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

March, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    From the office to the classroom

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    There is an interesting article at NEA Today titled Swapping the Boardroom for the Classroom that is about business people making the move from industry to teaching. Twelve years ago, after 18 years in the computer industry, I moved into the classroom for nine years. Its not a move for everyone of course but I know a number of people who have made this move. Many of them have taken pay cuts of 50-60% to do a tough job but one that they really love. Some of them have retired with pensions from industry jobs. Some have husbands or (in more cases) wifes who make enough money that they can afford the pay. Some have just toughed it out because they made a life style decision and have a real desire to make a difference and do something meaningful and inportant with their lives.

    As for me, I've been out of the classroom, at least as a full-time job, for almost three years now. To tell you the truth I miss it.

    Oh not all of it. I don't miss the paperwork and some of the administrative overhead. But that wasn't much worse than what it is in industry. The same is true of the politics. All work has politics. And I don't miss the paycheck. But I really miss the students. My wife and son both work in education and I love to hear them talk about their students. But at the same time it makes me wonder if I'm doing anything as important as they are with my time.

    What do I miss? I miss seeing the light shine in their eyes when the finally get a concept. I miss seeing the satisfaction in their face when their best friend marvels at the game program they just wrote. I miss having students ask if they really have to go to the next class when what they want to do is work on their programming project. I miss being a part of their lives - if only for a short time.

    Most of them will forget you within a year or two of graduation of course. But a few will call you up (or send an email) a couple of years after college and say "can I take you out to lunch so I can say thank you." Or they will introduce you to their boss as the person who taught them how to program correctly. Or maybe they'll just ask you if they can call you by your first name now. But some will remember you and you will know that in some way you made a difference in their lives.

    Somehow in my gut I know I will be back in the classroom full-time some day. In the mean time, someone please invite me to talk to your class so I can keep my hand in. If you're in a reasonable drive from southern New Hampshire I'm sure we can work out a time.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Game Development Academic Days 2006

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    Pat Phillips attended a conference on Gaming Concepts and Technologies for use in Computer Science education. She's got some information about what she learned and a slideshow with a series of interviews with educators who went on the conference. She talks about it on her blog. A lot of good links there as well.

    Frankly Pat finds a ton of great information for computer science teachers. I don't know how she does it. So if you teach CS you should really make Pat's blog on MainFunction a regular read.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Interesting Technology Videos for Everyone

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    A new community site for people interested in technology called On10.net is now live. This site will present a new technology related video each day during the work week.

    The first show is a very interesting tour of KEXP a member supported radio station that broadcasts over the Internet. This is not your typical radio station either. The DJs play what ever music they want because there are no sponsors to limit them.

    The hosts are two young women with a lot of energy. I believe that these videos will appeal to a lot of students. If students are interested in new, interesting and innovative ways that technology is changing the way we live this is the site to send them. 

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