Posts tagged Microsoft
8th grade students dug back into their memory banks to remember some useful facts about 3 of our most talked-about companies: Google, Apple and Microsoft. Teams competed to gain the most points for accurate answers.
|Founded by||Larry Page and Sergey Brin||Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne||Bill Gates and Paul Allen|
|Founded location||Stanford University, CA||Los Altos, CA||Albuquerque, New Mexico|
|HQ in||Mountain View, CA||Cupertino, CA||Redmond, WA|
|Web browser||Chrome||Safari||Internet Explorer|
|Operating system||Chrome OS||OSX||Windows|
|revenue per employee||$1.2M||$1.4M||$702K|
|price per share||$482||$268||$25|
The 6th grade has been learning about world-changing companies for a couple of weeks now.
We’ve got in depth with the history of Seattle native Bill Gates and learned about how he hacked his way from middle-school mischief maker to Harvard and then beyond. We followed his empire as it moved from the early days in New Mexico back to Washington state, and how Microsoft has weathered competition to become a worldwide brand with significant market shares in gaming, search, software and hardware.
Today we talked about 2 Stanford guys who changed the way search engines rank websites to help us find what we are looking for. Their project (called BackRub) became more than just a company…Google is a verb and a website that millions of people use everyday. We spoke of how Google has tried to compete in various web endeavors that have failed (Google Video, Google Pages, Orkut), and how they’ve bought other companies that do things well (YouTube, KeyHole, JotSpot).
When asked who the people and companies that will make it huge in the next few years will be, students responded with an enthusiastic “we are!”
As part of these conversations, we’ve been using online maps and stock charts to illustrate concepts and we’ve been practicing our listening and participation skills in preparation for the guest speakers that will start sharing their technology experiences next week.
Spirited 7th grade conversation today, as students tracked the latest developments in the case of the iPhone 4G.
We started by tracking Apple’s stock price this year, beginning with the iPad announcement and following through until yesterday’s report that Apple made over 3 billion dollars in the last quarter.
Using Bing’s finance charts and Google’s time-related search results, we mapped increasing share price and product announcements over the last 3 years. We found a clear trend – stock prices rise between the announcement of a new product and it’s actual launch.
Also, we realized that much of the pre-launch marketing around Apple products is free – news outlets and bloggers share stories and compete to scoop each other with rumors and insider (mis)information. This is great news for Apple, since they don’t have to spend all of their money to get the word out.
Now to the rumor of the week – an Apple employee supposedly left a prototype of the new iPhone (to be released this summer) in a California bar. The device was sold to Gizmodo, which has dedicated an entire portion of their site to stories about this gadget. This creates more buzz for Apple as other news outlets report on Gizmodo’s reporting.
Students used Google’s real-time “updates” to monitor how many stories are bouncing around the blogosphere and Twitter channels about this story. While there is a bump in traffic, we don’t think that this story is enough to sustain interest through the summer. What else will Apple tell us about the new product to keep news outlets interested?
Some students wondered if Apple had “lost” the iPhone on purpose to try and get free advertising from bloggers, newspapers, television and radio. Some bloggers suggest that Gizmodo got punked by Apple.
One class had an unexpected find during class today, a webpage that simultaneously searches Google and Bing, displaying results side-by-side. In Firefox, you can actaully set http://www.google-vs-bing.com/ as your default search engine if desired.
The 6th grade concluded Internet boot camp this week. Everyone is clear on why Billings provides computers and Internet access and their responsibilities as users. We took a moment to define some common terms that will be used throughout their middle school technology experiences.
|Web broswer||an application used to connect to the internet.|
|software that can be installed on a computer to complete a task.|
|Software||a set of instructions telling a computer what to do when it receives input from a keyboard or mouse.|
|Search engine||a website you visit using a web browser so that you can find information on the internet.|
The difference between a web browser and search engine has been murky in the past for some students. We reinforced our Microsoft Excel skills from STeM class to build a comparison chart:
|Company||Web Browser||Search Engine|
Only half of the 6th grade made it to tech this week, because of conferences. We spent the day exploring the lab computers and learning about 2 programs that support the work that is going on in Science and STEM.
Microsoft Student has an interactive learning tool that explores how speed and angle effect orbits. We spent some time playing with the 2 variables to create circular and elliptical satellite rotations.
