the software in any way, resulting in an operating system that is widely utilized to power servers, desktops, Android smartphones and other devices.

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By joining the Linux Foundation, Microsoft is allowing developers to use more tools regardless of their preferred platform, making the Microsoft Ecosystem platforms more desirable for building cross-platform applications and solutions. In other words, Microsoft wants developers building apps for its Ecosystem whether they’re working in Linux or in Azure.

This is big news for developers, as Microsoft has built its software empire on close-source proprietary software. The times, they are a-changin’.

What do you think? Is open-source the future of software?

Computing Student Advisory Team: We Want YOU

Teachers! Do you have highly motivated Introductory Computing students who might like to get involved with Cengage?

Students! Would you like to get involved with Cengage?

We have an exciting opportunity for students to partner with our Computing group as part of a student advisory team!

We are looking for students who are self-motivated with proven leadership, analytical, and communication skills, and are passionate about making a difference and helping others learn!

We’ll PAY students to…

  • Participate fully from August 2016 through May 2017
  • Develop real-world work experience (which looks great on a resume!)
  • Collaborate with students all across the U.S. in a team environment
  • Directly impact education products

Teachers – Recommend any of your students today! Please send us…

  • Student name
  • Student email
  • Why you think this student would be a valuable contributor to the Computing Student Advisory Team

Please send all recommendations to us by Monday, 8/15:

reed.curry@cengage.com

sarah.marks@cengage.com

amy.savino@cengage.com

Students – Email reed.curry@cengage.com, sarah.marks@cengage.com, and amy.savino@cengage.com for an application!

We’re excited to hear from you!

Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts

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Microsoft recently announced a preview of Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts. Cortana Intelligence with Bing Predicts, is an end-to-end consulting program that brings the power of Microsoft’s unique blend of search, social and web data to deliver more intelligent advanced analytics solutions. This exciting new program will enable organizations to improve their predictions by enriching their data with information from anonymized and aggregated Bing search queries, anonymized and aggregated opted-in IE user sessions, and public crawled social media content and web.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update on August 2, 2016

 

Don’t forget that Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer will only be available until July 29!

On Tuesday, August 2, Microsoft will make its Windows 10 Anniversary Update available for Windows 10 users. Updates include Windows Ink and Cortana features; a faster, more accessible and more power-efficient Microsoft Edge browser; advanced security features for consumers and enterprises; new gaming experiences and new tools for the modern classroom. For more details, check out the Windows Blog.

Browse with Microsoft Edge for Longer Battery Life

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The Microsoft Edge team wanted to find out what would happen if four identical devices ran four different browsers. The results? The experiment proved that battery life on a PC running Microsoft Edge lasts 70% longer than Chrome, 43% longer than Firefox, and 17% longer than Opera! For more information about the experiment, and about the efficiency of the Edge browser, check out the Microsoft blog post.

 

Windows 10 Free Upgrade Ending July 29, 2016

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Windows 10 is now running on 300 million active devices! Check out this video from Windows team member Brian Roper as he explains 10 reasons why you should upgrade to Windows 10.

What’s the number one reason to upgrade to Windows 10 as soon as possible? The free upgrade offer ends on July 29. After July 29th, you’ll only get Windows 10 when purchasing new devices or you will have to purchase the full version of Windows 10 Home for $119.

Windows 10 Anniversary Update

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To celebrate one year since it’s release, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will roll out in summer 2016. The update is free for all Windows 10 users. Here are some things you can expect from the Windows 10 Anniversary Update:

  • Windows Hello Brings Biometric Security to Apps and Microsoft Edge.
  • Windows Ink Brings the Power of Windows to the Tip of Your Pen.
  • Cortana Becomes More Helpful than Ever.
  • UWP Apps Come to Xbox through a Unified Windows Store.

Learn more on the Windows Blog and on Microsoft’s site.