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

December, 2005

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Thank You Oregon


    I'd just like to say hello to any of the teachers at the workshop in Canby Oregon today who stop by the blog. I had a wonderful time talking to you all about my favorite programming language, Visual Basic .NET. I hope you had a worthwhile time. I know I enjoyed meeting you all.

    Thanks to all of you for coming out on a Saturday, especially so close to Christmas. A special thank you to Drew Hinds for setting this event up and to John Colvin for sharing his lab and his technical support. I really appreciate all of your efforts.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Visual Basic Course Link and Textbook Links


    I found an interesting high school Visual Basic course web site recently. I thought I would share it with others and ask anyone reading this to send me links to others. Or leave a comment with a link. One of the things I think would be very useful would be for teachers to have a bunch of sample curriculum and course outlines to look through. Creating a course from scratch is always difficult. And of course it is also useful to compare what you are doing with what others are doing. So here is a start. What pages would you recommend?

    Mr. Minch's Visual Basic Course page - He has resources and program assignments for each chapter in the book he is using. The textbook that his class uses is Visual Basic .NET: Introduction to Programming (2nd edition) by Michael Sprague. He also has practice midterm and final exams, a vocabulary list, and his required coding standards.

    Speaking of textbooks, what do others use? I've got links here to a couple of books that people I know use and like.

    Lawrenceville Press has a textbook by Beth Brown called An Introduction to Programming Using Microsoft Visual Basic .NET I know a lot of teachers who love this book. They are using it at Bishop Guertin where I used to teach for example.

    Diane Zak has a couple of books from Course Technology -Programming with Microsoft Visual Basic .NET, Second Edition seems to be a good first course book. I hear good things about it from others. Microsoft Visual Basic .NET: RELOADED is a bit more advanced and may be better for students who can and will move faster and want more out of a course.

    The latest edition of Visual Basic Basics  from Course Technology (I’m co-author) is, I think, very good for a very beginner class or a class that is just trying to introduce programming to middle or less motivated high school students. It is as fast paced or advanced as the others although the third edition, out later this school year, does have some nice lessons on ASP .NET web programming.

    I’d really love to have some recommendations from other teachers about other books or comments on these books. I think choosing a textbook is an important part of developing a class. The more information one has the better.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Programming an Xbox 360 Controller

    OK so not everyone has been able to get an Xbox 360 yet. (I don't have one.) And of course even fewer can develop programs for them. That requires some very special and hard to get software. But according to Don Box you can at least get an Xbox controller and program for it on your Windows PC using Direct X. Don talks about it and shows some sample code at his blog. Now that is something that has the potential to jazz up a student project!
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