The rest of our time was spent in Google Moon (a feature of Google Earth). On the Moon, we found evidence of humans (decommissioned, crashed satellites), entered panoramic photographs taken by real astronauts on their visits, tracked the paths of rovers that have been deployed, viewed video footage on lunar landings from YouTube, and overlayed historic maps of the Moon’s surface. In the process, we learned to use Google Earth’s layers and navigation controls.
The 6th grade’s tech visitor series concluded today by spending time with Blair, a Seattle freelance designer who has designed and coded for many companies including Nestle, Microsoft, Cadillac and Burger King.
Blair discussed the benefits of working for yourself (he has 2 chickens in his home office!), how being creative can turn into employment (he makes games and then gets hired to put company logos onto them), and how his interest in art and technology has turned into a career.
Blair uses his own website as a showcase for his talents and is also starting his own small business, PillowMob, which is a great example of bringing a creative idea to the marketplace.Billings Middle School thanks Blair for his visit!
Today the 6th grade was honored to spend time with Erin, a Microsoft project manager who came to share her school and work experiences.
Erin spoke about her high school and unviersity career, where she was often one of very few women in a class and how she focused on what she enjoyed and didn’t worry about what other people thought. She is interested in electrical engineering and had internships at Microsoft where she was able to explore her passions. So talked about her role as a project manager – the trips she gets to go on, the new software she gets to play with and all the people she gets to talk with everyday.
Students had lots of interesting comments and questions. Abbey, Isaac & Lysbeth had questions about the upcoming Windows 7 operating system. Ismael asked about using Microsoft & Apple computers harmoniously in the same household. Isaac and Aaron had many specific questions about Erin’s favorite tasks/projects/benefits. Augie was interested in Erin’s current software and Aselya wondered about meeting Bill Gates. Deividas, Sam, Nick S., James, Nicholas, Olivia, Lizzi, Nick R., Sophie & Elijah all engaged with Erin and commented on her stories.
Special thanks to 7th grade parent Bob for setting up this experience!
Do I simply hand over my million dollars to the bank robbers? Or do I choose to use my long-dormant judo skills to defend my winnings? Do I jump into shark-infested waters? Or do I try to paddle to the distant shore?
These are the types of choices that we’re asking readers to make in our original choose-your-own-adventure stories. Before Spring Break, we typed up our stories in Microsoft Word. Today, we translated those stories into Powerpoint. Not only did we learn the basic functions of the program, but we learned how to be creative with clip art, photos and background choices, making our slides bona fide works of art. The final step was learning how to create hyperlinks, so that with one click, readers are transported down the storyline of their choice – for better or for worse…
We’ll be finishing these up next week, although students are encouraged to work on their slide shows outside of class.
First day back from Spring Break, and the 6th grade is preparing for Erin, a guest lecturer from Microsoft. We decided that there was 4 ways to prepare:
- use some Microsoft products so we know what their company does
- use a search engine (like MSN Live) to find online information
- visit the Microsoft official website
- look up their company on a map (there are lots of offices around the world!)
Once we were finished sharing discoveries made in the above 4 ways, we did a little story telling about the origins of Microsoft and some funny stories about founders Bill Gates & Paul Allen’s days at Lakeside (a local independent high school). We looked at how this company had transformed the Bellevue/Redmond area from sleepy farms to bustling city. We also came to realize that companies like Microsoft are so big that you don’t have to be an expert computer programmer to work for them: Microsoft needs chefs, sales people, creative thinkers, artists, shuttle drivers and all sorts of people to make their company work smoothly.
First day back to tech and the 6th grade tackled what turns out to be a difficult question: Are Google and Apple friends?
Students agreed that Apple is a computing company and Google is an advertising company. They don’t compete for hardware (iPhone, computers, iPod, etc) but they DO fight for software users (Apple sells software, Google gives it away).
Students pointed out that Google’s web browser (Chrome) only works on PC, not on Apple computers. This makes us think that Apple and Google will work together to steal users from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
However, on January 5th, Google released a piece of software called Picasa for Mac, a direct competitor to iPhoto (the most popular free Mac photo organization/editing software). What does this mean? Is Google attacking Apple?
The 6th grade thinks that this will be a tough fight for Google. Apple computers come with iPhoto already installed, and for people that already use iPhoto, there isn’t a lot of reason to switch.