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

January, 2009

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    ACM Urges Obama to Include CS as Core Part of STEM Education


    The ACM, the professional society for the computer professionals, issued a paper and a press release urging President-Elect Obama to include computer science as a core part of STEM education in the US. I was going to quote some of the key recommendations but in typical computer professional style there are too few wasted words in the press release and it started to look like I would quote the whole press release. But I will highlight one quote by ACM CEO John R. White.

    "The new Administration can play an important role in strengthening middle school education, where action can really make a difference, to introduce these students to computer science.  They can also expand efforts to increase the number of females and underrepresented minorities in this field and expand professional development opportunities for high school computer science teachers."

    There is lots more in the proposal including fixing the mess that is computer science teacher certification in this county.

    With every interest group in America and many from around the world sending the transition team recommendations this one may get lost. That would be very sad in my opinion. I really think we are at a key point in education where CS could really take its rightful role with some help from the Federal government, professional societies like ACM and industry partners like, well you know who I mean. And not just companies who make computer hardware or software either!

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Happy New Year 2009


    Well it is a new year. Last year was an interesting year in just too many ways to recount. But we have, in a sense at least, a chance for a fresh start with 2009. I wish my readers all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. But especially happy and healthy. I’ve been taking care of my father this week as he recovers from surgery and complications and that really brings home the idea that health is the most important of those three. And family is pretty darn important as well. I hope your family is well as well.

    One of the New Year’s greetings I received via Twitter included a link to a cute little program written in Small Basic. This program writes out Happy New Year using Turtle graphics in Small Basic. Most of the post is written in Japanese but there is a caption that explains some of how it was done in English. The sample code is there as well. This is code the old fashioned way which I think is actually a very good thing. To me it brings home some better understanding of how things really work. Plus it opens the door for some real creativity. The fact that it ties in to getting images from Flickr brings in the idea of mashups as well. Great opportunity to talk about licenses, fair use and other related topics around intellectual property as well.

    Thanks for sharing this project with me via Twitter! (BTW I’m on Twitter at and if you are on Twitter lets connect.)

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