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The last two winters Microsoft and Microsoft Research have partnered to host a conference on game development in computer science education. Between the high quality of academic papers and the support through attendance and participation of commercial game development and game tool creating companies this has quickly become one of the most anticipated conferences of the year. This year's conference is co-sponsored by ACM/SIGCSE and Electronic Arts.
In the past we've had a very small number of high school teachers at the conference. This year I have been given leave to create a special high school computer science track for the conference and to encourage high school teachers to attend. We're still working on the track but already there are some great things lined up that I think will make this a valuable experience.
The current list of confirmed GDCSE’08 general session & tech talk speakers includes people from the Alice project at Carnegie Mellon, Blizzard Entertainment, Electronic Arts, and Bungie (the people who create Halo). A large number of university faculty will also be talking about how they use game development to teach computer science concepts.
Please look at this page for information on the conference and contact me at (alfredth (at) Microsoft.com or though the blog contact page) if you have any questions.BTW High school teachers can get a 50% reduction in the cost of the conference. Contact me for details.
Oh did I mention that the conference is on a cruise ship leaving from Florida?
There are a couple of reasons to link to this post by Stephen Downes. The best reason is because he has a wonderful list of very worthwhile blogs and blog posts there. Now you could say I am biased because he lists this blog but in all honesty I'd link to it even if I wasn't there. Stephen has one of the best "fingers on the pulse" of education blogging of anyone I know so when he puts together a list you know there is not only serious thought behind it but a lot of knowledge based on experience.
I do recommend his list. I was disappointed in some (though not all) of the ways the EduBlog awards went this year. Of course you can't please everyone and not everyone can win. Stephen's list though is a great second look at what has been good in the education blogosphere in the last year. It's well worth a read.
And in my defense (if I need one) a link to his blog is the least I can do to thank him for the link to mine.
Over at the XNA blog they have announced that XNA Game Studio Express version 2.0 has now been released. Full information and links to the download may be found here. Unlike the beta the released version allows PCs and Xbox 360s to communicate over the network. There are other changes and enhancements as well but the XNA team does a much better job of explaining them than I could hope to.
BTW if you are using XNA GSE and have questions you will want to know about the XNA Forums. These forums are THE PLACE to go to when you have questions. I think that if you check them out you will find that a lot of questions have already been answered there. My motto has always been "anyone can learn from their own mistakes; the smart people learn from other people's mistakes." Be a smart person. :-)
Of course if you have already learned a lot you can be an important part of the community by sharing what you know on the forums. Join in and share the knowledge you have gained.