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

October, 2009

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Opinions on Supportive Curriculum Resources


    I’m looking for some feedback. I’ve been working on the idea of creating and sharing some computer science related curriculum units. Some might be fairly comprehensive and some, well, let’s call them supplemental resources. The idea is to provide some helpful units that a teacher could incorporate into an existing or planned course without having to do all the prep themselves. It would be as product/company neutral as I can make it too. 

    I’m looking for feedback on the idea with emphasis on are these the right units? Are these the right things to include as supporting resources? Would people use this sort of thing? And anything else you may want to add.

    What might be in each packet?

    1. A PowerPoint deck (may have several parts to presentation)
    2. A List of additional information web links
    3. An Exercise and/or homework assignment
    4. Sample questions and solutions for incorporation in a test or quiz
    5. What else?

    Under topics I’m thinking of a couple of groups of ideas to cover.

    • The Big Picture
      • History of Computing
    • Internet
      • Elements/Terminology
      • Search Engines
      • Sites
      • Security
    • Information Layer / Discrete Mathematics
      • Binary Numbers
      • Data Representation
    • HW Layer
      • Gates and Circuits
      • Components
    • Operating Systems Layer
      • OSs
      • File Systems & Directories
    • The Applications Layer
      • Information Systems
        • Spreadsheets
        • DBs
        • Security
      • Artificial Intelligence
    • The Communications.
      • Networking
      • Protocols
      • Network Addresses

    I’d like to find ways to replace just reading a chapter in a book for example. Try to make it interesting and relevant. For several of them I am thinking of what I might call a case study to serve as a discussion starter. Target audience? Early high school or late middle school. Perhaps in an introduction to computing course, a basic programming course, or a survey of technology course.

  • 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.)


  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing 2009/10


    Know some high school women with aspirations in the computing fields? You may want to nominate them for the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award.

    Sponsored by Bank of America, the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recognizes young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. By generating visibility for these young women in their local communities, the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing encourages their continued interest in computing, attracts the attention and support of educational and corporate institutions, and emphasizes at a personal level the importance of women's participation.

    Each qualified national award recipient will receive:

    • $500 in cash
    • a laptop computer, provided by Bank of America
    • a trip to attend the Bank of America Technology Showcase and Awards Ceremony, March 27, 2010, held in Charlotte, North Carolina
    • an engraved award for both the student and the student’s school.

    Download the Award Info Sheet (Spanish Info Sheet) for complete details on the award. Note that there are also state awards in Texas, Illinois & Florida

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