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

July, 2011

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Are your students entered in the Windows Phone app contest


    This Summer, build Windows Phone 7 apps and you could earn exciting prizes to catch a movie, eat ice – cream, buy camping gear and more!! This special competition is especially for students. It’s a great incentive to get creative and do something interesting and possibly win some prizes and make some money. The software is free through DreamSpark as well!

    Lots of chances to win:

    * The first 1,000 students to publish will receive a copy of Halo Reach®, Fable 3®, Dance Central™, Kinect Joy Ride or Kinect Sports game for the Xbox 360®. Each week we will randomly select 2 winners from among all entries received to win one $25 gift card. At the close of the sweepstakes the student with the most approved apps published to the marketplace will receive a Windows Phone 7.


  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Small Basic 1.0 is here!


    Have you been working with Small Basic? If so you probably know that it has officially been pre-release software. Well not it is released software and you can now download Small Basic 1.0.. With the addition of Icelandic (Yes Icelandic) it is now available in 20 different languages. Not only that but a lot of the courseware has been translated as well. The screen shots, for the time being, are still in English but the PowerPoint decks are now available in 18 different languages. There is more information at the Small Basic blog at Small Basic 1.0 is here! 

    But wait, there is more!

    TeachingKidsProgramming provides free courseware to introduce kids (ages 10+) to programming. New in this compatible release of the Small Basic Fun extensions ( is a recipe '(m)adLibs' which you can use to introduce the MVC pattern to your kids. It includes several new objects, such as a Viewer and a Parser to support teaching of this pattern.

    • New Small Basic website on MSDN – A lot of work has gone into re-creating the Small Basic website. We hope you will find it useful. In addition to a new look and cleaner design, we have also partnered with Computer Science for Kids to publish sample chapters from several of their Small Basic E-books on our site. We hope you will find these high-quality guides useful for learning and having fun with Small Basic.
    • Translated Curriculum – We’ve been receiving requests from abroad for translated versions of our teaching curriculum. So over the last several months we have put a lot of effort into making this curriculum available in more languages. This is a work in progress as some languages still have English screenshots, but we do now have all languages translated. You can find the curriculum here.

    Learn more about Small Basic and find detailed samples by reading sample chapters from one of three e-books that we are providing to you at no cost. If you like using the e-book format, we have links on each page to where you can purchase the complete e-book. Visit. Computer Science For Kids Sample Chapters on MSDN for more information.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Interesting Links Post 18 July 2011


    Quite a week last week. You may have read my posts about the CSTA CS & IT Conference. I hope you did because it was a great conference. The first ever WorldWide Imagine Cup finals to be held in the US was held in New York City at the same time. You may want to read about the Imagine Cup news as well. An amazing experience being involved the few days I was able to be there. But as usual I tired to keep up with what else was going on and save some links to share. Not sure I will have many next week as I am on vacation this week. I have queued up posts to appear during the week though. Sleep is for the weak as they say. Smile Though honestly I am hoping I can catch up on some sleep while on vacation. I may be getting old.

    Some time last week a teacher asked me if Microsoft invested (as in cash) in the Imagine Cup teams to help them make their projects into a business. I answered “not really” and that we did provide some introductions to venture capitalists and other training that could help the teams. And there is our BizSpark program which I forgot to mention but that is more general start up help any way. That was true when I said it but things changed on Wednesday. Microsoft Unveils $3 Million Grant Program to Help Students Solve World Problems

    During the ceremony, Microsoft also unveiled plans to launch a three-year, $3 million competitive grant program to help recipients realize their vision of solving the world’s toughest problems.

    “The innovators, entrepreneurs and humanitarians who compete in the Imagine Cup have developed an inspiring spectrum of projects, raising the bar higher and higher each year,” said S. Somasegar, senior vice president, Developer Division, Microsoft. “We are in awe of the students’ solutions for addressing social and real-world challenges, and want to help them take their projects to the next level with the financial, technical and business support they need to change the world.”

    Imagine Cup finalists will be eligible to apply for grants that include a combination of cash, software, training, consulting and other support. Microsoft will announce details about the grant program and application process later this summer.

    More on this later in the week, but last week we announced that Small Basic 1.0 now available.  Language support is up to 20 languages with the edition of Icelandic, Icelandic? Yep, Icelandic!

    Over on Coding 4 Fun there was an article on Kinect Buttons that may be helpful as you create Kinect projects. And speaking of Kinect, what week, Microsoft Robotics group released Kinect Services for RDS. Kinect + Robots = more fun. Check it out all you robot fans!

    Have you seen .NET Gadgeteer really cool fun for making serious gadgets?  Read about it here.

    In conjunction with the Imagine Cup Microsoft hosted a Women Innovators Dinner: A Night full of Wisdom I had to miss it unfortunately but you can at least read about it as I did. I missed a lot.

    One contest note before I sign off, Student App-a-Thon contest for Windows Phone developer students is ongoing. Check it out!


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