Saturday, 19 January 2008

Microsoft Education in New Zealand

I have been to the Microsoft Education site in New Zealand a lot in the past years I have been a teacher. I have looked for may varied and interesting ways to teach a multitude of topics ranging from webdesign, piracy, ethics, and operating systems. You would think the Microsoft site would be a good place to start. Well you are right, just not the New Zealand one.

I subscribe to a number of Computer Science teachers blogs from overseas and have found in the last couple of days good resources from them, and they are from Microsoft!

Number One: Digital Literacy
The Digital Literacy Curriculum consists of five courses:

Computer Basics

The Internet and the World Wide Web

Productivity Programs

Computer Security and Privacy

Digital Lifestyles

Each course has an e-learning module and an assessment. You can also take the Certificate Test, which covers topics from all five courses. If you pass the Certificate Test, you can print out a personalized Digital Literacy Certificate.

This original version teaches generic ICT skills and concepts, and features screen shots and simulations from Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Microsoft Office 2003 to illustrate and provide hands-on examples for students. Version 2 of Digital Literacy uses screen shots and simulations from Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system.

Number Two
Microsoft Academic Alliance High School Membership

The alliance that I'm referring to is the Microsoft Academic Alliance which allows any high school computer science department and computer science students to install Visual Studio. In addition, you get the following:

Three Microsoft e-Learning Library (MELL) collections:

  • General Programming
  • Microsoft Visual Studio .NET
  • Programming in Visual Basic .NET
  • Teaching Tools CD
  • Student Tools CD
  • Teaching Tools Manual
  • Student Tools Manual
  • Introductory Kit
  • Monitored Newsgroups
  • MSDN Library
    • Documentation
    • Technical Articles
    • Code Samples
    • Access to the Member's Area of the Web site
    • Private MSDN Academic Alliance newsgroups
    • Additional "Members Only" special offers
    • 2 Professional Technical Support incidents

    There are three ways for students to obtain the software for their personal use.

    1. Member departments may make up to 50 copies of MSDN AA software for students to check-out from a library or lab. Students are required to return the physical media within a reasonable period of time.
    2. Member departments may put the software on a secure server and have students download directly from the server. If a department desires to utilize both methods, that is perfectly acceptable.
    3. Microsoft has partnered with e-academy to provide electronic software distribution for students and faculty free of charge.

    Students must sign an agreement before they can download the software. The school administrator keeps track of the software and the agreements.

  • Number 3
    Academic Resource Centre
    A number of programming resources are available here, as well as high education.
    I have gathered some C# and visual basic resoures that I plan to use with the year 12 and 13 programming classes.
    Code Rules: Introduction to Programming with Visual Basic - 12/19/2006
    Code Rules introduces students to basic computer programming concepts. The simulation involves four students who travel the country in a Winnebago stopping at offbeat places to face coding challenges. This is a complete introduction to a programming course using Visual Basic 2005 Express.

    This really annoys me, and I have made it known in a couple of emails, one to the msdn alliance, and the other to the innovative teachers Australia and New Zealand network. Why is none of this on the New Zealand Microsoft Education website, are we not important. No wonder that there is the call for Open Source. Ubuntu has just released training for students and instructors on how to use 7.10. Maybe there is the need to change. Just because Microsoft are stuffing us around.

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