Weekend Reading: March 26

One of the many benefits of living in the Pacific Northwest is the
annual miracle of the salmon migration.  Right now, some of the largest
salmon runs are coming back from the ocean and fighting their way
hundreds of miles upriver to the streams of their birth to reproduce and
continue the cycle.  

With “swimming upstream” in mind, here are
a few suggestions for weekend reading from around the world, each an
example of the good things that can happen when people are willing to
buck convention.

  • Many teachers would consider a video
    game to be the last thing they’d want in their classroom.  But in
    Canterbury, New Zealand, teacher Jan Anderson has made the Xbox 360 a
    key learning tool
    . During lessons on science and forces in motion, she
    used an Xbox game called “Thrillville,” in which students make their own
    rollercoasters. Her students also write blogs about what they’re
    learning, and Anderson says her students have improved their reading
    levels by 1 ½ years in just 3 months
    .  Anderson’s work at Methven
    Primary School earned her the Microsoft 2010 Innovative Teacher Award
    for New Zealand
    .  She will travel to South Africa later this year, to
    compare ideas and insights with winners from other countries.
  • Halfway
    around the world, in Dearborn, Michigan, one of America’s iconic auto
    manufacturers is reinventing itself by completely rethinking the
    connection between cars and technology.  We’re pleased to be playing a
    key role in helping Ford find its mojo by partnering with the company on
    Ford SYNC, which Fast Company says is helping Ford turn into “America’s
    most surprising consumer electronics company.”
    With SYNC, Ford is
    creating cars that are more responsive to drivers and even safer – and
    cars with SYNC are selling twice as fast as comparable Fords without the
    system!
  • And while we’re on the topic of bucking
    convention, Bing continues to make slow but steady progress in winning
    over consumers. This week at the Search Engine Strategies 2010
    conference, the Bing team unveiled some fun new features the help
    further Bing’s goal of being a “decision engine,” not just a search
    engine.
  • Finally, for some really out-of-the-box
    thinking, check out this article about how researchers at Microsoft and
    Carnegie Mellon University have turned a person’s skin into a control
    pad that can operate music players and other devices.

Well,
that’s it for this week – the weather has turned nice, and all this
talk about salmon has me thinking about throwing a little fish on the
grill.  Have a good weekend!

Posted by Mark Murray
General Manager, Corporate Public Relations