The Microsoft Visual Studio Middle School Power Toy 1.0 was originally created by Microsoft China to help meet the curriculum needs for teaching programming in that country. According to regulations/policies of China’s Ministry of Education (MOE) almost all Chinese high school students need to learn computer programming. Bring that up at the next meeting you attend where the need for programming/computer science is questioned! But I digress. This week the English language version of these tools were made available.
The Power Toy is a set of five tools that add into Visual Studio to help beginners. These tools are a free download. Three of the five work equally well with both Visual Basic and C#. Two of them (the assistant class designer and flow chart creator) only work with C# at least for now. The following descriptions comes from the download page. I plan to have individual posts on each of these tools in the very near future.
Sounds cool. Too bad it does not work with Express editions.
Yes it is too bad that some limitations in the Express editions keep these tools from working with them. DreamSpark which will be available for high schools very soon will make the VS Pro free and easy for high school students. And schools can join the MSDN AA program for a very reasonable price and provide students with access at school AND at home. So there are work arounds.
I will have to keep an eye on the DreamSpark. It does not seem to be working at the moment. Since my present CS budget is anything I can download for free DreamSpark is the solution to the MS software I need. We are a small Catholic school with tuition rates for the average local population so my whole CS curriculum is based around "free". I just got a grant to buy some Lego Mindstorms robot kits so I am excited to get the kids using MS VPL and C# (both free) with the robots.
Garth, send me an email at alfredth (at) microsoft.com and let me see if I can help. After teaching in private Catholic schools for 9 years they have a soft spot in my heart. Actually I have a soft spot for schools in general too. :-)
You know what I am going to say? It starts with repo- and ends with -sitory...
The CSTA one that is...
Such wonderful resources and development tools, looks forward to developing some interesting curriculum programs with this. Just have to wait for dreamspark and the MSDN AA for High schools to hit New Zealand, have been told from head of Microsoft New Zealand that it will be soon.