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I regularly get questions from teachers about Visual Studio and Visual Basic. This is my frequently asked questions list. Feel free to send me more questions about using Visual Basic in the classroom either by leaving a comment or by sending email to me at Alfred.Thompson at Microsoft.com
Why should I upgrade from Visual Basic 6.0 to Visual Basic .NET?
Why should I choose to teach using Visual Basic .NET?
Why should I upgrade from Visual Basic .NET 2002/2003 to Visual Basic .NET 2005?
When will support for Visual Basic 6.0 end?
How much does it cost for a high school to upgrade to Visual Basic .NET 2005?
What are the configuration requirements for Visual Basic .NET 2005?
The answer depends on “what do you mean by support?” The complete support explanation for Visual Basic 6.0 is available at http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?p1=2971
I've been hearing (reading in blogs and comments actually) that a lot of people think that all the big, important or interesting problems in computer science have been solved. Well the Bill Gates college tour visited Columbia yesterday and the computer science faculty there presented Bill wit h a list of the top five remaining computer science problems. You can read about the whole visit at Kevin Schofield's blog. I think that it is important for students to know that there are important and difficult problems left to solve.
BTW Bill added a sixth problem - concurrency - to the list the faculty gave him. How do you break up problems so that multiple processors can work on them at the same time. This is a huge problem because we are running into limits on how fast one computer can run. That means that the way to get answers faster is going to mean getting computers to work together. This is something that students may find to be an interesting puzzle to work on.
- Alfred Thompson
As a follow up to an earlier post, I’d like to present some more resources for computer science teachers. Some are directly involving programming and some are more generally related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) programs. STEM programs are designed to get more students excited and interested in careers in those areas. The programs I list here are heavy in the TE – Technology and Engineering – piece. But there is enough science and math for everyone here.
Kids Programming Language – Kid’s Programming language or KPL is and easy and fun programming language for beginners. KPL is a free educational program developed by Morrison Schwartz, a software development and consulting company. There is also a growing community of users. It’s quite the cool thing. In fact, the Coding 4 Fun web site has a start up programming project for KPL that shows how to create and old-fashioned Pong game. Oh, and if you want to go on to other programming languages KPL will generate Visual Basic .NET or C# code from a KPL project! It’s a great way to demonstrate how concepts translate across programming languages.
FIRST Robotics – FIRST Robotics is a major, international robotics competition for high school students. For the past several competitions the robot has had to operate autonomously which means someone has to program it. It’s just the thing for someone who is thinking about computer engineering or embedded systems programming.
FIRST Lego League – FLL is a smaller robotics competition for middle school students. This one really involves a lot of programming but the robots are much simpler than the FIRST Robotics robots for high schools. I’ve seen a lot of participation by girls on these teams locally. A great way to get boys and girls an early start programming and thinking about engineering.
InvenTeams – The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams program provides grants to high schools with projects in mind around inventions. Funded by the Lemelson Foundation, InventTeams Mission (from their web site):