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Texas decided the require four years of both math and science. This seems like a good thing and in general I think it is. At the same time it makes it harder for students to find time in their schedules for anything that is does not satisfy requirements for graduation. This leaves computer science out in the cold. A petition was entered with the state Board of Education to include Computer Science (Advanced Placement Computer Science which often counts as college credit) as a course which counts towards those requirements. Mark Stehlik (distinguished assistant dean for undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science) was one of those who testified in favor of the petition. His story of the event is here at the CSTA blog. The short answer is the board decided that Computer Science is neither a science or a math as far as graduation requirements are concerned. This is just amazing to me.
I must get asked once a month about the ability to print a form from a Visual Basic .NET program. Back in VB 6 and earlier a program could easily printout a form under program control. I used to write quick little programs that allowed the user to enter some data, do some calculations or data retrieval and display information on a form. Then I would have the program just print out the form and I'd have a little one page "report." So it wasn't fancy I didn't care. I and a lot of other teachers used to use this feature to have students hand in a hard copy of what their form looked like while working. It was a lot easier than using PrintScreen and copying the image into a Word document.
But for a variety of reasons that feature never made it into Visual Basic .NET. At least not until now. The Visual Basic group has started to create what they are calling Microsoft Visual Basic 2005 Power Packs - "" One of the first of these power packs is the Microsoft PrintForm Component 1.0. This Power Pack lets you add a new control to a Windows Forms project so that you can easily print out a Windows form. I've tried it a little and it seems to work very well.
It only works with Visual Studio 2005 and the 2005 Express editions but I tried it with C# (using Visual C# Express) and it works with C# as well. That is one of the cool things about .NET - most things that work for one language work for all of them.
Here is something interesting. Dan Fernandez is asking users to rate and vote for different web site designs for Coding 4 Fun. Brian Scarbeau is having his web design students study and rate them. Students will get a taste of what companies actually go through. Typically a company will ask one or more media companies to do site designs for professional web sites. The sponsoring group than has to pick the one that they think best fits the audience will like and get the most use from. Brian is having his students cast their own critical eye on these various designs and evaluate them. What a great great idea to take a real world opportunity and bring it into the classroom.