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

October, 2009

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Web 2.0 and Other Educational Resources from Microsoft


    OK, this may not be the definitive index to Microsoft resources for teachers but it’s close. Something for everyone from elementary school English teachers to high school science teachers (check out the world wide telescope) to high school computer science teachers. Lots to choose from.

    Web 2.0 and Other Educational Resources from Microsoft

    1. PhotoSynth -

    You can share or relive a vacation destination or explore a distant museum or landmark. With nothing more than a digital camera and some inspiration, you can use Photosynth to transform regular digital photos into a three-dimensional, 360-degree experience. Anybody who sees your synth is put right in your shoes, sharing in your experience, with detail, clarity and scope impossible to achieve in conventional photos or videos.

    2. Worldwide Telescope -

    WorldWide Telescope (WWT) enables your computer to function as a virtual telescope, bringing together imagery from the best ground and space-based telescopes in the world. Experience narrated guided tours from astronomers and educators featuring interesting places in the sky.

    3. Office Labs – Concepts

    a. Community Clips

    If there’s a new trick or skill you want to learn in Microsoft Office, but you don’t have the time to take a course, check out Community Clips. It offers a portal through which you can easily browse, view, share, and discuss informal "how-to-use” Office videos from around the world. It also gives you the ability to record your own screens and voice, so you can create your own training videos to share.

    b. SharedView

    Connect with up to 15 people in different locations and get your point across by showing them what's on your screen. Share, review, and update documents with multiple people in real time. A Windows Live ID (Passport, Hotmail, or MSN) is required to start sessions, but not to join sessions. New in version 1.0: we have added a web based join experience to make SharedView even easier.

    4. Live@edu -

    a. Office Live Workspace

    If the H1N1 flu virus keeps your students away from the classroom, continue the learning online by using Office Live Workspace to:

    · share assignments

    · distribute handouts

    · post presentations

    · enable group collaboration

    Use this free online service to publish and share Microsoft Office Word documents, Office Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations. Students can get class information from anywhere they have Internet access.

    b. Skydrive

    With SkyDrive, you can embed public or shared folders on Windows Live Spaces. Everyone can see what’s public, but only people you’ve granted permission can see your shared folders.

    Computer Science and Computer Technology Resources

    1. Pre-Collegiate Faculty Connection -

    Microsoft’s site for K-12 educators where you can access resources developed for middle school and high school technology, computer science and math teachers. Just released: A tutorial and Curriculum unit for teaching and learning Expression Web – the latest Web development software.

    2. MSDN Academic Alliance -

    The MSDN Academic Alliance is the easiest and most inexpensive way for academic departments to make the latest Microsoft software available in labs, classrooms, and on student PCs. The program, which is available in more than 45 countries worldwide, has two primary goals:

    1. To make it easier and less expensive for academic institutions to obtain Microsoft developer tools, platforms, and servers for instructional and research purposes.

    2. To build a community of instructors who can share curriculum and other learning resources to support the use of these technologies.

    3. DreamSpark -

    DreamSpark High School provides professional level development and design tools to students enrolled in an accredited, secondary educational institutions at no charge. Register now and give your students access to all the great software and training DreamSpark offers.

    4. Expression for Educators -

    These educational materials provide a variety of resources for learning Web design with the tools provided in Microsoft Expression Studio software.  Students, educators and hobbyists of all ages will find quick tutorials, short learning units and extensive course content to fit their individual teaching and learning styles. The range of difficulty goes from easy - with the quick start tutorials that require no previous Web design experience- to a more advanced level for people who are already skillful at using Web technologies and employing design strategies.  The one semester web design course is appropriate for high school and introductory post-secondary technology courses.

    5. IT Academy -

    The Microsoft IT Academy program is designed for accredited academic institutions worldwide. Today there are thousands of Microsoft IT Academies in more than 100 countries and regions.

    The program provides educators with the tools they need to effectively train students on Microsoft technologies, prepare students for the global economy, and create a skilled community. This subscription-based membership program offers curricula, courseware, and online learning for students focused on a profitable career path, life-long learning, and Microsoft certification.

    6. Alfred Thompson’s High School Computer Science blog -

    Alfred Thompson's blog about teaching computer science at the K-12 level. Alfred was a high school computer science teacher for 8 years. He has also taught grades K-8 as a computer specialist. He has written several textbooks and project books for teaching Visual Basic in high school and middle school. Alfred is the K-12 Computer Science Academic Relations Manager for Microsoft.

    Other Education Resources for Education

    1. Innovative Teachers Network -

    The Innovative Teachers Network makes it easy to find the resources you need, contribute your favorite curriculum resources, and connect with educators to transform your classroom into a technology-rich environment for classroom learning!

    2. Microsoft Partners in Learning -

    Partners in Learning is a global initiative designed to actively increase access to technology and improve its use in learning. Our goal is to help schools gain better access to technology, foster innovative approaches to pedagogy and teacher professional development and provide education leaders with the tools to envision, implement and manage change.

