Additional profile information on Alfred Thompson at Google+
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:
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 http://www.cs.utk.edu/modules/
For those of you in higher education and/or if you at based in the United Kingdom (and maybe some of the rest of you) I'd like to let you know that the Academic team in the United Kingdom is now blogging. This blog looks to be off to a good start.
Of particular interest are a couple of recent posts on XNA that may also be useful to teachers looking at using XNA in secondary schools (or earlier). In this post Andy talks about the way licensing for development on the Xbox 360 and some of how he hopes to make it easier for schools in the future. You should know that while XNA Studio Express is free and that using it to develop games for Windows is completely free there are some additional costs associated with developing for the Xbox 360.
They are not outrageous costs if you think that textbook prices are not outrageous (they are inline with top end textbook prices) but we are aware that any cost at all is an issue at a lot of schools. So we're working on it. But Andy's post will give you a good idea of what the current situation is.
The new service pack for Visual Studio .NET 2003 is available for download here. If you are not upgrading to Visual Studio 2005 (why not?) you may want to have your IT people (or you if you are the IT people as many teachers are) look at installing the service pack for Visual Studio 2003.
It's actually pretty impressive that a product goes this long without a service pack. This one incorperates a lot of fixes, mostly minor or impacting few people, that have accumlated over time. There has been extensive testing on this service pack so it too should be pretty solid. So if you have occasionally run into a little problem (or especially if you frequently run into problems) with Visual Studio .NET 2003 get the service pack.
Oh and if you want to see the list of issues that were fixed they can be found here.