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

April, 2008

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Microsoft Game Studio On Who They Hire


    Clint Rutkas has posted his interview with Frank Savage from Microsoft Gaming Studios over on Channel 8. Frank talks about what it takes to get a job in the game industry. He talks about the need for students to take math and physics in the first few minutes so make your students listen. I think that anyone interested in the game industry will find this interview interesting though.

    Interestingly enough Frank talks about what they want to hear from students during an interview. A lot of it is about showing off and talking about a game that they, the student, has worked on. A lot of what he talks about is a lot like the "art of the demo" that I blogged about yesterday.

    Frank also talks about what it is like to work in the industry. Sounds like you have to really love it. But you also need to have a life away from work. And then there is the need to keep up with the state of the art. Constant learning is important. So is learning how to work with others. Modern games are a team effort. Lots of good stuff in this interview.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    XNA Game-Themed Assignments


    Kelvin Sung from the University of Washington at Bothell has a project that is building XNA Game-Themed assignments for use in computer science classes. I haven't looked at the project too deeply but from the write-up it looks like it might be useful. From the introduction:

    XNA Game-Themed Assignments (XGA) are individual CS1/2 assignments modules designed specifically for selective and gradual adoption. By selective adoption we mean these assignment modules are completely independent from each other such that faculty members can pick and choose to adopt any of the assignments without considering the others. By gradual adoption we are referring to the fact that we have included a complete set of tutorials guiding interested faculty members to develop XGAs of their own. All materials are designed based on the assumption that the reader has no background in computer gaming or computer graphics.

    I like the idea of helping instructors to develop their own projects of this type. I'd like to hear what others think of them.

    The project home page is here.

    The Release Guide with a lot of information and links is here.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Top Conversations In March


    There were a number of blog posts with above average comment counts in March. The post I wrote about number systems in computer science had 9 comments. Pretty much everyone thought this was/is an important topic for computer science students. Personally that was the most fun thing I learned in math before high school. There have to be ways to teach that as a fun thing to learn.

    Likewise my query about XML in schools received a lot of comments in favor of the move. Several people suggested other markup languages as worthy of inclusion as well. I'm thinking that the concept of markup languages as a foundational way of thinking and of sharing data is the key piece and more important than the specific markup language used.

    The build your own or buy (computers) pre-built discussion had a number of comments. That is a discussion I hope students have among themselves and in their classrooms. I don't think there is one right answer to that question but I do think that people need to make the decision based on particular situations and needs.

    The Art of the Demo post that ended March for me also attracted a lot of attention. I was very happy with the information that some teachers are requiring presentations and demos from their students. The point that learning how to deal with things that go wrong was a particularly good one that I wish I had made on my own.

    So far it looks like discussion around the AB CS exam and the future of high school computer science has potential for a lot of activity. I hope you'll join in on those conversations.

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