Additional profile information on Alfred Thompson at Google+
In between the usual meetings, email exchanges, phone calls and meeting basketball stars (Why College?) I managed to collect a good number of links this week. Please read though the whole list and I am sure you’ll find something of value. I hope so. And a reminder that if you find something I should know about and share let me know. Use the comments or the Email Blog Author link. In fact contact me if I can help you with anything at all. Thanks for reading.
Tara Walker has the scoop on the Windows 8 Developer Camps – Coming Soon! If you do development or teach development or both you will want to attend one of these workshops to get a jump on things. Windows 8 really opens a lot of new opportunities for software creation and you’ll want to be in on it.
Speaking of Windows 8, Dr. Zhiming Xue aka Dr Z has been building up a large set of “how to do” posts related to Windows 8 on his blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/zxue/ Well worth checking out to get a jump start with using Windows 8. My index is at Dr Z’s Windows 8 How Tos and Dr. Z’s intro and index is at Windows 8 Consumer Preview Power User How To Series Of course you can get the Windows 8 Consumer preview here.
On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of Microsoft Research, we invited innovators in computer science and related fields to join us for a day to look back and then forward to the next 20 years of computer science. These reflections on advice to young scientists are provided as a gift to the computer science community. We plan to release one set of thoughts per month over the anniversary year. We hope you'll subscribe to the series and check in again soon.
For the best in professional development for CS teachers don’t forget to Register for CSTA's 2012 Annual CS&IT Conference
Why Kodu is great to learn programming, Student views from Hamble College on Kristian Still's Blog
Read how Kinect is transforming the classroom with interactive and interesting lesson plans
Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum–Reminder if you are doing interesting things with technology in your classroom please think abut applying.
From Leigh Anne Sudol-DeLyser @lsudol: More & more CS is NOT just for computing majors, but becoming an important skill for all!
Using Kinect for Windows with XNA Curriculum by Rob Miles @robmiles
From Gillian Smith @gillianmsmith: Cool website for showing young women the many different ways CS intersects life:
Hat tip to Cameron Evans for his post about the Microsoft Virtual Academy for IT Professionals
If you have downloaded and installed the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview you have noticed that is is different. In many ways very different from previous versions of Windows. Zhiming Xue aka Dr. Z has created a series of posts just for you. No matter if you are a beginner or a power user his posts will help you get started quickly with how to do the most common tasks in Windows 8. The series (to date) has 30 posts and I have listed them here with links to make it easy for you to find them.
Windows 8 How To: 1. Switch Between Metro UI and Desktop Mode Windows 8 How To: 2. Switch Between Apps or Snap Apps Windows 8 How To: 3. How to Power Off Your Device Windows 8 How To: 4. Show and Access the Control Panel Windows 8 How To: 5. Show and Access Administrative Tools Windows 8 How To: 6. Show All Apps Windows 8 How To: 7. Switch Between Windows Accounts and Local Accounts Windows 8 How To: 8. Set up a Picture Password Windows 8 How To: 9. Set Up a Printer Windows 8 How To: 10. Customize Metro UI – App Tiles and Groups Windows 8 How To: 11. Install Language Packs for Multilingual Support Windows 8 How To: 12. Show and Use “Run” Command Windows 8 How To: 13. Show and Use cmd Prompt (DOS Mode) Windows 8 How To: 14. Show and Use PowerShell Windows 8 How To: 15. Show and Use Desktop Applications Windows 8 How To: 16. Install .NET 3.5 and Windows Live Essentials Windows 8 How To: 17. Add New Tab or New InPrivate Tab in Metro Style IE Browser Windows 8 How To: 18. Configure Wi-Fi Connection and Airplane Mode Windows 8 How To: 19. Show Hidden Files, Folders and Drives Windows 8 How To: 20. How to Start Windows 8 in Safe Mode Windows 8 How To: 21. Install and Uninstall Metro Style Apps Windows 8 How To: 22. Enable or Disable Sharing Between PCs Using Home Group Windows 8 How To: 23. Find and Use Windows Help and Support Windows 8 How To: 24. Show and Configure Free Anti-Virus App (Windows Defender) Windows 8 How To: 25. Show and Enable Split Touch Keyboard (On-Screen) Windows 8 How To: 26. Set up Remote Desktop Connection Windows 8 How To: 27. Backup your Files Using File History Windows 8 How To: 28. Restore Files Using File History Windows 8 How To: 29. Restore System to a Previous State Using Restore Point Windows 8 How To: 30. Restore your Device using Refresh and Reset
Yesterday Edwin Guarin and I represented Microsoft at the formal opening of a computer lab at the Clark Elementary and Middle school in Hartford CT. The lab was donated by Ray Allen (UConn and Boston Celtics basketball star) and his Ray of Hope Foundation. Microsoft was pleased to donate software to support the lab. As part of the day’s events Ray spoke to the students where he emphasized the importance of school studying hard getting good grades and going to college. He said that college was important even for those who thought they were going to be professional athletes. When he asked how many students wanted to be professional athletes most of the student body raised their hands. Not unexpected for middle school students. Ray shed some light on that subject pointing out that it was a very long shot for any of them to make it. But today’s post was inspired by a question and answer that came at the end of his talk. One student pointed out a number of famous athletes who jumped into the NBA right from high school and said that college wasn’t necessary for them.
Ray replied with a number of pieces of information. One is that doing this is very rare but secondly there were many more who jumped in early who disappeared quickly either into limited roles or out of the NBA and no one remembered them. What he pointed out was that playing college ball was an important part of learning the game as well as growing up. Players who skipped college often had only their natural talent which while it might be significant limited them at the professional level.
I had a chance to talk to Ray and his business manager about this later. They told me that a lot of times they will be watching a game and see someone make an error that they really wouldn’t expect from a professional and realize that was a missing skill that they may well have gotten if they had played college ball before the NBA. Ray’s observation is that many who jump to the NBA early would have been better off in the long run (even financially) had they stayed in college to polish their skills more. Ray pointed out that the media loves to play up the exceptions while ignoring the players who didn’t make it. This is a common problem in other fields I realized. For example in computer science and software development.
The software industry has its stars who either skipped college completely or didn’t complete it (Bill Gates in the latter category) who do really well. Many young people think that they can do likewise. In fact some who do make it convince themselves and others that skipping college was/is a better way of doing it. I have to say though that my experience (writing software for 40 years now) is that such stars are rare indeed. In proportion as rare as the LeBron James’ of the NBA. A college education is a better way to ensure a longer and more productive (and lucrative) career. The extra training not just in the core technology but in learning to learn and grow are tremendously helpful for a long productive career.
I also talked to Scott Burrell, one of the coaches of the Quinnipiac men's basketball team and a veteran of the NBA himself. He talked about his role as a coach being more than just making his players better basketball players but better men. He talks about helping with their maturity and their attitudes towards things as basic as how they interact in public and with their teammates. And succeeding in school. Scott went back and completed his degree not two years ago which certainly shows how much he values education.
As part of the CS 2013 curriculum committee that has been asking the question or what should a graduate in computer science look like we have talked a lot about soft skills and things like ethical behavior. While you don’t have to learn those things in college a good college education can go a long way towards helping people mature and become responsible adults.
Can you learn a lot of computer science and software development on your own? Sure. Is that the way to bet? Not in my experience. There is so much more that can be learned and really needs to be learned to be a real professional. Going to school is the short cut and in the long run seems to pay off a lot better than going it alone. I’ve seen a lot of people over the years self teach the current technology but not have the background to keep growing as the technology changes and grows. Just how it looks from where I stand.