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

July, 2012

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Interesting Links 23 July 2012


    I had a great week and a great weekend. Busy weekend with family which is the best way to spend the weekend. I’m late with today’s posts though but hopefully you’ll all forgive me.

    The Microsoft Research Faculty Summit has put many of the talks from last week online. It’s not all heavy technology. Social awareness was a big theme this year. For example Research in Focus: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Role of Technology in Human Trafficking talks about using technology to fight human trafficking. And the Day 2 Closing Keynote: Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya was presented by the same person who created the amazing Imax movie about climbing Mount Everest. Some amazing photography and a close look at glaciers in the Himalayan region.

    You can see far more videos from Microsoft Research at their video website. Check out the collections link and select Faculty Summit 2012 to see the full list of sessions from this year’s event.

    If you into space at all you are probably aware that on August 4th the latest NASA robot to land on Mars is scheduled to land. Well the @koduteam that there is a Kodu Mars Edition coming soon! In the mean time there is a Mars rover game on Xbox Live. I’m testing the Kodu Mars edition now and it looks like fun.

    A new CSTA publication, Computer Science K–8: Building a Strong Foundation is ready for download at the CSTA web site. if you are all interested in K-8 computer science education this is a must read.

    The cure for the CS Educator Blues is a post about the recent  CS & IT conference on the CSTA Blog. It’s a great example of one of the wonderful things about this conference for CS teachers.

    FUSE Labs of Microsoft Research invites students to participate in their student social media advisor program.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    New Curriculum Resources for App Development on Windows 8


    Most of what I post about is specifically for K-12 computer science education but I recently received the following about some curriculum designed for university level students. Still my experience tells me two things. One is that I do have a good number of university lever readers. And two there are teachers and schools and students in some high schools who can and do take every advantage of materials targeted at older students. So here you go:

    Just a quick note to let you know that the following three university level courses are now available on Faculty Connection.  The courses are modular for easy integration into existing curricula; they are app development oriented; each contains instructor guides, PPTs, labs/tutorials and video files that accompany the exercise files.

    Designing for Modern UI

    · 11 modules that provide lectures and tutorials on how to design for the Windows 8 UI using Metro language.

    • 100 Level for Human Computer Interaction (HCI)  classes;   focus is on UI design using Metro style
    • Prerequisites:  none; suitable for any college student
    • Audience: any audience;  no programming skills required

    App Development for Modern UI

    • This curriculum contains 9 modules that cover the fundamental concepts of developing Metro style app using JavaScript and HTML5/CSS3 with Microsoft's tools and resources.
    • 100/200 Level for web design classes/apps development
    • Prerequisites:   students need to have basic programming skill, i.e.  Intro to Computing (101) or AP Computing; usually required by any HE institution as part of 1st year classes.
    • Audience: any audience - science, engineering, art, etc

    App Development for Modern Devices

    • This course covers development systems for phones, tablets and desktop computers, focusing on  a) fundamentals of building network aware software, b) interfaces for touch and NUI devices such as Kinect; c) graphics programming such as writing code that displays augmented reality experiences
    • 200/300  Level for CS; Engineering; Science programs with apps development
    • Prerequisites:   students need to have basic programming skill and understanding of math and science
    • Audience: STEM disciplines

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    2012 Microsoft Research Faculty Summit Day Two



    Rick Rashid who created and runs Microsoft Research gave the opening keynote for day two. I found it interesting that when they started Microsoft Research they had a hard time recruiting top researchers. Twenty years ago Microsoft was still a relatively small company and there were doubts in some people’s minds that MSR (or even Microsoft) would amount to much. Things sure have changed! Rick also talked about a lot of “new, exciting hardware and software advances that are contributing to a simpler, more natural integration of the physical and virtual worlds”.  And there sure are a lot of cool things going on.

    Judith Bishop then presented the annual Software Engineering Innovation Foundation Awards. These awards go to researchers in software engineering.

    The goals of the 2012 round of SEIF awards are:

    • To stimulate and advance software engineering practices in the areas of mobile and cloud computing.
    • To continue to support academic research in software engineering technologies, tools, practices, and teaching methods.

    Proposals are invited from but not limited to the following areas of interest:

    • Tools to evaluate performance, reliability, and energy consumption
    • Innovative use of mobile and cloud platforms for teaching of software engineering
    • Metrics and benchmarks for software processes
    • Modeling of programming languages and systems
    • Security and privacy for mobile platforms
    • Software dependability, safety, and reliability
    • Static and dynamic analysis techniques and tools

    Heavy stuff!

    After the keynote was the Demo Fest. Some great demos of Microsoft research projects from ChronoZoom to Microsoft Academic Search to   TouchDevelop to the Home OS (I love this idea) and much more. 

    After lunch I attended a session on Metro which is the user interface for Windows 8. It was interesting and well done. But oh the Twitter activity was all about the session on Big Heritage, Big Quilts, and Big Canvases. Fortunately I believe the talks will be available on the Faculty Summit website today or tomorrow. In any case take a look at the online AIDS quilt and the ChronoZoom look at the history of AIDS. Visualization of lots of data in ways you probably have not seen before.

    The closing keynote was David Breashears (from GlacierWorks) on Vanishing Glaciers in the Greater Himalayas and using images to tell a story. He showed some amazing high definition images of the glaciers in the Himalayas and was able to compare how the same places looked a 100 years ago (or more) with how they look today. This is part of a project to create an interactive educational view of a massive area of those great mountains and the glaciers that are there. It is amazing the sort of interactive applications we can create with large image datasets and today’s technology.

    Over all I have to say it was a trip worth making. Even doing as much as I could I’m still going to be viewing some sessions on demand over the next couple of days. Check them out and I’m sure you’ll find some interesting sessions and learn things. I know I have/will.

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