The BETT 2010 educational conference in London was the stage where Microsoft unveiled not only version 1.5 of the new Windows MultiPoint Mouse Software Development Kit (SDK) but also Mouse Mischief
, a solution built on the MultiPoint platform. Mouse Mischief can be downloaded free of charge from the Redmond company. The release is currently in Beta stage, however, the software giant promised that Mouse Mischief will continue to be offered for free even after it is finalized.
Current plans indicate that Mouse Mischief is on tap for being wrapped up by the end of 2010, but Microsoft didn’t offer a specific availability deadline. Mouse Mischief is designed to allow users to add interactivity to PowerPoint presentations. Specifically, Microsoft revealed that the tool was addressed at teachers that could build interactive PowerPoint slides and allow students to work directly with the contents of the presentations using nothing more than any off-the-shelf USB mouse.
Nasha Fitter, senior product manager for Microsoft’s Startup Business Group hopes that Mouse Mischief will not only allow teachers to embrace technology in their teaching methods, but also inspire students to learn. Ahead of releasing the Beta development milestone of the new solution, Mouse Mischief has been tested in 200 schools in Asia via a pilot project that lasted for the duration of the past year.
“Teachers look at this and say for once, we actually have kids who are paying attention because they feel like they are part of the lecture and not just passive observers. They have a mouse, they're pushing a button to see if they’re right or wrong, and they’re totally engaged,” Fitter explained.
Technologies including the MultiPoint SDK and Mouse Mischief allow students in environments with shared computing resources to have equal access to technology. With the latest version of MultiPoint SDK
, devs can build applications which can be used by 25 students simultaneously, each operating a different mouse.
“One of the things we see around the world is that kids are excited to have a PC in the classroom,” said Ira Snyder, general manager of Microsoft’s Startup Business Group. “These tools are one more way to help students latch on to what teachers are providing, and one more way to help teachers reach students who wouldn’t have access to that technology in general.”
Microsoft Mouse Mischief is available for download here
Windows MultiPoint Mouse Software Development Kit 1.5 is available for download here