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

August, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Fundamental CS Principles Animations


    The University of Tennessee- Knoxville has a website that contains a series of animated presentations that describe some fundamental principles of computer science.  There are modules there that describe:

    1. Computer Architecture
    2. Data Representation of numbers
    3. Data representation of text
    4. Data representation of images and sound
    5. Basic networking and the Internet

    These are resources one could easily assign students to view on their own during a study hall or other time when the regular computer teacher is missing but you still want kids to actually learn something. Or they could be used as a regular part of a class in computer history or computer literacy. Actually I can think of a lot of times and courses that could benefit from these modules. In fact I may send this link to some adult members of my family so I don't have to explain these principles to them myself.

    These materials are very well done. Get to them at

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Where to learn about using XNA


    Krishna Kumar in my group has just opened up a blog with a focus on XNA. In his "welcome to my blog" post Krishna lays out his proposed "program of studies." If you are interested in XNA you will want to either subscribe to his blog or at least set it as a favorite in your web browser of choice so you can follow along at home. Krishna is so far ahead of me on XNA that it is almost embarrassing. More of a teaser from Krishna's blog.

    Moving onto what this space will offer and how this will differ from the 100 other sites that are inevitably going to mushroom around XNA, the focus of this space is to provide a very strong foundation on which to base your XNA programming adventures. We won't just be looking at how to modify 1 or 2 lines of code in the starter kits. We will be talking about the foundations of the technology, get a deep understanding of the underpinnings of XNA, D3D and graphics in general so that when as you program XNA, you do so as an L33T and not a script kiddie.

    In short, this will be the next best thing to taking a Computer Science course in Graphics using XNA, only that you won't have a deadline to submit homework and won't have to shell out $3000.

    Take a look at his "course outline" and either encourage him to keep going or suggest things you want him to add or change. Tell him "Alfred sent me."

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Make Movies with Windows Movie Maker


    With the advent of digital video equipment, digital auto equipment and computers software, often free software, a lot more people are interested in doing interesting things with video. It has probably never been more easy for regular people to create great looking video. Sites like You Tube have made it easier for people to share their work of course. But often people need a little help getting started.

    Thanks to a link from Alex Barnett I found this how to video on YouTube that explains how to make a movie with Windows Movie Maker.  Blake Handler links to still more Windows Movie Maker resources here. I can see a lot of fun and educational things students (and perhaps teachers as well) can do with this free tool. It's about 13 minutes long, uses the Spanish version of the software, but the language of instruction is in English. Check it out.

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