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This year CSTA is trying a bunch of new things with the CS & IT Conference. First off we added a workshop day on the front end. So yesterday there were a number of three hour workshops. You can see what was offered on the CS & IT agenda. I sat in on Video Game Programming with Microsoft XNA Game Studio: Serious Fun, Serious Computer Science with Pat Yongpradit and Teaching Introduction to Programming Using the Intentional Method with Lynn Langit & Llewellyn Falco.
In this picture Pat is presenting to the group of computer science educators. It was a hands on and interactive workshop. I learned some things myself. Pat always does a great job though. He calls teaching his dream job and it shows every time he presents.
Pat uses XNA and C# to teach game development. He runs a very successful program with many of his students creating competitive games for the Imagine Cup competition. His students do well competing with college students. You can get Pat’s materials from his website’s downloads page. Just look for CS&IT Symposium Downloads.
Lynn and Llewellyn are presenting in the picture below. They taught the group their pedagogy which they call “the Intention Method”. They use Small Basic as the programming platform. It seems to work really well.
Lynn and Llewellyn have all their material at a site called TKP – Teaching Kids Programming.
The TEACHERS resource section of the TKP site is organized as follows: General Topics for teachers on this site include the following: what we teach (i.e. which languages, software, IDEs, etc..), where we teach (i.e. links to events), who teaches (list of trained TKP teachers by location) how to teach the using the Intention Method (i.e. list of general teaching tips for all of our courseware)
The TEACHERS resource section of the TKP site is organized as follows:
General Topics for teachers on this site include the following:
All in all day one was a great success. This is the first time for a workshop day but anything that didn’t go smoothly was pretty much transparent to the attendees. I can’t wait for the sessions today!
If you followed my Twitter or read my blog over the weekend you may be tired of hearing about the Imagine Cup. You may also think I am over sharing on FourSquare (whose co-founder spoke at the Imagine Cup opening ceremonies BTW. You might be right about the FourSquare thing and I am working on it. But while I have spent a lot of time over the weekend with the Imagine Cup I was also in South Dakota last week. Did you read about the Gear Up Program? And of course today starts the CSTA Computer Science and Information Technology conference at Columbia University. So the focus this week will be more on CS & IT. We will be joining the closing of the Imagine Cup on Wednesday which I am very excited about. Even with all the travel I do have a few links to share.
From @TeachTec: Checkout our new web look for the Microsoft Teacher's site! The team wants to hear what you think of it so hit them up on Twitter at @TeachTec or leave a comment here and I will make sure they get it.
My friend Cy Khormaee was on CNN with Steve Ballmer last week. Cy is a member of one of the Imagine Cup finalist teams this year. They made it to the final six and we’ll find out later in the week how far they made it.
For all you Kinect developers there is a new Kinect gestures library available that looks like it will help people out with a lot of development projects. I continue to get more and more enthusiastic about Kinect. I just have trouble getting my user interface out of the “use your body as a mouse or keyboard” box. I really hope some smart young people can get more creative than that!
While I was in Philadelphia for ISTE the rest of my team went to Bordeaux France for the Foundations of Digital Games conference. In his blog Lee Stott @lee_stott writes about the conference so if you want to see what I missed it makes a good read. Though honestly, I knew what the trade offs were and was very happy to go to ISTE.
These are the views that greeted students entering the Sky Lobby of the host hotel of the World wide Imagine Cup this afternoon. We had room for just over 70 people to sit and work the hands on part of the workshop and when we started there was standing room only. OK and someone that could have been me might have sat themselves down on the floor in the back of the room. Eventually the hotel brought in more chairs.
Stewart Tansley from Microsoft Research, program manager behind the Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK beta, kicked things off with an overview of how all this Kinect stuff came about. It really is a bit of “software magic.” Clint Rutkas (@ClintRutkas) from the amazing Coding 4 Fun and Channel 9 team lead the lab part of the session. I’m always impressed with Clint’s ability to enter code by hand in front of a live audience. He really knows his stuff.
With a group this size people move at all speeds and paces. And of course the fact the English was the second, or third or fourth language for many if a attendees didn’t make things an easier. We had about a half a dozen Microsoft employees acting as lab assistants. The language issue was brought home when I had to help some students running the German language version of Visual Studio. My old high school German really didn’t prepare me with the right vocabulary.
Despite having three hours things had to move very quickly to cover everything. We had some technical problems as well but that is to be expected with that many people and too little time for set up. But over all I think it went well. The Imagine Cup finalists are all getting their own Kinect sensor device so they’ll have plenty of time to experiment when they get home. I hope they got a good taste of what is possible and how things work. They were sure a great audience.