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

August, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Evaluating Web Pages, Blogs, Podcasts and Other Online Resources


    If you are like a lot of teachers who have students evaluate web pages you probably struggle a bit to keep evaluation forms up to date and current for the latest technology. Or perhaps you find yourself teaching a new grade level or a new web course and need new forms for the rapidly approaching school year. It can be a real effort to create grade appropriate evaluation forms.

    It appears that Kathy Schrock has done a lot of this work already. Kathy is one of the best library/media teachers around and has been creating and linking to Internet resources longer than most teachers have been working to find their way around the world wide web. So you know that these resources are worth checking out.

    That page has elementary, middle and high school level forms for evaluating web pages – great for use in a web design course or in a course that takes a critical look at web pages as resources. More than that there are forms for evaluating blogs, webcasts, pod casts, and virtual tours. But wait there is more! There are also links to more sites with information and guidance on how to evaluate web and Internet resources.

    It’s important that students learn to evaluate the reliability and quality of Internet resources. Kathy has put together a lot of things you can use to teach these important skills. Highly recommended.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    New Release of Microsoft Robotics Studio


    I read an announcement that the August CTP (Community Technical Preview) of the Microsoft Robotics Studio software was released for (free) download. You can get the bits here. There are a bunch of new features which you can read about in detail here. These additions include:

    • New Simulation Features
    • New Robot Services (list below copied from the update website.

    We've update our support for the LEGO Mindstorms NXT services to include support for sensors and regulated motor control.

    We've also added services to support several new robots including:

    • Kondo KHR-1
    • LynxMotion Lynx-6 Robotic Arm
    • Parallax BOEBot BASIC Stamp robot
    • RobotConnection Traxster (using the Serializer board)

    Also there are new services to support:

    • GPS devices
    • Inverse kinematics
    • Video capture (using IEEE-1394/Firewire and USB cameras)
    • Text-to-speech (requires the Microsoft Speech SDK)

    Also there are now readme files to document the joystick, gamepad, and mouse services.

    • New Authoring Support
    • New Tutorials – including tutorials for Iron Python and Visual Basic .NET
    • New licensing agreement to make it easier for you to create and share your own derivative software

    Check it out. Also there are some good support resources available at an active discussion community. Even if you don’t use robotics in a course this is a resource to show to students who are really interested in robots.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Large Collection of Robotics Articles


    The RoboBusiness Conference and Expo was held back in June in Pittsburg. I found out that the papers that were given there are now available online here. There is a large number of conference papers there including papers on the Microsoft Robotics Studio, programming the Roomba, walking robots, and robot in the military and in medicine. This is a great site for people who are interested in robots in general or for doing research projects around robots. I’ve downloaded a number of them for some light weekend reading.

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