Computer Science Teacher
Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

August, 2005

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Microsoft Education Pack for Tablet PC

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    There is a demo of the Microsoft Education Pack for Tablet PC online at Channel 9. [Thanks to Scoble for the link] This package includes an equation editor, an organizer, a game, a flash card creator and a connection to One Note. If you are a (or know) a math teacher or anyone else who needs to add equations to documents like tests and homework sheets the equation editor alone is worth the price of the software. Or would be even if the software wasn't free. The flash card creater also looks interesting. I can see teachers in lower grades creating flash cards for their students. At all grades I can see students using this software to help them study.
    You can download the Microsoft Education Pack for Tablet PC here. I've been saying for two years now that if my son was going to school today I'd send him with a Tablet PC and MS Office with One Note. This latest add-on is one more reason I think that a Tablet PC is the laptop of choice for students.
  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Time to let people know that CS Rocks!

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    The Christian Science Monitor has an editorial about the decline in Computer Science enrollment. [Link from Kevin Briody] They point out that the number of students taking the Advanced Placement Computer Science (APCS) exam is down as is the number of people majoring in CS in college. The drop in women is even worse. This is scary to me.

    People, especially students, have the wrong idea about computer science. They think it is boring work done by people locked in windowless cubicles. They think computer science doesn’t matter.

    But they are wrong. OK sure some people work in cubicles but that’s about as far as it goes. Increasingly projects involve more interaction with people and not less. Developers today need to share ideas and plans with their peers. It is more social today. You need communication skills. And what developers do can make a difference.

    There is a bigger message though. Bill Gates has been quoted as saying that after medicine computer science has the biggest opportunities to make a positive difference for society. I happen to think he’s right. When I talk to high school students (which I do a lot but would like to do even more) I tell them to think not about money, though the money in computer science is good, not about jobs, though there really are lots of CS jobs, but to think about the chance to change the world for the better.

    I think that computer science teachers as the high school and younger level are important for the future of the US and the world. It is up to them to communicate an excitement for the opportunities that computer science provides. As the motto for the Computer  Science Teachers Association (CSTA) goes, “CS Rocks!”

    We have to let kids know the truth. We have to let school boards know that CS education is important. We have to start making a difference. If you are a teacher and I can help you please let me know.

    - Alfred

    BTW if you are a K-12 computer science teacher you will want to look into the Computer Science Teachers Association.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Webcasts for Teachers

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    Pat Phillips uses her blog to introduce some upcoming webcasts from MainFunction.com. Pat's blog constantly has interesting items and information about opportunities for computer science teachers. The online forums at MainFunction are a great resource for discussion on curriculum and for asking other teachers for help on technical and other issues. Check it out!
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