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

October, 2006

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    How's Your School Year Going?


    My friend Dave Jacobus is blogging again and provides a look into how his school year is going. Dave uses Code Rules (a free curriculum resource I've talked about before) in his Visual Basic .NET course. He supplements it with a number of projects of his own. He writes about some of them on his blog and provides a link to the student template for one of them. This is a great example of teachers sharing with others.

    Dave also teaches AP CS (Java) and he talks about the stack project he is using with that class as well. It's all good stuff and it sounds like his school year is running fairly well so far. Brian Scarbeau has been writing about his year on his blog lately as well. He's using DotNetNuke with his web development students.

    I hope to read other updates on other teacher blogs soon. If you know of any good computer science teacher blogs that are not already on my list at this site please leave me a comment. Thanks!



  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    100 Principal Blogs in 100 Days


    The CASTLE Project is trying to get 100 school principals to become active bloggers in 100 days. The wiki for the project is at but I think that the single most useful thing at the site is probably the information packet. The information packet has a rather complete discussion of why school administrators should blog in the first place. The discussion document was based on a series of blog posts at Scott McLeod's Dangerously Irrelevant blog.

    I'm a firm believer that school administrors should blog. They should do so to create more community around their schools but they should also blog to create a more open atmosphere around education. Too often schools become a sort of closed community - a sort of "black box" - where children are sent to be processed with few beyond their teachers and parents (and not even all parents) knowing what is going on inside the building. We need more openness in the whole process. Blogging could help.

    There is a list of the Principal bloggers that the program knows about already of course. Some of them are already up and posting and some are to be created. Also some of them are independent of the 100 Principals in 100 Days effort. If you are looking for ideas about how principals might use blogs this would be a good list to start with.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    What are the most important concepts in Object Oriented Programming


    The Wicked Teacher of the West is looking for the most important concepts in Object Oriented Programming as she develops a new course. It's a tough question because teachers only have so much time to present material to students. That time has to be used wisely. 

    My list is more or less:

    • Encapsulation - students need to know that in a class you include all of the data and methods.
    • Constructors - Making sure everything has an initial vale and what does instantiation really mean?
    • Overloading - Not strictly OOP but very important in OOP especially with constructors and overloaded methods with inheritance and polymorphism.
    • Inheritance - How else does one understand moving from general to specific solutions in OO Design?
    • Polymorphism - a good think to know before thinking about generics as well as useful for dealing with things that are close but not the same.

    I feel like I am leaving something out. I need more time on this. What do you think I am leaving out? Is anything on my list not among the "most important" concepts of OOP?

    Of course the basic building blogs of "regular" programming are also important.

    • Data types
    • Variables and arrays
    • Discussion structures
    • Loops
    • Recursion

    It all has to be build around understanding problem solving and good design thinking. Without problem solving skills its all just wasted. Of course I'm just stating the obvious - right?



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