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

July, 2009

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Interesting Links July 27th 2009


    Computers and vision – what’s up with that? Things we do with our eyes without out a seconds thought are difficult for computers. From Scott Lum  (@scottlum) I learned about a page outlining Computer imaging & vision projects from Microsoft Research Fascinating stuff.

    Paolo Barone (@pbarone) lives and works in the UK but he’s from Rome Italy so he finds stuff like this -  The Gismondy model of Ancient Rome powered by Silverlight and Deepzoom Just fascinating. I see this as the sort of technology usage that has great potential for teaching and learning. Show it to your friends who teach history or who are interested in things Roman.

    Paolo also recommended DeepMoon the biggest DeepZoom composition in the known universe for all you lunar explorers and astronomers.

    Lots of people wonder about Windows 7 for education. With so many schools sticking with XP for so long they wonder what’s in Windows 7 for them. Scott Thompson (@K20_Education) recorded a video demo of Windows 7 for education as part of this blog post on the subject. 

    Are you bummed out about Popfly going away? So am I. The good news is that you can download and play Popfly Games Offline So check out this post on Coding 4 Fun and get your games while there is still time.

    Most people who are interested in the intersection of robots, science fiction and ethics are familiar with Asimov’s 3 Laws of Robotics. According to this article in Wired magazine Robo-Ethicists Want to Revamp Asimov’s 3 Laws. What an interesting and relevant topic of discussion for a computer science class, computer scientists in general, and really anyone concerned about the future of human machine interactions.

    Now I happen to believe there are other and more important reasons to pick a college degree or even a career than money. But if you are interested in money this article on the Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary  May be of interest to you. A lot of technology in those degrees but they all have a need for math. So pay attention in math class everyone! 

    The CSTA blog post titled Summer Learning for Teachers talked mainly about summer learning opportunities for teachers. But I found the comments on learning by doing not just by reading to be especially meaningful to me. Closely related was the articles on what it is like to be a student I linked to last week.

    Speaking of CSTA,  the Speaker Presentations from the 2009 CS&IT Symposium are up now available online. SO if you didn’t make it to the CS & IT Symposium, or you did but missed some talks or you did and you want links to what people talked about head on over.

    New last week as the announcement of Microsoft education labs with projects to help educators. The first announcement was a Microsoft Live Services Plug-in for Moodle. Check out the site and the Microsoft Education Labs blog for more news on a regular basis. Seriously if you are into technology in education you’ll want to track what is going on here.

    Now a blog for something I wrote in another blog I maintain. While I don’t post there as often I like to write about social networking and social computing at Live Spaces. Recently I posted something there about how Twitter is something I use for professional development and keeping up with education news and events. The post is called Twitter Is My Virtual Faculty Lounge. Please take a look and leave a comment if you have something to add or want to straighten me out.

    Microsoft New England Research & Development (yes, Microsoft NERD) has a blog. Read about their summer high school interns. I’ve been hoping to see more intern opportunities for high school students outside the Redmond WA area for years. So I’ll be watching this summer closely. I’ve met these interns and they are really great kids. I hope they enjoy their internships and learn a lot.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    What It Is Like to be A Student?


    A friend of mine, a teacher I have great respect for, took a week long workshop. Some of it went well and some of it, well, not so well. And they wrote about it. These two posts are chock full of useful observations and insights on what it is like to be a student and why even good students can struggle. Ten object lessons and a couple of thought questions make this a case study I think many people can learn from.

    One thing that isn’t explicitly spelled out it that students can learn a lot from each other. Letting students help each other can be a great thing for everyone involved. Honestly it is one of the reasons my classes tended to be a little louder than many others in the building. I have to say that I have learned a ton from my peers in courses and workshops my whole life as well.

    So anyway, if you are a teacher go read those posts. I’d be amazed if you didn’t learn something about teaching. I sure learned a bunch.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    RoboZZle – a social puzzle game


    RoboZZle bills itself as “a social puzzle game” but to me is is a fun and interesting way to introduce programming concepts. Yes it is a puzzle. The social aspect is that members of the community can create their own games. There are a series of tutorial puzzles to start things off. One of the things you will find is that the tutorials introduce recursion (without bringing up the term to scare people) very early in the process. I have to say that makes it a particularly interesting teaching tool for me.

    Check it out at I think you’ll find it fun. And perhaps it is a game to get young  people interested in programming.

    The description of RoboZZle from the Coding 4 Fun blog is:

    Robozzle is a Silverlight game that helps teach players the art of programming logic through a series of fun and challenging community-created puzzles.  What's more, the game is "community sourced" meaning not only can you contribute new levels - but actually help expand the game and shape it's future.

    There is a community around a part of the server-side RoboZZle code at Codeplex if you are looking for a projet  like this to get involved with.

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