Microsoft expands computer science education, partnership with Salesforce and your mind with Hacking Mars design challenge — Weekend Reading, Sept. 18 edition

TEALS, education, computer science, YouthSpark
High school juniors and seniors in TEALS classes at the public Boston Latin Academy last year took this photo to thank their TEALS volunteers for the computer science education instruction they provided.

The universe expanded in new ways, yet got more personal, this week at Microsoft. For one thing, CEO Satya Nadella announced a new commitment of $75 million to help young people around the world study computer science. Also announced: Microsoft’s strategic partnership with Salesforce will grow. And if you’re ready to help “The Martian’s” stranded astronaut Mark Watney get off the Red Planet, the Hacking Mars design challenge is your opportunity to come up with a solution.

Microsoft’s YouthSpark program will grow mightily over the next three years to increase access to computer science education for young people everywhere, especially those from under-represented backgrounds. In the U.S., where the TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) program brings computer science education to both high school students and teachers, this flagship program of YouthSpark will spread from 131 schools in 18 states to nearly 700 schools in 33 states. Right now, computer science is offered in less than 25 percent of American high schools. Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, says Microsoft’s goal over the next decade is to reach 4,000 high schools.

Microsoft and Salesforce are strengthening their strategic partnership, which began last fall, to connect the Salesforce Customer Success Platform to Microsoft Office productivity apps and services. New solutions that integrate Salesforce with Skype for Business, OneNote, Delve and Windows 10 will empower companies to connect with their customers and collaborate more effectively. Nadella talked about the partnership and Microsoft’s mission at Dreamforce 2015 in San Francisco.

Salesforce, Power BI, business intelligence
Microsoft Power BI and the Salesforce content pack for Power BI.

No astronaut left behind: Enter the Hacking Mars design challenge. In the movie “The Martian,” coming Oct. 2, astronaut Mark Watney is trying to figure out how to get home from Mars after being left on the Red Planet, presumed dead by his crew. Gather up a team and enter the Microsoft Hacking Mars design challenge to come up with solutions to help Watney. You can also track his progress with a new interactive map from Bing. And teachers and students across the country will be able to download space-related curriculum through Bing in the Classroom.

The Super Bowl is going for the 50, and the NFL is using Surface to get there. The NFL is starting its countdown to a major milestone with Super Bowl 50 with some new Surface Pro 3s. The league provides the specially equipped devices, which include the Sideline Viewing System introduced last season, to all 32 teams. The Microsoft app lets coaches analyze full-color images from a previous offensive or defensive series, and plan their next plays more quickly. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson told writer Athima Chansanchai that Surface has been “a game changer” for him. “The Surface has been exceptional to have on the sideline. When I get back to the sideline, I’m able to get the plays right away. Being able to zoom has a huge advantage, too. I can see everybody’s eyes, what they’re looking at.”

YouTube Video

You can see everybody’s eyes and more with the official WWE Network app for Windows 10, our App of the Week. The free app lets WWE Network subscribers see all 12 WWE live pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania, groundbreaking original series, reality shows and documentaries. Want to catch up on the best of “Raw” and “Smackdown” replays? It’s there for you. Get the WWE Network app this weekend, and watch the WWE “Night of Champions” Sept. 20.

Windows, apps, Windows 10

The second annual Old Glory Relay, conducted by Team Red, White, and Blue and presented by Microsoft to benefit veterans, kicked off at sunrise on Sept. 11 in San Francisco. Fifty-nine teams of runners are on their way across country, with the 60-day, 3,540-mile journey expected to end at sunset on Nov. 8 in Washington, D.C. You can follow the runners’ travels and experiences by visiting the Microsoft Military Affairs blog.

military affairs, veterans, Old Glory Relay

This week we watched as Frederico Phillips and Maria Takeuchi redefined dance. Using Kinect for Windows, the two artists merge technology and dance as we’ve never seen before.

Wherever your journeys take you this weekend, near or far, enjoy! And join us again next Friday for Weekend Reading.

Posted by Suzanne Choney
Microsoft News Center Staff

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