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

February, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Office Solutions for Educators


    Blake Handler keeps finding and sending me these links and I really have to share them. Microsoft is such a huge company and so many groups are doing things for education that it is hard to keep up with them. So I always appreciate it when people send me links like this that I can share with educators. We need to take advantage of the power of computers to improve instruction, collaboration and the way we run schools in general.

    Increasing Student Achievement and Sharing Instructional Best Practices Using the Microsoft Office System

    Under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, states have implemented measurements for determining whether their schools and local educational agencies are making adequate yearly progress in student achievement. Unfortunately, school districts are struggling to meet these requirements. A student achievement solution based on the Microsoft Office System enables teachers to collaborate with students in new ways, empowers students to track their progress by providing access to information on their achievements, and helps school districts meet NCLB requirements.

    Student Achievement Interactive Demo

    K-12 Classroom Collaboration for Students, Teachers, and Parents Using the Microsoft Office System

    Teachers are under increasing pressure to improve student performance while engaging parents and making activities within the classroom transparent. Unfortunately, school districts are struggling with swelling student-to-teacher ratios, disengaged parents, and increased performance reporting requirements. A K-12 classroom collaboration for students, teachers, and parents solution based on the Microsoft Office System enables teachers to give parents access to curriculum and assignments, enables peer-to-peer collaboration with teacher and parent involvement, and helps parents engage in the educational process within and outside of the classroom.

    K-12 Classroom Collaboration Interactive Demo


  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Hoshimi Challenge Webcast Information


    I did the first of two webcasts on Project Hoshimi and the Hoshimi Challenge today. Doing a webcast is an interesting experience. For one thing I was sitting in my home office in New Hampshire at the time and there were no "students" visible in person. The closest thing to a student that I could see was some name on the screen. I'm used to making eye contact with people and that was not going to happen. Windows Live Meeting, which is what we used for the webcast, is a great tool though. People listening to the webcast live can ask questions interactivily during the session.

    The Live Meeting software allows the instructor or meeting presenter (we use Live Meeting a lot for internal Microsoft meetings) to show a PowerPoint presentation to the screen of everyone attending the meeting. More than that is the ability to share the presenter's screen. Using this tool I was able to demonstrate the Project Hoshimi server for running various NanoAI modules, use Visual Studio to show how a NanoAI was programmed and do it all as easily as if people were looking at my laptop being connected to a projector in the same room. I'd have to say that except for lacking the eye contact it is in some ways better than being in person.

    One that it can be better is that recordings can be watched over and over again. They can be stopped and replayed if you need to hear or see something again. Is the future of teaching? Perhaps it is part of it.

    By the way if you want to see this webcast or register for Wednesday's webcast; visit and select webcasts from the training menu on the left of the screen. If you register for today's webcast you will be sent a link to watch the recording. There are other useful webcasts available through Mainfunction as well.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    NECC Schedule is Out


    The National Educational Computing Conference schedule is out. My good friend Pat Phillips is giving a presentation called A Video Game Curriculum for Computer Science. It promises to be a very interesting session.

    NECC is the big educational computing conference and they are expecting "16,000 teachers, technology coordinators, library media specialists, teacher educators, administrators, policy makers, industry representatives, and students from all over the world." I've been in the past and am planning on attending this year as well.

    It's not as computer science focused as I'd like but there are computer science sessions. There is also a Computer Science & Educational Technology Symposium on July 8th (the day after NECC but affiliated with it. I'm going to be giving a session on Windows Vista at the symposium. There will be a full schedule of interesting sessions for computer science and information technology teachers during the day.

    The CS&IT Symposium is hosted by ISTE and CSTA and proudly sponsored by Microsoft. I've been attending them for years and while I was teaching high school computer science I found it to be one of the more valuable learning opportunities of the year.

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