    3. PiL (MSFT Institute)

    Participate in a unique professional development experience that will provide you and your organization with tools and resources to create and support innovative environments and organizations. Based on key learnings of Microsoft initiatives and our Partners in Learning program, (which has already reached nearly 3.5 million educators in more than 100 countries), this program will give you new ideas to implement in your organizations, district, classroom, or workplace. One coming October 27 - 29, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    4. Microsoft Education Teachers Site -

    The home page for Microsoft resources for teachers of all levels.

    5. Digital citizenship curriculum -

    The Digital Citizenship and Creative Content program is a free, turnkey instructional program. The goal is to create an awareness of the rights connected with creative content. Because only through education can students gain an understanding of the relevance of and a personal respect for creative rights and grow to become good digital citizens.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Loneliness of a Department of One


    I read the blog post by Daniel Moix on the CSTA blog today (My Voice) with interest and a mix of emotions. His is a story I have heard before. The computer science teacher who is a department of one or merged into a department (sometimes science, sometimes math) where they just don’t really fit. Much as we talk about computer science being a course that could (should?) count for a math or science credit the fact is that few schools believe it fits either department. It’s a tough situation to be in but it is the norm for high school computer science teachers.

    What does it mean? It means no one locally to discuss projects, grading rubrics, how to present specific topics, share test development, help recruit students or provide many of the other means of peer support that academic departments normally provide as a matter of course. It means feeling like no one understand you or what you are trying to do. It means no one to go to when a student “breaks” their program and you can’t figure out what is wrong. It means no one to plan with or bounce ideas off of. It also means that when budget cuts or scheduling issues come up one is all alone against groups of people with different priorities.

    Even at technology education conferences the computer science teachers are often a tiny part of the program. At a large event like TCEA or NECC (now ISTE going forward) there are special interest groups and they are helpful. At other regional conferences computer science teachers often find nothing of interest and no active group for them to relate to.

    This is one reason that the work of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) is so important. The leadership cohorts that CSTA has been training are actively at work starting local chapters. There are now local CSTA chapters starting up and/or running in 10 states now. If you are in one of those states and teach computer science get in contact with them and get involved. Strength in numbers. And if they is no local chapter get in touch with your local CSTA leadership cohort people (list here) and help them get a local chapter going in your area. No one should be alone.

    Oh and you New England people, if you are looking for a guest speaker let me know. Love to come by and help anyway I can.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Interesting Links October 12 2009


    Well here it is Columbus Day and my home wi-fi is dead – long story. So I drove to the library to use their wi-fi. And they are closed. Closed on a holiday? I guess it make some sense. Fortunately the wi-fi reaches the parking lot and so I sit here working on some stuff that absolutely has to get done today. So ok blogging is not absolutely has to get done but other stuff does. I wanted to post this while I was connected though. Twitter continues to be a great source of useful links for me. So does my email and I really appreciate the people who email me links to share. I hope you will find one of more of these useful.

    SIGCT, NCWIT and ISTE have announced the free Gotta Have IT Webinar

    • ISTE's SIGCT and the NCWIT K-12 Alliance present a FREE Gotta Have IT webinar. Join us as we highlight important issues and opportunities related to computing and advise you on making the most of your Gotta Have IT resource kit.
      Gotta Have IT, a select set of high-quality posters, computing and careers information, digital media and more, builds awareness and inspires interest in computing. Gotta Have IT was created by major capacity-building organizations and corporations who are committed to improving the representation of women in computing. Learn more about the NCWIT K-12 Alliance here:
      Didn't get your kit at NECC2009 in DC? The sources for all the materials can be found at: Get yours today and join us for the FREE webinar.

    Do you know any student bloggers? Age 18 and older who have been blogging at least three months? From @scottlum I found out that Microsoft will send one female & one student blogger from the US to Winter Olympics based on an online contest.

    It’s not too early to think about conferences next year. Especially the really good ones. From @ghc I saw a “Save the Dates!” message about the Grace Hopper 2010 conference, Sept 29 - Oct 2, 2010, Atlanta, GA. Next year’s theme: "Collaborating Across Boundaries" I’m thinking about some ideas for presentation proposals. I’d like to work with a teacher or two on some of them and do a joint talk.

    Several sources told me about an amazing series of educational videos by Salman Khan at He doesn’t have computer science videos yet but is planning on some in the future. What he does have looks really good though. Share them with your friends who teach other subjects.

    Randy Guthrie who works on the academic team at Microsoft (Twitter @randyguthrie) Posted a great blog post titled  Installing Windows 7 on an older computer: a realistic scenario If you are concerned about installing Windows 7 on older computers at your school, office or home this post is well worth checking out.

    The always interesting Peter Vogel (Twitter @PeterVogel) linked to an interesting look at the periodic table. This example, from a researcher at Microsoft is circular. Hard to read in hard copy but I’m thinking it would be interesting if made interactive so that you could turn it in the computer screen.

    Angela Maiers (Twitter @AngelaMaiers) linked to this article 30 Twitter Tips for Teachers If you are thinking about trying Twitter and joining the huge academic community online using Twitter take a good look at that article and get a good start. (Follow me @AlfredTwo of course.)


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