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

December, 2008

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Tetris for Small Basic

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    Talk about a great sample of the week – the Small Basic blog announces a version of the classic Tetris written in Small Basic. At a little over 500 lines of code (530ish) its a pretty cool and yet manageable game program. If you were thinking of writing a version of Tetris of your own in any language this may be one you want to look at for ideas. The code is all there. And if you were not sure how for the simplicity of Small basic could take you (or students) this may impress you. It did me.

    I’d love to hear what others think about this program and/or what they were inspired to do themselves after viewing it. And if nothing else, Tetris is always a great way to kill time until vacation ends. :-)

    Oh and make sure you have the latest 0.2  version of Small Basic (feature information here.)

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Software Modeling

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    So have you unpacked your Christmas gifts, eaten your fill of the holiday feast or perhaps you don’t celebrate Christmas and the whole Internet seems quiet and boring? Maybe you are looking to learn something new? Perhaps explore the idea of software modeling? Or maybe you have heard about Oslo – some new project from Microsoft? Or maybe you are just willing to spend some time watching a video? Well here is a cute time killer.

    I found this video of “the history of modeling” at Channel 8 last week. It’s cute even though it is part education and part advertizing. Either way it is an introduction to Microsoft’s new software modeling tool code-named Oslo. There is more information and other videos at http://modelsremixed.com/ if you are interested.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Students Need Internet-Safety Education

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    According to this article (Sending racy photos is common among teens) in eSchool News, some 22% of teenage girls and 11% of girls 13-16 send nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves to others. Some 18% of boys are sending similar pictures of themselves as well. One third of teen boys and one quarter of teen girls report having pictures of others that were shared with them that were not originally meant for their eyes. These pictures are being passed via cell phone and the Internet via posts or email or IM. I don’t know about you but this is a different world than I grew up in. And it is having an impact on kids.

    These kids do not realize that most of these pictures are technically “kiddie porn” and that creating or even having one of these images could be considered a felony! Just think about that a second. There are other risks as well. Talk about communicating a message that one is “available” or “easy.” A lot of these images are going to people students do not know face to face or in-person.  Who knows were some of these images end up? Some of them are bound to come back to haunt these kids in the future.

    The article gives some messages that should be communicated to parents and students.

    For parents, the initiative recommends:

    1. Talking to kids about what they are doing in cyberspace.
    2. Knowing who kids are communicating with.
    3. Considering limitations on electronic communication.
    4. Being aware of what teens are posting publicly.
    5. Setting expectations.

    For teens:

    1. Don't assume anything you send or post is going to remain private.
    2. There is no changing your mind in cyberspace--anything you send or post will never truly go away.
    3. Don't give in to the pressure to do something that makes you uncomfortable, even in cyberspace.
    4. Consider the recipient's reaction.
    5. Nothing is truly anonymous.

    These are messages that should be taught in schools though. They should be reinforced regularly because too many people just don’t understand what they are doing and how it could effect them in the future.

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