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

June, 2008

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Above & Beyond Awards - Massachusetts


    The Mass Technology Leadership Council is a great organization of people and companies in the high technology industry in Massachusetts. One of their big interests in supporting teachers who are using innovation in teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Last fall I was happy to write about the 2007 winners to highlight both what teachers are doing and that someone is giving them a little attention for a change. Time is running out to nominate teachers for this year’s awards. There is cash money involved so if you know of a teacher who is doing innovative things in STEM education please nominate them. The deadline is June 30th so do it now.

    Above & Beyond Awards - 2008 Application

    Outstanding contributions in education too often go unnoticed. That is why the Education Foundation of the Mass Technology Leadership Council created the Above and Beyond Awards in 1996. The unique program acknowledges and rewards the unsung heroes who are encouraging the innovative teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (grades K-12) in Massachusetts schools.

    Up to 10 Awards will be presented in the fall of 2008.  Individual nominees are eligible for a $1,000 grant, teams of teachers are eligible for a $2500 grant.

    Link to online application:

    Nominations are due June 30, 2008.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Learn How to Create a Popfly Input Box


    Ed Dunhill have been running a series on web development on his blog. Recently he wrote a great post on Popfly to teach people how to create a custom input box. Ed’s summary of what the post is about is here:

    For the purpose of this tutorial we will implement a block that will take XML data (in the form of an RSS feed), process and display that data. This will demonstrate the principles of building an input block in Popfly using JavaScript. In this tutorial we will build out put functionality into our block so we can display our data formatted with html, it is very easy to tweak the output so it can be transformed and displayed using further blocks.

    I’ve written about Popfly before but have just talked about using the boxes that already exist for it. One can have a lot of fun and learn a lot from the existing Popfly boxes but I think for most programmers the real excitement is in creating ones own boxes. This is a nice way to start.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Learning How to Make a Peer to Peer Zune Game


    I wish I had Dan Waters’ creativity. Recently Dan posted a how to video to introduce the peer to peer Zune game he created. There are a couple of points Dan makes about this example that make it a good learning project.

    • Zune games are perfect for peer-to-peer because of their relatively low processing power and the lack of a central server (unless it's a Zune).
    • Peer-to-peer means everyone is running an instance of the same program - there is no client or server.
    • Thusly, to implement a lobby, you need to have Create and Join Session functionality in the same program.
    • Make ample use of the available NetworkSession events (GamerJoined, GameStarted, SessionEnded) etc.
    • This sample shows how to send a network packet between peers with a Vector2 in it. More complex thinking will be necessary to implement a message handling system.

    This is the first of a series on this Zune project that Dan will be posting so you will want to bookmark his blog.

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