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

July, 2007

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    The 20 Dumbest Words in Software Development


    Brandon McMillon (a friend who I used to work with) has a great post out titled "The 20 Dumbest Words in Software Development" that should be recommended reading for anyone with a career in software development or who is thinking about a career in software development. For anyone managing a software development effort it should be required reading. Brandon worked at Microsoft for a number of year and is the Chief Software Architect for the software company he works for now. He knows what he is talking about.

    But back to the point of Brandon's article. The article is all about the false idea that doing things the right way costs more time than just jumping in and ignoring recommended processes. There is this whole myth about not having the time to do things right. Students fall into this trap easily because they experience success no matter how much they ignore "doing things the right way."

    Students succeed because a) their projects are really small and b) they are ready, willing and able to spend ridiculous amounts of time on projects. In the world of business and industry projects are bigger, involve more people, and have more finite amounts of time that can be spent on them. Brandon talks about how things work for real on real (and large) projects.

    Save a link to his post, print it out for your students to read, and oh make sure you read it yourself.

    PS: Brandon is promising a series of posts that look like they will be interesting and thought provoking. I've subscribed to his blog already.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Outreach-in-a-Box: Discovering IT


    NCWIT (National Center for Women & Information Technology) has created a resource for helping to help people in the Information Technology field to introduce middle-school students to the field of computing.  It is now available online.

    Are you ready to meet and inspire the next generation of computing innovators? Many professionals in IT provide service to their community through youth education. We've made it easy for you to help introduce middle-school students to the world of computing. Outreach-in-a-Box includes everything you need to prepare for and deliver an engaging class presentation at a local middle school -- including a presentation, hands-on robotics activity, and program guide for how to use the materials. All of the materials are available for download.

    You may also want to check out the Gotta Have IT resource from NCWIT.

    Gotta Have IT is an all-in-one computing resource kit designed with educators' needs in mind. A select set of high-quality posters, computing and careers information, digital media and more, the resource kit builds awareness and inspires interest in computing. Gotta Have IT is for all students, but is especially inclusive of girls.

    The people at NCWIT are working hard to help promote attracting more girls/women into the technology field. Like many others they understand that we need to do a better job of educating students to the possibilities while they are still in middle school. College and even high school are just too late. Students are making decisions while still in middle school that impact all of their future education. Programs like the Discovering IT and Gotta Have IT resources are great steps in the right direction.


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  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    How to Do Cool Things in Visual Basic


    OK here's the deal. If you are teaching Visual Basic, programming in Visual Basic for fun or profit, or just interested in how Visual Basic works you really should be subscribed to the Visual Basic Team Blog. Why? A couple of sample links should tell the story. 

    Four posts by Matt Gertz are particularly good and potentially very useful for teachers, students and hobbyists.

    Creating a "paint by numbers" puzzle application in a four part series. Useful individually or collectively.

    Those of you who used to print out your forms in VB 6.0 or who are just interested in printing out VB forms now will really appreciate the last post. But undo/redo and loading and saving files will also be really useful either as ways to learn yourself or to point students to when these things are outside the scope of your usual curriculum.

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