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

July, 2012

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Windows 8 Developer Camps and Hackathons – Coming July to September


    A new series of Windows 8 developer events are coming soon!  These are special two-day events, with a DevCamp on day one featuring a full day of sessions plus an InstallFest, followed on day two by a Hackathon with Lightning Talks where you can bring app ideas to life with Microsoft and community experts on hand to help.


    Windows 8 changes everything.
    Combining the broad reach of Windows, best-in-class developer tools, a re‑imagined user experience, support for new chipsets, and a built-in store with industry-leading business terms, Windows 8 is the largest developer opportunity – ever.

    Join us for free events with new sessions and hands-on opportunities designed to help you start building Metro-style applications for Windows 8 – today. We'll show you how to use Visual Studio to code fast, fluid, immersive, and beautiful Metro-style applications in HTML5/JavaScript, XAML/C# and C/C++. Your existing investments in these languages carry forward, making Windows a no-compromise platform for developers. Attend just one day or join us for two full days of learning. It's your choice.

    DevCamp - Day 1      

    Events run from 9:00AM – 8:00PM

    Our DevCamp covers Windows 8 Release Preview from top to bottom, featuring sessions that run from introductory to intermediate as the day unfolds. These sessions will be followed by an InstallFest to prepare your system for hands-on app development.

    Hackathon - Day 2       
    Events run from 9:00AM – 9:00PM

    Our Hackathon is an open Windows 8 code fest, where you'll put what you've learned into practice. Code to your heart's content, with Windows 8 experts available to guide you through every step of the process. It's the perfect opportunity to get your dream application underway, or to finish that app you've already started.

    This full-day event will be filled with coding, sharing, plenty of food, and the occasional Lightning Talk on topics determined by your apps and questions. Bring your own laptop installed with Windows 8 Release Preview, your apps and your cool ideas and get ready to create!


    imageCities and Dates      
    Separate registration for DevCamps and Hackathons is required

    The choice is yours to join us for either or both days, but please register for each separately.

    Seating is limited, so click the date links below (or call 1-877-MSEVENT) to reserve your seat today!

    Location DevCamp Hackathon
    Manhattan, NY 14-Jul 15-Jul
    St Louis, MO 16-Jul 17-Jul
    Brooklyn, NY 19-Jul 20-Jul
    Nashville, TN 19-Jul 20-Jul
    Los Angeles, CA 20-Jul 21-Jul
    Rochester, NY 27-Jul 28-Jul
    Mountain View, CA 27-Jul 28-Jul
    Atlanta, GA 3-Aug 4-Aug
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL 3-Aug 4-Aug
    Redmond, WA 3-Aug 4-Aug
    Dallas, TX 7-Aug 8-Aug
    Chevy Chase, MD 10-Aug 11-Aug
    Denver, CO 10-Aug 11-Aug
    Irvine, CA 17-Aug 18-Aug
    Boston, MA 17-Aug 18-Aug
    Raleigh, NC 17-Aug 18-Aug
    Reston, VA 17-Aug 18-Aug
    Orlando, FL 17-Aug 18-Aug
    Minneapolis, MN 23-Aug 24-Aug
    Houston, TX 24-Aug 25-Aug
    San Francisco, CA 24-Aug 25-Aug
    Downers Grove, IL 28-Aug 29-Aug
    Phoenix, AZ 7-Sep 8-Sep
    Malvern, PA 14-Sep 15-Sep

    Register today and join us for these fantastic (and free) developer opportunities.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Teaching Teachers


    Next week is the CSTA Computer Science & Information Technology Conference in Irvine CA. I’m taking part in a session on July 10th covering phone app development. I’m a little nervous about it. Partly that is because I am one of three people presenting different development environments for different types of phones. You know I want mine to be the coolest and easiest and best of all of course. That’s scary enough but it is also a little scary presenting to teachers. And not just any teachers either – some of the best and brightest and most innovative computer science teachers in American come to CS&IT every year. They know what a good demo and presentation is and they are not afraid to let you know in the session reviews. All of the sessions will be top notch and given by people who know what they are doing. It’s the sort of thing that makes you want to be at the top of your game.

    But there is more to it than that. I’ll never forget my first experience presenting a professional development session for teachers. Well actually I do forget some of it – like what it was about. What I do remember though is my principal, a wonderful woman who taught me a lot my first year teaching, who told me 5 minutes before I was to go saying “I didn’t want to tell you this too early so you wouldn’t worry but teachers are the worst audience in the world.”  She was wrong in some regards and right in others. The worst audience I ever had was a group of high school students in a large room who would not stop talking among themselves even with their assistant principal in the room asking them to be quiet. But I digress.

    Teachers are a different sort of audience. For one thing they are used to being in charge of a classroom. This means that if they have a question they will ask it. There is just no stopping them. This is one of those things that cuts two ways. In one respect this is wonderful. How many teachers are just begging for their students to ask questions? On the other hand it is pretty easy to get off track. That can be good if you are teaching a semester course but in a 45 minute session it can be deadly. They also have their own ideas about what order things should be presented with so if you tell them “I’ll get to that shortly” they may or may not be willing to wait.

    Oh and did I mention that they do a lot of things they would not put up with their students doing? Things like talking to their neighbor to ask questions. If you bore them they will stop paying attention too! Teachers know how to present well too. A lot of university professors, sad to say, are not good presenters (though some are) but the level of presentation skill for teachers tends to be pretty high. So if you are doing a poor job they will notice and they will sometimes notice that more than the topic of your presentation. Or just stop paying attention.

    All of that aside I have found that teachers are my favorite audience. Sure I feel challenged but I love the interaction. I learn from the critiques and its pure joy when I’m told I did well. There is never a temptation to “phone it in” when presenting to teachers. You know the audience will be interested especially if they picked your session from among a bunch of interesting concurrent sessions. You know there will be questions which drives you to prepare and learn and be ready. And if you really believe in what you are presenting (and I do) then you have that feeling that just maybe you are going to make things better for teachers, for students and who knows even change the world in a small way.

  • Computer Science Teacher - Thoughts and Information from Alfred Thompson

    Microsoft Research Faculty Summit Live Stream 2012


    msrfc2012I received this news from the ACM recently. The Microsoft Research Faculty Summit will be available live  for the public this year. I’ve ben fortunate enough to attend this event a couple of times and it is a unique event that mixes industry researchers and academic researchers across the computer science community. It mixes sub areas in a way that most other conferences do not. So this is a great chance to view some outstanding content without leaving home.

    For the first time, Microsoft Research will present its Faculty Summit in a virtual forum freely accessible by the public. On July 16 and 17, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) (noon to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time), hear leading academic researchers and educators, as well as Microsoft researchers, product group engineers, and architects explore new opportunities in computer science research and advances that address real-world challenges. The event will feature such luminaries as:

    • Eric Horvitz, Microsoft Research Distinguished Scientist, on harnessing large amounts of data for generating insights and guiding decision making
    • Patrick Baudisch, computer science professor at the Hasso Plattner Institute, on research opportunities and challenges in natural user interface research
    • David Breashears, founder and Executive Director of GlacierWorks, on vanishing glaciers of the Greater Himalaya

    Whether you are a computer scientist, researcher, or student, you will benefit from the rich and valuable content presented in this virtual forum, and also have a chance to share ideas and ask questions in real-time on Twitter at #FacSumm. A web page for the streaming video will be available in ACM's Learning Center on July 16.

    BTW this is one of THE hot tickets for academic computer scientists. The chance to view these talks live and for free is a big deal. I’ll be watching as much of it as I can.

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