Cool stuff coming from Microsoft as seen at the Cengage Learning 20th Annual Computing Conference

March 29, 2015

TravelinEdMan's Recent Travel: Last week in Phoenix, I gave a keynote talk on how learning is changing and a breakout talk (slides for both) on my recent TEC-VARIETY (free) e-book at the Cengage Learning 20th Annual Computing Conference (for computer educators; hom epage). I think they went well. After my talks, I got a sneak peek at upcoming Microsoft Windows and Office and other changes from two of the other keynote speakers. See the update below that I shared with my students. The videos in yellow are all cool and all of them are short (except the first one)…especially the last one from Pepsi.

Major Product Updates from Microsoft: I also saw two keynote presentations from people affiliated with Microsoft (one keynote was by this amazing professor from Central Virginia Community College name Corinne Hoisington; her talk from last year is posted; video; this video is long…but she is fabulous). She is perhaps one of the most interactive and engaging speakers I have ever seen. She has tons of Microsoft product books with Cengage.
While listening to Corinne and high level people from Microsoft during their keynotes, it was apparent that there are some pretty cool multimedia and augmented reality technology tools  coming our way including something called Sway (video). As part of this effort, OneNote is also being expanded and will be integrated with Sway.
Other Microsoft news includes a biggie (though not unexpected)...Windows 10 will be coming out this summer. But here is the big news: This will be the last Windows with a number. Everything after this will be just additions to Windows 10 which will all be free from now on. Many stupid things about Windows 8 will be deleted. Windows 10 is going to be taking the best of Windows 7 and 8 and combining them.
What else? Well, Internet Explorer will be junked/killed off. Microsoft will have some new browser which right now has a code name of “Spartan.” I use IE so was particularly interesting in this information.
Now for the really cool stuff. There were many more product announcements and demonstrations at the conference. Augmented reality called “HoloLens” (video demo; reflection video) seems to be a key item (and with Disney as a partner, kids will be seeing strange new creatures at the theme parks). Another short augmented reality video is this commercial from Pepsi which Corrine showed (Watch it!).
Of course, there is always more announcements or casual comments at such conference events. For instance, Microsoft Office will soon be updated. As part of this effort, Excel is getting a huge makeover in Microsoft Office 2016. More importantly for Mac users, Microsoft Office 2016 will be nearly 100 percent identical for Mac and PC.
That's it for now. Hope you found it beneficial. I am sure that they talked about other cool things coming our way but this is all the notes that I have.
By the way, it is always great to go to Phoenix in March and see my friends at ASU like my long-time colleague, Dr. Jim Middleton, who I went to graduate school with long ago,. It is especially great to go to Arizona when in the midst of a long winter. Woke up to 24 degree today and saw some light snow on Friday here in Bloomington. Spring is starting though...I can feel it.

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