Microsoft Targets Education Market With Multimedia SDK

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Semblio, known until now by the code name Grava, targets educational publishers, software developers and solution providers in the education market. Microsoft said companies already using the SDK include Smart Technologies, a developer of interactive whiteboards; Wolfram Research, makers of the Mathematica application; and Cambridge University Press.

The SDK, which is available for free at, is a collection of .Net-based application programming interfaces, the Windows Presentation Foundation graphical subsystem, tools, samples and documentation for ISVs, designers, developers and content providers, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft's goal isn't to create a whole new set of technologies, but "to help teachers leverage the Microsoft technology assets they might already have," said Mitch Benson, senior director of product management for the vendor's education products group. But he said content created with Semblio would also be able to run on non-Microsoft systems. "We recognize that the nature of education requires us to run on other platforms, not just Microsoft."

In addition to the SDK, Semblio will include an assembly tool that educators and solution providers can use to combine multiple types of content into multimedia packages and a cross-platform runtime media player for viewing and interacting with the content.

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The assembly tool and media player are being built into the next release of Microsoft Office, known as Office 14, that's currently in alpha testing. Microsoft has not disclosed a release date for the updated application suite.