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

January, 2009

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    The 2009 Alice Symposium – Call For Papers


    Just passing this along in hopes that people interested in Alice will see it and take advantage of this opportunity. I have no connection to the conference or the Alice Project. I’m just a fan.

    Deadline: March 15th, 2009

    The 2009 Alice Symposium

    Duke University

    Durham, NC

    June 17, 2009

    Symposium website:

    The one-day Alice Symposium is June 17, 2009. This symposium is for Alice teachers at levels of instruction ranging from Middle school and High School to College and University.

    Note: Two-day workshops will be available before and after the Alice Symposium.

    June 15-16: Alice 3 workshop focusing on Alice in AP and CS1 courses

    June 15-16: Alice 2.2 workshop focusing on Alice in pre-AP, pre-CS1 and non-majors courses

    June 18-19: Media Computation

    You are invited to submit a paper or an abstract for the symposium.

    All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings. We have requested "in-cooperation" status with SIGCSE. If this status is granted, papers will also be made available for publication to the ACM Digital Library.


    • Studies involving the use of Alice
    • Experience papers
    • Nifty Alice teaching ideas
    • Interdisciplinary use of Alice
    • How to teach with Alice
    • Alice use outside of the classroom
    • Alice and computing concepts
    • Alice and animation
    • Other Alice ideas

    There are two types of submissions: Abstracts and Papers.


    If you wish to give a presentation, but do not wish to submit a full paper, you may instead submit a 250 word abstract describing what you wish to present. Presenters will have approximately 20 minutes for their presentations, including questions and answers. (Please note that abstracts, while available in the conference proceedings, will not be made available to the ACM Digital Library.)


    Papers will undergo a blind reviewing process. Papers must not exceed five pages. Authors will have approximately 25 minutes for their presentations, including questions and answers. Papers submitted should follow the ACM SIG Proceedings format. Information is available from the symposium web site.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Windows 7: To the Beta and Beyond


    Something for the IT people at your school or district.

    Date: Thursday, February 12th

    Time: 11:00am Pacific Time

    Join Mark Russinovich and a panel of subject matter experts for a live discussion of what's in store for IT pros with Windows® 7. Learn about the evolution of features like Group Policy, BitLocker™ To Go, DirectAccess, BranchCache™, and Software Restriction then get tips on troubleshooting, deployment, and application compatibility. Bring your questions—Mark and the panel will answer as many as they can during the hour-long event, then publish the rest in a Q&A after the event.

    Find answers to your Windows client OS deployment and management questions with resources, tools, monthly feature articles, and guidance from subject matter experts and early adopters. To learn more, visit

    As part of the “virtual” experience, you may submit your questions about Windows 7 Beta to the panel live during t he event—or submit questions in advance to

    Springboard Series: The resource for Windows desktop IT professionals

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Bernie Madoff and the Need For Ethics in Computer Science


    Have you seen a show or movie about a huge heist lately? The “Mission Impossible” type of movie or perhaps the TV show “Leverage?” One of the things you will notice is that there is always one computer hacker on the team these days. To steal something large and valuable seems to require computer access. Yesterday I can across a post by Mark Cuban titled Breaking Down Bernie Madoff. The MadoffPonzi Scheme” is a theft or con game of the highest magnitude. Cuban points out that is almost sure had some programmers who wrote the software that was used to track everything going on. He’s probably right.

    Computer fraud and theft is, unfortunately, not just the stuff of fiction and the movies – its real. The line from Spiderman is “with great power comes great responsibility” and computer knowledge fits that completely today. Some 15 years ago when I was working on my masters in CS an ethics course was a requirement. It made sense and makes even more today. We don’t have courses in ethics in high schools, let alone middle schools, that often but I think we can and should have some conversations about it. Many students see using computers as a game. They see it as a world where the normal rules do not apply. We need to teach them that the normal rules do apply.

    Online activities have offline consequences. Stealing online is still stealing. And people with computer skills have an obligation to “say no” when asked to do illegal and/or unethical things. “Just following orders” doesn’t work for much of anything and it shouldn’t. Do we prepare students with a sound philosophic base for making ethical decisions? Perhaps we should be thinking about how that fits into the curriculum.

    Note: Other posts I have written relating to ethics may be found at

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