The lunch speaker for ACET today was Diane Zak, noted text book author. This was the first time I have heard her talk or met her. She gave a very interesting talk about teaching with Visual Basic .NET. Like me, she is in the process of updating a book for Visual Studio .NET 2005 and excited about the new features that are coming. Of course she also complains a bit about how fast things in computer science change and how much work that creates for teachers. And that is an issue. It is a struggle to keep up with technology. One of the things I am hoping we at Microsoft can help with over the next year or so is ways to prepare teachers for these changes. I'm planning a number of web casts that I hope to start later this month.
The other think that Diane Zak talked about was the controversy over using console applications against GUI applications. Her opinion is to use both. That is what I have been doing in workshops lately. I still have mixed feelings about it. I like GUIs but I am aware of the issues that can cause. It will be interesting to see how she develops her ideas in a future textbook. I'm also always interested in what others think about this issue so feel free to leave comments.
By the way, tonight's dinner is at Billy Bob's Texas. Apparently they are the world’s largest honky tonk. Contrary to the suspicions of most students teachers do know how to have a good time so I am looking forward to this.
- Alfred Thompson