Additional profile information on Alfred Thompson at Google+
I am traveling today. I am on my way to Seattle WA for a couple of days of training. On Wednesday I leave Seattle for Austin TX and the TCEA conference. The plan is to be there for the T-A/CS SIG meeting Wednesday night and stay until Friday when I will return to Seattle for more training and meetings over the week-end. A busy week to be sure but if all goes well I will be home in time to celebrate 30 wonderful years of marriage.
I am excited about the Seattle time because there will be Microsoft Academic people from all over the world there. Some I have met before and some I only know from email and phone conversations. It is always exciting to meet people in real life who you already sort of know over the Internet.
Texas and TCEA are also a big deal to me. Texas is probably my favorite state away from home. The people there are wonderful for one thing. I have a number of friends who will also be at TCEA and it is always great to be with them in person. I am also hoping to meet some people there for the first time. If any of you reading this will be there either at the SIG meeting or just at TCEA please come look me up. I should be spending some of my time at the Microsoft booth but you can reach me by email through the contact form on this blog as well.
I hope to see you there!
BTW if there are any Microsoft people who will be in Seattle for either TechReady 4 or the Academic Airlift I'd love to see you as well. Always great to put faces to names.
A recent blog post at the NCWIT blog Katy Dickinson writes about her daughter's experiences with computer science education in high school. Her daughter had a horrible experience with her first "introduction to computing" class as a freshmen but was having a wonderful time in a programming course as a senior.
The insights that Katy's daughter Jessica shares are interesting, valuable but not completely unexpected. Some of it boils down to "good teaching." A teacher who is knowledgeable and comfortable and even excited about the subject. Work that is interesting and that shows real results. Things move. Programs that mean something. Letting the computer do the busy work so that the student can think and learn about things that matter. And of course a teacher who holds themselves and their students to high standards.
And of course there is real value in good role models. Do we do a good job of showing women in important roles in the computer industry? Katy Dickinson is the Director, Business Process Architecture, for Sun Microsystems' CTO & Sun Labs organizations so her daughter knows that women make it in computer science. How many other girls see or even read about similar examples?
There are far too many teachers who are less than passionate about their subjects. We need to find some ways to either fire them up or move them to things they are passionate about. Failing that we need to find ways to help them bring some passion into the classroom. Guest speakers, interesting projects, contests, videos, field trips - something.
If we want to get more students into the field of computer science and information technology we have to show them by example that there are people who love it and who feel they are making a difference in the world.
Microsoft has started a 10-day survey to gather feedback on the Primary and Secondary School Education Blueprint that they are developing. Primary and Secondary School IT Professionals and educational leadership can help shape the Blueprint so that it really meets their needs.
If you are a Primary or Secondary school information technology professional or in an education leadership role and would like to participate the link is here.