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

November, 2007

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    WiiMote (Wii game controller) and Microsoft Robotics Studio


    I've written before about the Wii controller with links to software that allows a programmer to use a WiiMote with a Windows computer over at Coding 4 Fun. (Note that the code has been updated since that original post.)

    The latest cool thing I have seen that involves the WiiMote is Zeddy Iskandar showing off his sample code that uses Microsoft Robotics Studio and a WiiMote to control a robot remotely. The demo uses a Lego NXT based robot but I'm sure the code sample could be used to run other kinds of robots as well.

    Over at Channel 8 (this post) there is a video demo and step by step instructions including code examples that Zeddy used. Check it out!

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Update on Summer 2008 Alice & Media Computation Workshops


    Barbara Conover, Project Manager, Center for Visualization (Alice Grants) sent me the following information about Alice and Media Computation workshops being run this coming summer. If you are interesting in either Alice or Media Computation as good ways to introduce computer science these workshops are being taught by some of the best and most knowledgeable people around.

    For what it is worth I have visited Circus Circus in Las Vegas and completely agree that there are lots of things there that are kid and family safe and fun. There is a lot more to Las Vegas than gambling and adult beverages these days.


    We wanted to provide you more details about next summer's Alice and Media Computation workshops. The first piece of news is that we will be running a beginner and an advanced track for each of Alice and Media Computation. (Please note that we expect you to be comfortable with programming in Java, as the Media Computation part of this workshop will involve the programming in Java using the special Media Computation libraries.) The presenters will be Steve Cooper, Wanda Dann, and Don Slater for the Alice materials and Steve Cooper and Barb Ericson for the Media Computation materials.

    The Las Vegas workshop will be held at the Circus Circus Hotel ( on the Las Vegas strip on July 27-30. This hotel has an amusement park and a circus for those of you who might be bringing family members.

    The Orlando workshop will be held on August 10-13 at the Regal Sun Hotel ( This is a "Disney affiliated" hotel, located in downtown Disney (a great nightspot with lots of great restaurants, shopping and evening entertainment), and provides free shuttle service to all Disney attractions.

    We will be announcing these workshops to the larger computer science education community in February. But, if you or a colleague is interested in attending, please contact Barb Conover as soon as possible to reserve a place. Space will be capped at 44 teachers per workshop.

    **Please note** we will be requesting a refundable $500 deposit in March to confirm your reservation. We have no intention of cashing your checks, and will give you back your checks upon successful completion of the entire four-day workshop. (We are sorry to be tough about this, but fear that a free room and food at a popular tourist attraction might otherwise be too much of a distraction for some.)

    To register or for further information, please contact Barbara Conover (

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Visual Studio Express 2008 is out


    Visual Studio 2008 was released to manufacturing this week and there is a lot of news about it around the Internet. Almost lost in the excitement (well geek excitement anyway) is that the newest versions of Visual Studio Express have also been released. You can get them here.

    One of the blogs you'll want to look at though is Dan Fernandez who lists the 15 things he likes best about the newest Visual Studio Express products. And he includes my favorite thing - they're free. If you are into game programming in C++, as a lot of people are, Dan introduces the new Game Development Kit for C++ that works with Visual C++ Express. And much more.

    The Beginning Developer Learning Center has been refreshed as well. There are a lot of brand new and updated learning resources there. Take a look.

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