Yesterday I gave one of the keynote talks at Stevens Institute of Technology’s second annual high school computer science workshop. Ursula Wolz, The College of New Jersey, was a tough act to follow with her great presentation/demo on Scratch. Scratch is one of my favorite teaching tools and I learned several things about it that I didn’t know. And then it was my turn. I did have a wonderful time at this event. I had the chance to talk one to one with a number of teachers which was great. I especially enjoyed putting some faces to names of people I had exchanged email with recently. Also several people were nice enough to tell me that they read this blog which is always exciting to hear.
A lot of people don't realize how much work (including paper work) is involved in field trips so something like this is always an effort for teachers. It is far from a "day off" but really means more work. So thanks to all of the teachers who put in the extra work to take their students on a field trip to Stevens.
During my talk I mentioned several products/tools that I think are good ways, or at least fun ways which makes them good for me, to learn more about programming. I have to send the nice people at Stevens a list of links so I thought I would post the list here as well.
Popfly - is one thing I have written about before. My hands on lab which I mentioned during my talk is posted here. (More of what I have written about Popfly here.)
Popfly Wiki for tutorials and other helpful information
RoboChamps – Online, Virtual Robot Competition – This competition is run using Microsoft Robotics Studio.
XNA Game Studio Express – Creating games using C# and a powerful set of libraries and other resources. (See here for a bunch more that I have written about XNA. Or start here for a bunch of links I put in one post.)
Speaking of robots, in the panel discussion IPRE came up. IPRE (Institute for Personal Robots in Education) is a joint research project with Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr that uses simple inexpensive robots to teach programming.
Sad to say, when I tried to go to http://www.robochamps.com/ from a New York Cite DoE computer I discovered it was blocked as a social networking site.
That is sad. My guess is that some automated process added it to a list. Do you have a tech person you can talk to about it?
My students tell me about sites they can't get access to at school all the time. I can only tell them to look at those sites from home where they don't get blocked.
I'm sure you can do this to get access to the robocamps site.
I've stopped fighting city hall to get sites unblocked.
Easier to just view the site from a different computer. Problem Solved!
Me too, but you would think that Bill Gates could talk some sense into the DoE people. He does give the city a lot of money.
Bill typically talks to the people in charge not the people who actually do things. Lots of stuff never filters down from the top or up from the bottom in most organizations. People in the middle control most things.
So let me know who needs talking to in NYC to get RoboChamps unblocked and I'll see if I can't find someone at the right level to talk to them. Send me an email.