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

November, 2010

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    XNA and Game Development and Expression Web and Web Design Talks

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    Last summer I helped present two talks at the CSTA CS & IT Symposium. In both cases I had small rolls with Pat Philips doing almost all of the talking on the talk about the Expression Web course. Steve Scanlan, an wonderful classroom teacher, did most of the talking after my introduction of game development on the XNA talk. The recordings of both of these talks are available through the CSTA web site. If you are thinking at all about adopting a game development computer science course or a new web development course you will find these talks interesting.

    Computer Science, Game Development and the XNA Game Studio Platform
    Presented by Alfred Thompson & Steve Scanlan
    This presentation talks about creating and implementing a high school game development curriculum using the (free) XNA Game Studio. We present the reasoning behind this type of course, show screenshots and a video introduction to student projects, as well as show examples of the sort of code students can create. We also talk about how freely available curriculum has been used and modified with real students. We present a collection of helpful resources including websites, tutorials and videos from Microsoft and independent web sites.

    Download presentation as PDF (2 zipped files)
    View streaming video of session

    Web Design and Development—A Key to a Growing Program
    Presented by Pat Phillips & Alfred Thompson
    It's quick and easy for students to create interactive websites using the professional Web design software from Microsoft—Expression Studio 3. Learn how your secondary schools can receive Expression Studio at no cost! Explore the free teaching and learning resources that will enable you to add Web design to your students' toolbox of communication tools and explore deeper Web development techniques. The free curriculum materials range from 2-hour tutorials, to 2-week multi-disciplinary units, to a full semester of comprehensive Web design concepts. All of the materials were created by teachers and tested by students. Students can install the software free of charge on their personal computer making this a valuable software option for many schools challenged with providing professional design and developer software to students.

    Download presentation as PDF
    View streaming video of session



  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Microsoft Technology Associate Certifications Revisited

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    Last July I wrote about the Microsoft Technology Associate program and I thought it was time to revisit that program. I have some additional information to post. Specifically I wanted to let you know about the Microsoft Technology Associate Campus License.

    The MTA Campus License enables educators to easily proctor secure, industry relevant technology exams that cover the topics they are already teaching, with just a web browser. It is a practical and cost-effective solution that includes 1,000 MTA exams per year for your institution to deliver to students, faculty and staff. An MTA Campus license allows all departments and programs within your campus to be covered with a single license agreement. It includes the full portfolio of seven MTA exams complete with Certification Exam Review Kits to help educators quickly and easily integrate MTA into their existing curriculum. Your educators and administrators become registered exam proctors providing administrative flexibility for your IT program. The internet based testing (IBT) delivery platform makes it easier than ever to test and certify an entire classroom anywhere on campus, anytime it's convenient for them - with no classroom or desktop restrictions. All they need is an internet connected computer.

    And there is a special deal going on now:

    For a limited time: Institutions can get started with MTA through a FREE 45-Day Trial MTA Campus License—good for up to 50 exams. You receive the entire suite of seven MTA exams including evaluation copies of MTA Certification Exam Review Kits sample supplemental courseware. With the FREE 45-day Trial MTA Campus License, integrating an industry recognized certification into learning curriculums and preparing students for a career in technology has never been easier!

    Also check out the “Are you Certifiable?” Game. It is a fun way to see how much you know and judge if you may be ready to take a certification exam.

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    The following is a partial “reprint” on my earlier post with more information about this great program.

    The program is called the Microsoft Technology Associate program. There are seven exams in two categories – Developer and Information Technology.

    Developer Exams

    • Software Development Fundamentals
    • Web Development Fundamentals
    • Windows Development Fundamentals
    • Database Fundamentals

    IT Professional Exams

    • Networking Fundamentals
    • Security Fundamentals
    • Windows Server Administration Fundamentals

    More information from the Microsoft Technology Associate FAQ

    Q. What is the Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification?

    A. The Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) certification is a new, entry-level certification designed to help individuals take the first step toward a career as an IT professional or developer.

    An MTA certification is based on 80 percent knowledge and 20 percent skills. The next step in the Microsoft certification path is Microsoft Technology Specialist (MCTS), which requires hands-on experience with the Microsoft technology platform.

    Students can download and install a complete developer tool set at no cost through the DreamSpark Program.

    Additional information:



  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    How Does Kinect Work?

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    imageChances are you have heard about the Kinect for Xbox 360 which lets you play games without a controller. The Kinect is a full body motion sensing device that lets you use your body as the controller. You may be wondering how it works though? The magic is in the software! OK, sure the hardware is important to but software is what makes the hardware go right? Anyway, here are some links to more information about how this exciting new technology works. Update: You can lsten to a podcast of me talkng about how the Knect works by vistng http://www.mos.org/events_activities/podcasts&d=4858 I recorded that intervew at Boston's Museum of Scence in February 2011.

    And a couple of videos looking at the device using IR imaging. Not sure what these really mean but my more geeky friends are all excited by them. Smile



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