The Madness of March, here comes HoloLens, and Windows 10 in the classroom — Weekend Reading: March 4 edition

What is it they say about March? In like a lion? That certainly held true at Microsoft this week.

For starters, the company helped customers play a little defense, whether they were college basketball fans gearing up for March Madness or enterprises seeking added layers of security to protect against threats to data.

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But perhaps the most exciting news this week was for developers, many of whom will soon get their hands on a Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition. Microsoft announced Monday that developer applicants will now start receiving invitations to purchase HoloLens – which will begin shipping on March 30 – and that the company is making available to developers a free portfolio of holographic experiences that represent the knowledge and expertise Microsoft teams have acquired over years of working on the holographic platform.

“Today represents a monumental step forward,” wrote Technical Fellow Alex Kipman on the Microsoft Devices Blog. “This is the first step in our journey to consumers. A step focused on our commercial partnerships and on supporting developers, who will help pave the way to consumer availability with amazing and new holographic experiences.”

HoloLens is a Windows 10 device, and the APIs responsible for holographic computing are already available in Windows 10. Starting Monday, developers were able to access documentation, and to the developer community, that will help them create amazing experiences, Kipman added. For more about the HoloLens Development Edition, see Kipman’s blog post. For more on the experiences, see Kudo Tsunoda’s blog post.

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In honor of International Polar Bear Day, did you know it’s tradition in the Arctic to leave all doors unlocked in case someone is “caught unawares” by a polar bear and needs to escape in a hurry?

This from polar explorer Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop, who also carries a flare pistol in case a polar bear comes too close and he needs to fire warning shots. “Generally, you’re not allowed to go and try to find (polar bears) unless you are studying them — they are a big risk —  we have to be very careful.”

This month the explorer and educator and his team will do research in Svalbard, a place between Norway and the North Pole with deep fjords, snow-capped mountains, massive sheets of ice and magnificent polar bears. This is the fifth polar expedition for Buchanan-Dunlop, a former teacher who now uses Skype to connect with classrooms all over the world from the remote places he’s exploring. He’ll once again share his learnings from this expedition with students via his Skype in the Classroom ‘Arctic Live 2016!’ virtual field trip. Visit the Skype Social Good Blog for more from the Arctic.

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Microsoft is seeing strong demand for Windows 10 in the classroom, writes Yusuf Medhi, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows and Devices Marketing. With the new Windows 10 devices that are “tailor made for education and perfect for students, we are seeing strong demand for Windows 10 in the classroom,” including Windows 10 devices that start at $199.

Microsoft is also committed to “building immersive and inclusive learning experiences for students and teachers around the world, experiences that build 21st-century skills including communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and computational thinking,” writes Tony Prophet, corporate vice president of Education Marketing.

In the classroom, OneNote, Skype, Sway and Minecraft empower teachers and students to create and share in entirely new ways, teach and learn through doing and exploring, accommodate any learning style, and focus the classroom experience on learning outcomes, Prophet says.

Read more from Prophet and Medhi on the News Center and Windows Blog.

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This week on the Microsoft Instagram Channel, we met Portuguese artist, Odieth, who combines spray paint and technology to create larger than life murals. For Odeith, his Surface serves as a portable work station, enabling him to design and create without ever leaving his studio.

And with that, we leave you to a pleasant weekend. Keep your friends close, and your NCAA brackets closer.

Jennifer Warnick
Microsoft News Center Staff