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

May, 2012

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Student Implemented SharePoint Solutions


    I hear a lot of questions about SharePoint. Things like what can I do with it? How hard is it to use? That question usually is code for “do I need to hire a high priced professional to use it?” And occasionally can I fit it into the curriculum? Well there is a great webcast coming up that answers all of these questions and more. At the Center for Advanced Technologies at Lakewood High School in Florida students are doing really great things using SharePoint. Things that help the school out on a daily basis. Read more about this webcast below.

    Real World K-12 Student Solutions using SharePoint 2010 from the Center for Advanced Technologies

    About this Webcast

    Please join us to learn how high school students are developing real world educational solutions on the SharePoint 2010 platform. This will be a co-presented webcast.


    The Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT) is a magnet program within Lakewood High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. The CAT Network Systems Administrator Program, led by Mr. Louis Zulli, was awarded 1st place honors at the U.S. and Global 2011 Partners in Learning Forum for “Cutting Edge Use of Technology for Learning”. This is the 2nd year Microsoft and CAT have teamed up to co-present this event. During this webcast CAT Students will demonstrate a wide variety of SharePoint 2010 developed solutions that continue to improve the schools operational efficiency. These solutions include SharePoint 2010 solutions integrated with Microsoft Kinect, iPad, Windows Mobile, and Windows 8 devices.


    • New Public Facing Website
    • Moodle Integration Project
    • Kinect Virtual School Tour
    • Printer Mapping and Asset Tracker
    • Club Meeting Sign In & Attendance Tracker
    • Campus Hall Pass Monitoring System integrated with Win 7 Mobile, iPads, and Windows 8
    • More More


    Wednesday, May 23rd


    11:00 AM – 12:30 AM PST

    12:00 PM – 1:30 PM MST

    1:00 PM – 2:30 PM CST

    2:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST

    Register today!

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Interesting Links 14 May 2012


    A late blog post on a Monday is a sure sign I had a busy weekend. Not work this time – Mother’s Day and a bunch of other things with family and work around the house. I hope your weekend was as good as mine was. Here now some links that I collected to share.

    Andrew Parsons@MrAndyPuppy has put all of the Imagine Cup Game Design Semi-finalist videos in one place  Xbox/WindowsPhone Games

    Share innovative project ideas & collaborate w/ colleagues @ Microsoft’s Partners in Learning 2012 US Forum  Tomorrow April 15th is the last day to apply. Don’t miss out!

    T. Andriopoulos, a PiL Global Forum alum shares his experience using fiction to engage students with math

    Inspired by Microsoft's Imagine Cup, Students From Harvard, MIT & Tufts Join Forces to Launch a Startup  I love stories like this!

    I ran into this Interesting Programmer Competency Matrix Like most such I think it shows some author biases. What do you think?

    Won't you please vote for Digital Infinity. 2012 Imagine Cup People's Choice I know I bug you about this all the time but the end is near. Voting ends this week and you can vote every day.

    Someone pointed me to this. Once again, the folks at @MSFTResearch blow me away the their awesome-future stuff One screen two images at the same time.

    Getting lost and found with the C# Maze Generator and Solver (on Channel 9) Something fun to play with for the end of the school year? Let me know if you or your students do anything cool with this.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Learning Should Be Fun


    Years ago I was sitting the the front of church and via a fluke of acoustics I heard a little girl in the back of the church tell someone “Stop laughing! It’s Sunday!” Apparently she thought that because Sunday, especially at church, was serious business it should not be fun or happy. Not quite my view of things but common enough. It seems to be even more common with education though. Recently on the CSTA blog Pat Philips wrote a post titled Video Games where she says “administrators and colleagues […] sometimes think that if you are teaching something that much fun, it can't be truly educational.” I on the other hand wonder how much learning can go on if education is not fun.

    I used to tell my students the first day of class that one of my goals was for us to have fun. Ideally they would have fun and so would I. And they’d learn a lot. I’d like to think that worked out pretty well most of the time. After all the teachers I learned the most from and who I remember the most were the ones who made things fun. I still remember demos and discussions from my freshmen (in high school) materials science class where I had one of the most entertaining (and a bit weird) teachers of my academic career. I learned a lot and I retained a lot. Why? I think it was in part because he made every class interesting and fun.

    Projects don’t have to be boring. They can be about things students actually care about. Games smart phones, you name it. The tendency if for teachers to come up with projects that interest them (I know that is how my mind works) but that isn’t always enough. Also straight “sage on the stage” lectures are easiest to prepared and deliver. But they are not fun for anyone – not the audience and not the presenter. How much learning goes on when students are expending all their energy just trying to stay awake? And of by the way we know that laughter actually stimulates oxygen flow to the brain. That has to be good doesn’t it?

    We need to embrace learning tools, projects, presentation styles and other things that make learning fun. Not to the exclusion of learning or rigor. We can have it both ways and I argue that we need to have it both ways. Make learning fun and students will usually work harder longer, smarter and they will retain more. Better yet they will share fun learning with their peers which makes for much deeper understanding in the long run.

    Interestingly enough I wrote a similar post about two years ago - The Intersection of Education and Entertainment Maybe I’ve run out of new things to say. Or maybe some things need reminders now and again. Your call.

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